Reviews: Cortex Command
Buggy and bare-bones, but fun. Also, cool mods.
The question about Cortex Command, considering that it is an incomplete Allegedly Free Game, is whether the promise of a full game and a handful of mods is worth 18 USD. After paying 18 bucks and going on a download binge, I'd have to say it (barely) is. Considering the unusual addictiveness of the game, access to the Game Mod selection is worth the current price, as the mod community offers a variety of ways to spice up the game. Everything from cameo factions to fully-automatic plasma grenade launchers and a variety of Game Breakers are there for the downloading, ensuring that the game will remain fresh until the developers finally get around to adding more content. (A personal favorite mod of mine is the UniTec mod, which adds a metric ton of content to the game.) However, you may have trouble playing with the fan-made toys, as reliability leaves something to be desired. Slowdown and frequent crashes tend to get in the way of combat, and loading (especially after adding on mods) takes forever. Custom missions are practically a no-show, and the game only offers 3 developer-made missions, all of them on fairly generic maps (as well as Skirmish mode, which has you defending a custom-built bunker until you begin to feel sorry for the enemy Mooks), which means the game's fun is hampered a little by the lack of truly original stages. One final issue: Lethal Dronejam. Soldiers winding up dead on delivery can be just a little aggravating. Thankfully, tactics like avoiding rocket delivery and restricting yourself to one Red Shirt per dropship/dropcrate can help keep your troops from dying before the fight, so this frustrating little feature isn't as big of an issue as it would be if it happened at random. My recommendation? If you're looking for a new spin on traditional videogame violence (or you love the idea of a Darker And Edgier version of Worms), download the demo. If you like it, buy the game and take a look at the mod selection.
All-but abandoned by the dev and horribly incomplete
After stumbling on the game here on TV Tropes, I gave the demo a play. It was fun, lots of explosions, so I gave it a buy. This was three years ago. During that time, there has been only one update, and all it did was fix a few minor bugs. As it stands, the game is basically a tech-demo that plays like a physics-happy version of Worms. You control a brain. You drop in bodies that you control and tools/weapons for them. Then you either destroy the other player's "Brain" or meet some sort of objective. However, there is no single player campaign, and only a few scenarios, so most of the action is in Skirmish or Survival and that can get repetitive. The action is fast-paced and explosive, but buggy. Many weapons are too heavy and will have your character literally sinking into the dirt as he tries to walk around. Many others are just slightly-modified copies of each other with different sprites. Your character controls like some sort of marionette. While intentional, it's absolutely alienating to beginners and frustrating to even seasoned players, especially when you factor in physics. Your character has a jetpack, but it's far too weak to be of much use. The AI is also abysmal. Your opponents will randomly drop in (Often dying due to bad landings), and walk/jet towards you blindly. They'll stumble into deep pits and die from falls constantly. Many players report they've been able to win matches by simply digging a few pits and watching the A Is stumble into them endlessly. Once in range of you, they quickly sight in on you with flawless accuracy and fire until you're dead, you somehow run away, or they need to reload. Considering that a few bullets usually kill you, it's usually the former. Allies are no better, as they will have them hop in front of your shots or even land on and kill YOU. All in all, the game has potential, but it's developer has basically abandoned it and shows little sign of returning. The developer still claims to be developing the game, but if he's doing so, it's at a snail's pace and he's outright rude and combative to his fans when they ask about progress. I can't in good conscience advise someone to purchase this right now. Perhaps later, when/if it's actually finished. But right now, a purchase would just be rewarding a developer for abusing the "In-development" concept.