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One Way Road: Firehunt Review – Multifaceted Gameplay

One Way Road: Firehunt is a free-to-play arcade space shooter that serves as a tantalizing prologue to the upcoming One Way Road. Developed by Shabunov Leonid and published by Valkyrie Initiative, Firehunt throws you headfirst into a cinematic narrative experience intertwined with pulse-pounding space combat. With three different gameplay elements on offer, there’s some decent variety to keep things interesting even when the main character’s drab outlook tries to darken the mood.

In One Way Road: Firehunt you take the captain’s chair of a war-worn cruiser, leading a crew of inexperienced but determined rookies on a critical mission. The story paints a bleak picture of a near-future humanity facing oblivion and unfolds through a unique blend of interactive cutscenes seamlessly woven into the gameplay. This approach keeps you engrossed in the characters’ struggles and the urgency of their mission, though the main character has a predictable bad mood and treats the crew initially as if they’re an annoyance in his way. While the prologue is brief by design, it effectively sets the stage for a larger narrative with the potential for an epic space opera.

The core gameplay revolves around intense space dogfights. Initially you will be at the helm, manoeuvring your ship through chaotic battles, strategically firing weapons systems in a side scrolling manner, and taking down enemy fighters and capital ships. You can move the ship up or down on a vertical plane as capital ships indicate their firing line. Similarly, you can use powerful skills to focus fire on a beam ahead of the ship, raise a frontal shield or spawn fighter ships at a target. The combat is a satisfying mix of responsive controls and a diverse arsenal of weaponry to unlock as you progress. This keeps the action fresh, allowing you to tailor your combat approach to your playstyle.

As you progress the story, it necessitates you jumping into a fighter ship in two alternate gameplay styles. The Tube Shooter mode enables you to chase the enemy, destroying everything that stands in your way. If you have played the basic space combat missions in Star Wars: The Old Republic, you’ll know what to expect here. The third gameplay mode is the Top-down Shooter that puts you in control of a small, nimble space-fighter jet. This unexpected change of pace adds a layer of variety to the gameplay loop, preventing it from becoming monotonous.

The developers have crafted a visually stunning spacefaring experience. Breathtaking vistas of nebulae and asteroid fields fill the screen, accentuated by the meticulously designed spaceships and space stations. The blend of cinematic cutscenes and interactive gameplay fosters a sense of immersion, making you feel like you’re an active participant in the unfolding story. The sound design complements the visuals well, with the booming thunder of space lasers and the dramatic swells of orchestral music heightening the tension during battles.

One Way Road: Firehunt is a free and engaging experience for space shooter aficionados. While the character portrayal in this prologue might leave you wanting more, it provides a thrilling taste of what the full game could offer. The game’s strong points lie in its cinematic presentation, intense space combat that caters to three different playstyles, and the light RPG elements that allow for some ship and skill customisation. If you’re searching for a quick yet exciting space adventure filled with dogfights and a desperate fight for survival, One Way Road: Firehunt is worth a look.

This review utilised a key provided by Valkyrie Initiative and One Way Road: Firehunt is a prologue for the full One Way Road game coming to Steam soon.


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