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District 187: Sin Streets Gamescom 2012 Preview

At gamescom 2012 we got an introduction to, and a brief hands-on with, CJ Games' upcoming free-to-play multiplayer first person shooter, District 187: Sin Streets. Set at the end of the 21st century after the collapse of the world economy, the game focuses around the conflict between gang members and SWAT teams fighting for control of the city.

Games promise to have a unique 'cops vs criminals' feel to them to match the setting. As an example, instead of a 'capture the flag' mode, District 187 will feature a 'Bank Heist' mode. In this game type, the gangers and SWAT teams will battle over multiple bags of loot, which the gangers have to steal and the police have to secure.

Distric 187

The CJ Games team explained to us that the game will feature a ranking system, with players being placed between ranks 1-15 depending on their skill and performance. However, the top 5 ranks will be locked out to all but the top 1000 players, making these hard-to-get ratings worthy of bragging rights. The top rank itself will only be available to a single player at any time.

To make sure the game is not too punishing to new players or lower skilled players a training server option will be available to lower ranked players and players with a low kill-to-death ratio. This will allow these players to compete against others of similar skill levels and ensure they can enjoy the game without being constantly frustrated. Options also exist to play on unranked servers so players can improve their skills or play with friends without worrying about player ranking.

As a free-to-play title, District 187 will be supported by microtransactions though an in-game store. However, CJ Games were quick to point out that there is no intention of the game becoming 'pay-to-win' in any respect.

The game will be launching with 15 guns available for players to earn, each of which are customisable with various modifications such as scopes. None of these weapons are sold for real money through the store; all have to be purchased either using in-game currency earned through completing games or can be awarded for completing certain mini-games. Guns can also be picked up from fallen enemies, so even new players can get their hands on some powerful hardware in a game if they are quick and clever enough to grab these dropped weapons.

The in-game store will offer new avatars and costumes that players can buy to customise their characters and these will come equipped with 'boosts' to VP (used to rank up) and in-game currency earned throughout the course of their matches.

Having been walked through what the game had to offer we were then given the opportunity to go one-on-one with one of the CJ's Producers in a two-player deathmatch. What we experienced was a fairly generic multiplayer first person shooter across a fairly small urban map. We noted that gameplay was rather slow in pace; however, the map we were playing on was designed for an eight-player battle and so would likely be a particularly hectic affair with a high player count.

Distric 187

It's hard to have a true impression based on our hands-on. While the game itself was fairly generic and dated in its look and feel, we did enjoy the skill-based aspects of gameplay which required the use of headshots and situational weapons use to defeat our opponent.

The truth is we were not playing the game in a way that it was meant to be played, in that we were playing one-on-one on a map intended for eight-player team deathmatch. We also had no opportunity to select our own weapons or customise them, which seems to be a significant part of the game, or to see any game mode more exciting than a simple deathmatch.

District 187 is unlikely to take the world by storm, although there is something here that might appeal to competitive FPS players. The restrictions in obtaining the top five ranking positions certainly offers something in terms of measuring achievement but it's longevity will hinge on the quality of the six game modes and 15+ maps that the game will be launching with.

District 187 will be entering closed beta on 18th September 2012 and keys will be available to randomly selected players who sign up at www.District187.com by 11th September.

Ewok | 28th August, 2012

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