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Shattered Horizon

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Shattered Horizon is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by Futuremark Games Studio. The game was released on the Steam digital distribution service on 4 November 2009. On 19 November 2009, Futuremark Games Studio and Steam released three Guest Passes each to owners of the game. These passes can be granted to other players to try out the game for three days through Steam, in lieu of a formal demo for the game.

Gameplay

Shattered Horizon is a multiplayer first-person shooter where players fight in zero gravity surrounded by the broken remains of Earth's orbital infrastructure and billions of tons of rocky debris thrown into orbit by a huge explosion on the Moon.

In Shattered Horizon, players have complete freedom of movement. They can make full use of the space setting and zero gravity to set up tactics and strategies that would be impossible in games constrained by gravity.[4]

The game's designer states that without gravity players will experience gameplay that is both familiar to fans of the FPS style and yet different from any game they have played before.[5]

Plot

Shattered Horizon is set in 2049. Man is back on the Moon and the companies that took him there are reaping huge profits. Their greed soon leads to the largest mining accident in history. A catastrophic explosion throws billions of tons of rocky debris into near-Earth space, its aftershocks threatening to tear apart the Moon itself.

Fragments of the Moon settle around the Earth and become known as the Arc, named after the dramatic shape they draw across the night sky. With Earth surrounded by debris, there is little chance of rescue or return for the thousands of people stranded in space.

The International Space Agency's (ISA) astronauts and scientists trapped in the battered International Space Station are given the task of apprehending those responsible for the catastrophe. Weapons are among the last supplies sent to the station before the supply route from Earth is cut. The Moon Mining Cooperative (MMC) finds itself facing serious charges after only barely surviving the cataclysm. Cut off from Earth, they see the ISA as a threat to their very existence.

The two sides are drawn into an armed conflict. Desperate battles are fought over strategic locations and the scant supplies from Earth that make it through the shroud of debris. Control of the Arc now means the difference between survival and death in the cold of space.[6]

Development

Shattered Horizon is Futuremark Games Studio's first title. The studio was founded in January 2008 by a company known for its PC benchmarking tools 3DMark and PCMark. The development is self-funded.[7]

The developers of Shattered Horizon have stated in interviews that their goal was to "make something that hasn't really been done"[8] and that entering into game development was discussed within the company for long before it was publicly announced.[7]

The game was first shown to press at Games Convention 2008 in Leipzig. GameSpot's first look preview notes that the game has "a really great premise" and that the gameplay "promises to benefit" from said premise.[9] A more advanced build was shown to press at Gamescom 2009, where GameSpot found that "Shattered Horizon is an intriguing online shooter that seems poised to grab attention" and that "the controls in Shattered Horizon are remarkably easy to grasp".[10]

Eurogamer's hands-on preview from the game's closed beta test reported that "Shattered Horizon is intuitively playable and immediately comprehensible". The preview notes an attention to detail and the developer's intent to make the setting true to real space, and concludes that "assuming Futuremark can sustain its developmental momentum, this will be one shooter that should be able to reach a stable orbit around the homeworld of gaming interest."[11]

Play Magazine published a detailed preview of the game that praised the game's graphics and ambitious game design: "the lofty goal of representing FPS combat in realistic zero gravity environments has been achieved". The preview made special mention of the game's setting and back story, concluding with a challenge to the developer, "Let’s build a franchise".[12]

Maps

There are currently eight maps provided with Shattered Horizon, four from after the game's release with the Moonrise content pack.[13] These maps are diverse, ranging from the damaged ISS (ISS), to a mining station on an asteroid (Moondust), to a two-faced asteroid harboring an abandoned research station (Flipside), to a sector of the Arc (The Arc). Each map is playable in either the assault, battle, or skirmish mode.

Reception

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 73.50% (based on 10 reviews)
Metacritic 74 % (based on 18 reviews)
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 6/10 [14]
GameSpot 7.5/10 [15]
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GameSpot rated Shattered Horizon 7.5/10, praising the handling of zero-gravity movement, atmospheric environments and the unique and deep combat mechanics, but citing the system requirements (particularly the requirement of DirectX 10) and the lack of multiplayer game modes and playable levels as its major setbacks. [16]

Icrontic wrote in their review, "Shattered Horizon introduces a fresh mechanic to the tired FPS genre, offers an incredible value ($20!), and it pushes the hardware envelope. Given time to mature, Shattered Horizon could serve not only as the standard by which we measure graphics, but also as the standard by which we measure innovation".[17]

