Auto Assault Review

It’s been a while since the last Road Warrior movie, but it’s pretty safe to say that the three films starring Mad Max are well-known to most gamers. It’s not too surprising then that futuristic, post-apocalyptic car combat has finally made its way onto the MMORPG scene. A vast wasteland filled with mutant creatures and psychotic gangs that drive cars bristling with weapons certainly makes for an interesting setting for a persistent online world. So does Auto Assault fire on all cylinders with guns blazing or does it sit on the shoulder of a deserted highway with an empty tank?

Out on the road.
Before I delve deeply into that question and make any further car analogies I should tell you a little about the game’s story. It seems that we can look forward to some point in our future when aliens stop by to slime the Earth with glowing green goop You Can’t Do That On Television style. These impolite aliens did so in an attempt to make the Earth a better place to live … for them. The green goop began mutating every living thing including humans, and the non-mutant humans decided the best way to get rid of them was to develop killer cyborgs (when will future humans ever learn?). Of course that all went wrong and made things get really ugly pretty fast, sending the last of un-mutated humanity underground. As soon as they closed the door behind them they decided the best way to clean up the mess was to nuke the bejesus out of the Earth and that’s just what they did. Fast forward a few hundred years and humanity has reemerged to reclaim the Earth. However, the mutants and cyborgs have other ideas and so everyone hops into their cars, covers them with weapons, and sets out to become the sole master race of the world of radioactive wastelands known as Earth.

I bet you can guess at this point that the mutants, humans, and cyborgs make up the game’s three playable races. Basically, humans are your techie race, cyborgs your warriors, and mutants have the special ability to heal themselves in the radioactive wastes that dot the landscape. There are four classes for each race, and though they have different names they have different class names they’re basically the same for each race. There’s a warrior/tanker class, an engineer/healer class, a stealth class, and a pet-handler class, so the basics are certainly covered (sorry to you magic lovers out there). The game allows you to do some minor customization to the look of your character, but since you only see him or her in towns (and you’ll rarely hang out in towns) the lack of customization is not that big of a deal. Surprisingly though, there is far less flexibility in customizing the look of your car. I don’t know about you, but in a game that stars killer cars I’d think that they’d let you create a killer custom car. A car creation process akin to the hero creation in City of Heroes should have been included here.

Once you’ve got your car and are in the game you’ll find that there is fun to be had out in the wastelands. You control your car with the standard WASD keys and the mouse is used to lock onto targets and aim your turret weapon, with the right button used to fire all weapons. There are a lot of different weapons available in the game from machine guns to missile launchers and flamethrowers, and these can be placed on special weapons hard points on your vehicle. You can swap weapons in and out when you want, so you can carry a few extra weapons along and select the right tool for the job. The control scheme may make you feel that you’re playing an action game, but occasional onscreen messages such as “miss” let you know that there’s some dice rolling going on under the hood.