Before I start explaing about Xfield Paintball 3, allow me but a few moments to explain something that I think really needs to be appreciated about Paintball in general. Paintball is a simulation of a real-life combat exercise. If you’ve never gone to a paintball field, I suggest you try it.
A first person shooter is a type of video game, usually a simulation of a real-life combat exercise. If you’ve never played a first person shooter, I suggest you try one. Xfield Paintball 3 is a simulation of a simulation of a real-life combat exercise. Usually, you lose a bit of the essence of the activity you’re attempting to experience via simulation, and, when you start simulating simulations, it gets murky fast. Inception Paintball. That’s my only real, honest understanding of why this game is the way it is. It’s too clever and amusing, while being very limited and simple. Once you add on the out-of-touch soundtrack and a few quality of life issues, and the game suffers immensely.
The whole point of the game is to eliminate the opposing team or press the button in their starting point before time runs out or your whole team is eliminated. Eliminations occur when one is hit with a paintball. As far as the basics go, this game gets everything exactly right. It’s like you’re on a paintball field. There are multiple maps to play on, and they aren’t just all arena paintball (Speedball) fields, there is one that looks like a war zone, which is pretty cool.
Paintball has been fighting with the press forever about how it glorifies violence, and, as such, calls paintball guns “Markers” and somehow still call people who have been eliminated “Dead men walking”, so, the sport itself is still coming to terms with it’s inherent violence, which, it should celebrate instead of hiding from, but, I’m getting off subject. Xfield Paintball 3 in it’s current state has menus for things like character customization, selection of markers, and even a stat sheet for players, but, none of it currently works. The only mode that works is quick match.
All of the paintball sounds are really good, in fact, everything in the sound department is pretty good, but the music is atrocious. Not because it’s actually terrible music, it just doesn’t fit with the game play at all. I understand that a large portion of the target audience might enjoy the soundtrack, but, when you’re trying to play, I feel like the ability to hear footsteps and your opposition’s paint hitting the bunker next to you would be more important than a track talking about drinking bottled water and other rap lyrics I cannot remember. (I’ve looked EVERYWHERE for the song so I could link it/listen to it without gameplay, but I cannot seem to find it.)
From a design standpoint, this game is pretty neat. The game uses real-life paintball fields and gives you the ability to hide behind cover nearly anywhere. You can crawl, crouch, stand, walk, and run. All of the basics are there, as well as a few unique things that really only applies to a paintball game, such as when running, your mask will fog up from breathing heavily. The ability to “walk” your trigger is in-line with actual paintball, as your right and left mouse buttons both fire, and in real-life, your higher quality markers usually have a double trigger for this exact purpose, so, from a design standpoint, the game FEELS like paintball. If only the game had the option to put barrel blocking devices in and stand around waiting for the next game, and, one of your buddies who got drunk between games accidentally firing his gun across the safe area, it would be pretty close to my few real-life experiences at paintball fields. The developers have stated that the game will include new arenas and maps as their partners in various paintball leagues release information on them. I cannot promise that this is true, but, I leave up to you whether or not to trust them on such matters.
The game has major issues in the gameplay department. The quality of life issues are vast, and, unfortunately, really ruin what would otherwise be a solid game. Movement speed for your character is obnoxiously slow, and when you jog, your mask fogs up so fast it’s like your character hasn’t ever heard of mask defog products and doesn’t breathe at all unless he’s jogging. That’s another big issue, “run” feels like “light jog” and your character certainly doesn’t feel like he’s in a hurry to get anywhere. I understand limiting your player movement while aiming and firing, but there certainly should be a balls out run button, if you’ve ever seen a paintball match, sometimes people are just hauling ass. The movement are a huge hindrance to the quality of the game, and, if that was improved upon would vastly make gameplay better. The game does not reward you for playing aggressively, nor passively, so either style works, just be prepared for long waits if you are eliminated early and both teams are playing with passive/defensive players.
Another major issue is the only mode that seems to work at the moment is 2v2, and you’ll be hard-pressed to fill a lobby unless you’re playing with your friends. There is NOT many people playing this game on the weeknights. Without AI, this means the game is often unplayable.
Xfield Paintball 3 has “exclusive league partnerships” with major international paintball and speedball leagues, who are affiliates of the World PaintBall League. Having partnerships with NXL, CXBL, the Millennium Series, PALS, UWL, and SARPL is a big deal for a game about the sport, and it definitely gives the game an official paintjob. On their own website, Xfield says that it wants to play a key role in developing the paintball industry, through promotion, building tournaments, and providing the first eSport experience related to the actual sport. Xfield claims that you will be able to play the official layouts of these leagues in exclusivity before the competitions begin, and to me, that seems like the biggest challenge coming up for Xfield Paintball, if they do not have the numbers to keep the game afloat, it will be difficult to finance building new maps constantly.
The game itself isn’t bad, as a promotional piece, but, it’s amusement ends quickly. With such a high price tag and a complete lack of features, this game feels like it should have came in on the early access train instead of being fully released. Having greyed out options in the menu is not something you want from a full-release game, and it feels amateurish at this stage in the game.
When a company has connections to professional leagues, it sets the bar high for itself, and, at this stage, I do not feel that Xfield Paintball 3 even meets it’s own requirements of professionalism.
The price is set at $29.99, and does not meet the requirements of a 30 dollar game by any stretch of the imagination. The developers have commented on this, and have said,
“Hello XField Paintball Community
We heard you loud and clear.
XFP3 is still « early stage ». No doubt about it.
Updates are quick and regular but the price does not match today’s early stage and perceived value of the game, which generates some frustration. We understand and will address this subject. For all these issues and inconveniences, we do apologize and will make our best effort to fix it.
– First, we want to warmly thank our early adopters.The dev team is working on a special reward to thank them for the support and their patience.
– We will participate to Steam Summer Sales, starting June 30, with a very significant « early stage » rebate to bring more players, have more matches played and make more modes available. Price will be USD $9.90 starting June 30 until July 5 (June 30 is the first date we are allowed to change price).
-Updates will be quick and regular. The next big updates will include playing with friends (server browser), achievements and scoreboards; new animations are well underway. We updated our store page with our short-term roadmap.
We are a small hardworking indie studio that took a lot of time building a multiplayer engine with paintball physics and a low latency server infrastructure. Now is the time to bring more features and polish the gameplay.
Jump on board and support paintball on PC.”
So, while I cannot 100% confirm that they will be dropping the price to 10 bucks, it sounds like the developers are trying to get on track. 10 bucks might be a bit of a leap at this stage in development too, but they’re promising an upgrade as the price drops. Either way, if I spent 30 bucks on this game at this current stage and then the company is backpedaling, I’d be pretty upset. They ARE a small indie team, so, pitfalls like this will happen, but, I cannot say it’s going to be worth buying, I KNOW it’s not worth buying at this point, for $30.00 USD, but, things may change in the future.
Here’s to hoping they put some work in!
Disclosure: We received multiple copies of this game for free.
Developed by: Xfield Paintball SAS