Adrenaline Vault gave the game 4/5 stars and a "Play it" verdict, praising the game's easy controls and innovation, but criticizing its high hardware requirements: "As far as first attempts go, I give props to Futuremark Games Studio. Aside from the heavy technical requirements, they have managed to fashion a fun online shooter with all the parts in the right places.[18]

Legit Reviews wrote, "Shattered Horizon is one of the most realistic, futuristic, and enjoyable games I've played to date." They found the hardware requirements less demanding: "So if your PC lives up to the minimum requirements being an 8800GT and Dual Core CPU, I'd have to say this game would be a great addition to any gamer's collection e-tailing at just $19.99, because this game is certainly playable and fun on even the lowest settings".[19]

FiringSquad gave Shattered Horizon a review score of 85%. The reviewer was "not quite sold on the longevity of the zero-G concept" but conceded that "[Shattered Horizon is] a new and exciting spin on the competitive FPS genre".[20]

Demonews.de scored the game 80%: "Shattered Horizon is one of the biggest surprise hits 2009. The game is, thanks to the unusual but very well working game concept, the beautiful graphics and the well working controls, able to compete with the biggest games in the genre."[21]

Neoseeker gave it 8.5/10: "Facing truly new gameplay for the first time was exciting and intimidating; when all the dust settled we remained in the same spot, wanting another round to prove ourselves again. Shattered Horizon is visually beautiful in execution of models and landscape but that all came secondary to the experience as a whole, as any game should work to do."[22]

UFO Gamers scored the game 4/5 and "Great", finishing in summary "what I feel Futuremark Games did with Shattered Horizon is push the boundaries of conventional first-person shooters. I like to think that Futuremark laid some sort of foundation for a new generation of shooters with this title, a whole new series of games that will expand on the idea of zero-gravity combat".[23]

Brave New Gamer gave it 8.3/10 and wrote, "Shattered Horizon articulates a whole new way of playing first-person shooters. It forces gamers to step out of their comfort zone and retool their FPS strategies in a more multi-dimensional sense. Futuremark really pushed the envelope with its first video game".[24]

References

  1. Official Website — News — Shattered Horizon soundtrack. Poets of the Fall. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  2. Release Date http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Shattered-Horizon-Release-Date-Pre-Order-Offer-Revealed-20689.html
  3. Blue's News: Shattered Horizon — minimum requirements revealed for DirectX 10 shooter. Bluesnews.com (2009-10-22). Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  4. Burnes, Andrew (2008-08-19). Futuremark Announces Multiplayer FPS. Voodoo Extreme, IGN..
  5. Faylor, Chris (2008-08-19). 3DMark Creators Unveil Zero-G Multiplayer FPS.. Shacknews..
  6. Shattered Horizon. Shattered Horizon. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Futuremark Talk Shattered Horizon. Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  8. Interview — Shattered Horizon Interview. bit-tech.net (2009-09-10). Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  9. Calvert, Justin (2008-08-21). GC 2008: Shattered Horizon First Look. CNET..
  10. McInnis, Shaun (2009-11-04). Shattered Horizon Hands-On Impressions — PC Previews at GameSpot. Gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  11. Jim Rossignol (2009-10-11). Shattered Horizon Hands On | PC. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  12. Preview — Shattered Horizon :: playmagazine.com :: your source for games, anime, media, and more. playmagazine.com (2009-11-03). Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  13. Shattered Horizon addon Moonrise. Steam News (2010-02-08). Retrieved on 2010-02-08.
  14. Jim Rossignol. Shattered Horizon PC Review 2. Eurogamer..
  15. Brett Todd. Shattered Horizon Review. GameSpot..
  16. Template:Cit web
  17. Icrontic Gaming » Shattered Horizon review. Gaming.icrontic.com (2009-11-02). Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  18. Shattered Horizon PC review | Adrenaline Vault. Avault.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  19. Shattered Horizon PC Game Review — Gameplay, Maps and Conclusions. Legit Reviews (2009-11-04). Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  20. Shattered Horizon Review. Firingsquad.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  21. Sven Wernicke (2005-01-31). Shattered Horizon-Review (Test) | Spieletests auf. Demonews.de. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  22. Shattered Horizon (PC) Review — Page 1 - Spaceman dreams. Neoseeker.com (2009-11-02). Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  23. Saber (2009-11-03). Review: Shattered Horizon (PC) or 'the game I changed OS for'. Ufogamers.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.
  24. Tyler. Shattered Horizon Review. Bravenewgamer.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-10.

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