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Silica Preview: This RTS/FPS Hybrid Is the Best Kind of ‘Buggy’

“Silica” is the latest offering from publisher Bohemia Interactive and developer Bohemia Incubator. The game is currently in Early Access and aims to capture the essence of a sci-fi military shooter. Despite some issues, it has impressed players with its sound design and futuristic planet setting, showing promise for future development.

One of the game’s strengths is its smooth and accessible gameplay. It avoids overwhelming players with complex mechanics and meters, offering a plug-and-play experience. The user interface is straightforward, providing essential information like health and direction without unnecessary clutter.

The game is divided into three game modes: Prospector, Strategy, and Arena. Prospector serves as a campaign mode, involving traversing large empty terrains to reach waypoints. While an interesting concept, the lack of a standard checkpoint system can be frustrating, especially when important dialogue interrupts combat and leads to losing progress.

The Strategy mode allows players to engage in both real-time strategy (RTS) and first-person shooter (FPS) gameplay. However, as the game is still in early access, most players interact with AI opponents, making it less engaging than it could be with real players. The objectives in this mode can be confusing, and the level design feels uninspired, leading to a repetitive and lackluster experience.

Arena, a free-for-all multiplayer shooter, shines the most in the game. While AI opponents were present during the early access phase, it holds promise for enjoyable combat and interactions when real players join. Players have the option to fight in enclosed areas, adding depth to the gameplay.

Despite its potential, “Silica” still lacks several crucial elements. The level design feels lifeless and unengaging, and the terrain does not convey a living, breathing world. Implementing a checkpoint system would be highly beneficial, reducing tedious backtracking through empty landscapes after dying. Enemy variety is also lacking, with players primarily facing weak and unchallenging foes like small spiders. Improving level design and introducing unique enemy types could remedy this issue.

In its current state, “Silica” may not be worth the investment, as the overall gameplay loop feels monotonous and lacking in excitement. However, with some straightforward improvements and additional features, the game has the potential to evolve into a more engaging and enjoyable experience upon its full release.

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