There’s a certain connotation that’s paired with free-to-play games. As promising as a title could be, one always has to wonder if there’ll be a catch, or if it will still be desirable when the hook fades and reality appears. After trying Kill Strain at E3 2015, I can’t help but wonder if its Dead Nation and Helldivers‘ similarities could result in a title that will be compelling even when the freemium elements kick in.
I believe it’s because Kill Strain is going to keep players’ constantly thinking. There’s a sense of shifting comraderies that is oddly compelling in the game. That’s because this isn’t a MOBA with one enemy. It’s one where there’s a shared opponent, one which could have been your ally a moment before.
Kill Strain begins with three factions, two human and one mutant. 10 players will be human, and two mutant. The goal for all is rather similar. Humans compete for resources on the map, which will strengthen their side’s stance. They also are attempting to grow strong enough to topple either their human opponent or mutant foes’ base. The goal for these people is to take hold of a resource point first, then branch off to assault opponents while simultaneously guarding a base. Resources allow humans access to mech suits, as well as power up their bases and turrets, dispatch clouds of the Strain or power a healing point. With only one deposit station to implement resources, people will definitely want to grab a spot and begin charging up their side.
Mutants, however, have a “fun” agenda. By which I mean fun for them and horrible for players who are currently human. Their goal is to destroy human bases, sure, but they can also win the game by turning all human players into mutant allies. If a human character falls at a mutant’s hand or near the strain, they’ll be transformed. (This will happen, as human characters are damaged just by being adjacent to the Strain.) Those who switch sides get to keep playing, but with objectives changed.
Being a mutant is far more fun. Mainly, because the Strain is good for them. One of their goals is to help spread it, because it makes them more formidable. If a mutant is in the strain, health regenerates and they can’t be seen. Think of them as unholy ninjas.
It was emphasized often during the E3 experience that knowledge is key to success in any Kill Strain match. Understand how your character works. Know where the enemy bases are on the map. Find shortcuts to reach areas. Grab capture points. Destroy the Strain when it’s visible on the map.
It feels like the sort of game that could foster the same sense of community as both Dead Nation and Helldivers. Something you come back to, as it updates or additional friends join the fray. The appearance, objectives and compulsion to conquer is shared. You see the task ahead of you, the various strategies needed to succeed and it encourages you to be your best. Even at this early stage, there was something of an addictive notion.
I wasn’t able to find out what kind of paid elements will be present in the final version of Kill Strain. However, it is possible to sign up for the 2015 beta now. Visit the official website, give your email and PSN username, click a box saying you aren’t a robot and you should be good to go.