Piercing Blow

Piercing Blow is an FPS in the style of Counter Strike that wants to offer something for every shooter fan - except originality.

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Game overview

Piercing Blow is a free-to-play MMOFPS from Korea, where it’s been out for a while. It’s low on character customisation, but high on map variety, offering several modes across over 40 maps for you to explore and kill people on. The majority of the environments and scenarios are completely without novelty for any experienced player - all the old favourites are here.

While the game may not feel the need to add anything new to an already successful formula, it does offer fairly decent shooter gameplay. Maps are well designed, even if the Counterstrike-era graphics are mostly ugly, and with a small, undemanding file size, Piercing Blow runs smoothly.

A wealth of guns and weapon upgrades are available to those willing to pay real money for them, a factor that significantly unbalances the playing field. The only other way to unlock decent gear is by playing and winning daily tournaments. Basically, if you’re not already a skilled shooter or ready to pay for a better gun, you’re not going to make it here.

Full review

Piercing Blow has already been out in Asia for a while, and joins a myriad of other similar titles that employ a late-nineties Counterstrike style, either for the sake of retro or to avoid spending a great deal on modern graphics. At under 5gb total file size, it's a fast download and an even faster game. If you're not used to the intense pace of shooters, you'll likely be dead before you realise what's happening, but lovers of the genre will soon feel right at home.

Starting up is quick with very limited customisation - choose one of four characters and a weapon and you’re pretty much good to go. The game offers a couple of game modes to play with all the usuals featured - Deathmatch, Search & Destroy and a few variations on the theme of "mess up the enemies objective while trying to achieve your own.” There’s also Escape, which has one team of humans trying to, well, escape from another team of melee-only dinosaurs. If it sounds strange, it kind of is, but it’s also pretty fun.

If you've ever played and loved a particular mode in another FPS, chances are it'll be here too. Piercing Blow feels like less of a new game than a rough grouping of the best features of other games. There isn’t much it can call it’s own, but what it does have lines up pretty well with what you’d expect from a free-to-play shooter.

The maps are decent, full of strategic places to hide and with more than 40 to choose from at the time of review, a fair amount of diversity. Whether you want to be fighting your way through the rooftops of a modern Chinatown or sneaking through mossy ancient ruins, Piercing Blow has you covered.

But what it has in range it lacks in depth. Graphically, Piercing Blow passes without much merit (remember that small download size?) There are some nice moments, but the 3D visuals are mostly barren and blocky without much detail. On the other hand, this is hardly a game where you're standing around admiring wall textures. The frenetic pace will keep you distracted from your sometimes shoddy surroundings. The graphics do the job, and not much more.

The main customisation feature in Piercing Blow is in the items you can buy or unlock, mostly weapons, but extending to cosmetic things like a new uniform or look for your character. Naturally, this means serious bullet proof outfits for male characters and, er, bikinis for female characters. Guns are what count, however, and being willing to shell out money for good ones heavily determines your advantage on the play field. And unlike most shooters, you can’t earn the best weapons by simply playing for hours, you have to either buy them in the cash shop or win them through tournaments.

This imbalance is made worse by the fact that there’s hardly any attempt at matchmaking - all players get thrown in to the same games, regardless of experience and gear, which doesn’t give you much of a chance if you’re new. It is possible for the skilled to fight their way up the ranks, perhaps even winning one or two of the daily tournaments and challenges the game runs and claiming weapon upgrades as a prize. But it won’t be easy, and many will likely be tempted to quit or pay up to level the playing field.

In summary, Piercing Blow is good, not great. Experienced shooter fans will likely enjoy the short, intense games and varied maps, as long as they’re content with a title that doesn’t stray from formula. But new players are going to struggle to play for free and stay alive thanks to the game’s overpowered pay-to-win model.

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Graphics: full 3D
PvP: guild or factions PvP
Cash shop influence: high
Exp rate: medium

Originality
Other than a quirky map that pits humans against dinosaurs, Piercing Blow is highly formulaic.

What We Liked..

Intense FPS action

Small download size

.. and what we didn't

Mediocre graphics

Unbalanced cash shop

Similar to other titles


Fun factor
3.5 out of 5
Community
3.5 out of 5
Graphics
3.5 out of 5
7.2
Worth A Try

Review summary

What we liked..

Intense FPS action
Small download size

.. and what we didn't

Mediocre graphics
Unbalanced cash shop
Similar to other titles
7.2
Graphics - 70 / 100
Fun factor - 70 / 100
Longevity - 80 / 100
Originality - 80 / 100
Community - 70 / 100

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