So I needed to new FPS to try as I was getting quite bored with the ones that I have. After a suggestion, I went to check out District 187 by NetMarble. I proceeded to register on the site for the game and download the client. The site is set up extremely well and finding the game and getting started was a breeze. One quick download and you are ready to go.
Getting into the game was easy once everything finished downloading. First thing that became apparent was that there are a LOT of people playing the game. This is one of the best signs for an online game. The larger the community, the more chances you have to play and have fun. Servers are set up world-wide with North America having the largest server population right now. Unfortunately your default server will probably be in South America as that happened to me every time I loaded the game. Getting to the screen to select a different region is difficult as it is not really explained at all. I found out by trial and error that hitting ESC on all the menus will take you to a region select screen.
This was the same with all of the menus in fact. It was hard to tell how to exit a particular menu and return to the previous area. There were no real pop-ups/tooltips that told you what a particular button did and no tutorial to speak of. Granted it only took a few minutes to figure out how to access the different areas of the game like the Store, Customization, etc but it would have been nice to have a small walkthrough of the areas before you get started.
The basic premise of the game is very similar to Counter-Strike, which the game seems to borrow quite a bit from. You have “Criminals” vs “S.W.A.T.” teams, usually set up as 8v8. The goal of the maps is generally Team Deathmatch though there were other game types I did not get a chance to play. Every time I looked for a different game type, I found very under populated maps. Once you have found your game type, you select your weapons, armor, and add-ons and begin combat on one of the many maps.
There are quite a few maps available. There are both indoor and outdoor maps of a decent variety. When you load the levels, you get to see a quick map of the area with the spawn points of the various factions. Obviously some maps are more popular than others with the Civic Center map being one I saw being used quite often.
Graphically it is similar to Counter-Strike but aside from some textures/locations that is where the similarity ends. These graphics are crisp, clean, and fairly easy on the eyes. The ragdoll animations when a character is killed are rather funny as well. I had one enemy do a complete split when I shot him. Gun animations are well executed though I do not like looking through the sights. It is hard to explain but looking through the sights, especially when moving around, can be disorienting.
There are a large amount of customization options for both the Criminals and the SWAT teams. This includes armor, weapons, and cosmetic options. These can be earned in-game or purchased from their cash shop. Unfortunately when you purchase the items they are on a “rental” basis with 7 days being the longest you can have an item. Of course the items can be repurchased and you do earn in-game income. There are no “game winning” items that I can tell so far. With this game being a FPS “winning” involves more skill than type of weapon you have. The many times I was killed, I was killed by someone using the default weapons/armor combos.
Overall District 187 is a decent diversion if you are looking for an online FPS to get into. If you are a fan of Counter-Strike, I would highly recommend it as it is a great evolution on that game type. It was fun, aesthetically pleasing, and enjoyable once you get past the confusing menus. Give it a try!