Review – Greg Hastings Paintball 2

Greg Hastings Paintball 2 is now available for download on the PlayStation Network. Is it worth its weight in paint, or will it just leave your mask all fogged up? Read our review after the jump to find out.

Everyone in the paintball world can tell you who Greg Hastings is. His name is synonymous with the sport. His previous paintball games came out as Xbox exclusives in 2004 and 2005, and generated a cult following that kept the titles in Major Nelson’s Top 25 for Xbox Live for some time. Paintball, as a sport, has been around for years, but this title is its first foray onto this generation of consoles as a video game.

GHP2 is a first person shooter and gameplay consists of you trying not to get shot. You can run and dive onto the ground or you can go directly into cover. The cover system works fairly well, and you can peak out around corners. There is no blind fire, but the game has a wind factor and combining that with gravity can allow you to hit someone hiding behind cover. That is a two-way street, so camping out in one spot isn’t always a good idea. One thing to keep in mind is that all that running will cause your mask to fog up, so running around like a chicken with your head cut off can actually help the other team. You’ll have a hard time shooting anyone if you can’t see them.

Diving for Cover

The game has a one shot rule, where if you are hit once, anywhere on your body, you are out. Paintball has always used an honor system, where you call your own elimination, but cheating is an option. Once hit, you can either call yourself out, or try wiping away the paint. If you get caught wiping, your team is penalized by losing a second teammate as well as you in what’s called a one-for-one. The cheating system uses a quick time event immediately after you’ve been tagged, and you’ll have a 50-50 chance of getting away with it. While cheating is a crappy move, it has always been a part of the sport, so its availability in the game is understandable.

There are 3 major game types, with seven different game modes to choose from. The three game types are Speedball, Recball, and Woodsball. Game modes consist of Elimination, Capture the Flag, Single Flag, Point Capture, Assault, Sniper and Recon.

Woodsball

During career play, you’ll pick available teammates from a player pool that grows the farther you advance your career. At the start of each round, you have the option to decide what overall strategy you want your team to use. You can choose a balanced strategy, mixing defense and forward movement. You can go heavy to the left or right, or right up the middle. You can also choose to just defend, which is a decent strategy if your AI teammates keep getting taken out repeatedly.

As you defeat teams, their player cards are added into a card system that allows you to trade up to better players. The card system uses more than a thousand real life players, and each player’s card keeps track of their in-game records so you can see how well they play. You can have up to ten players on your team, and how you stack the cards will determine who is active and who is on the bench. Matches range from 3-on-3 and up to 7-on-7, so keep in mind who is is where in your card line-up. The cards will be laid out in front of you, and active players start on the left. The AI for the game can be downright stupid at times, but having better players does help a little. They aren’t much smarter, but the rookies are about as smart as a box of rocks, so anything is an improvement over them.

The weapons (called markers in paintball) in the game range from a basic marker, all the way up to a military style M4 knock off. There are also special weapons such as pump guns, pistols, paint grenades and paint rocket launchers. As you win tournaments and earn cash, you can purchase and upgrade each weapon. These improvements are a must if you ever want to play the game on its hardest difficulty. You marker’s magazine (called a hopper in paintball) will be visible on-screen, but your number of reloads available will vary based on what upgrades you have purchased. Having four reload tubes can be nice, but the extra weight of carrying them around will slow you down. Paintball markers are powered by small CO2 cartridges and the more you shoot, the less power your marker will have as this cartridge is depleted.

Decent Looking Marker

The graphics for the game were a bit of a let down. It’s not an ugly game, it’s just not up to par with what we have come to expect from games this generation. The graphics shouldn’t be a deal breaker though. The game is still very playable, and the graphics aren’t hard on the eyes. The game looks OK. Player models are generic but look decent. Weapon models in actual gameplay look good, but aren’t highly detailed. The environment graphics are basic, and real life grass looks like what you would expect from a PS2 or PSP title.

There are 62 unique maps based on 12 real life locations from the US and Europe. Weather can also be a factor as some maps will have rain and mud. The layouts offer a variety of gameplay styles. If that’s not enough maps for you, you can create and edit your own maps. That is a very nice addition that can add to the overall replayability of the title. These created maps can be used for online play, so making your own map and learning how to rule it for online play is a must.

Head for Cover in the Rain

Multiplayer modes consist of both off-line and online play. Offline split-screen play for two players allows you to go head-to-head or go up against a handful of bots. Split-screen play isn’t available for online play. Online play has 7 types of play with up to 14 players in one room. Playlists are available so you can set up a series of games to run one after another. This is a great feature for those of you that just want to play and not worry about what to pick next.

Music for the game can be repetitive, and custom playlists for music would have been a great PS3 addition. Definitely not a deal breaker here either, but this is a feature more developers need to consider for PS3 owners. The sounds for the markers and the splatter of the paintballs are spot on. Reloading sounds are great as well. Player dialogue is always clean, but a bit corny at times. No need to worry about foul language offline.

Greg Hastings Paintball 2 is a fun game for those that love paintball. If you aren’t a fan of paintball, you might find the gameplay to be repetitive. The sport can be repetitive in real life, so it’s understandable that the game can mimic that. With 62 different maps, and the availability to create your own, some FPS fans might also find this game enjoyable. We did.

Welcome to the PS3 Greg Hastings. Nice job.

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