Ace of Spades was originally created by Benk Aksoy but in November this year Jagex announced that they had taken on the project and the original developers to really get development rolling. A month later Ace of Spades released on December 12th for everyone to start getting their hands on. Ace of Spades is basically a vozel sandbox Team Fortress 2. Jagex gives you several modes and classes to play and just have fun either on the blue or green team. After hours of having played it, let's see how good or bad it may be.
It's been a few weeks since Ace of Spades has released, so the team has had time to patch and fix problems, but I also played on release. On release there was of course an influx of players but there was a massive lag problem. To the point that it was almost unplayable, but after a week the team was able to start adding servers for other regions and eventually setting up a system allowing you to pick where you're located in the world. Something I'd like to commend Jagex for before even getting into the gameplay and whatnot is how well they've been taking community feedback and working with it. I've played a good amount of Ace of Spades and surfed their forums realizing that there are without a doubt bugs in the game, but from what I've noticed the developers are doing what they can as fast as they can to help.
With that out of the way, let's take a look at the four classes we've got. There's the Marksman, Miner, Commando, and Rocketeer. Each map will often put you in positions where one character is better than another or just in situations. There are times when the whole enemy team has a high vantage point so you're either going to go Miner and just blow their tower up or snipe them. Or even take a Rocketeer and jetpack to them. My personal favorite class is the Miner easily, I just love being able to either destroy a whole base or be that annoying guy to make holes all over a battlefield that you'll fall into. Even if it's just enough to make you basically trip and take longer to get to where the action is. Or I'm the sort of guy to keep building defenses for snipers or walls to fortify an assault on an enemy. Then I've got my trusty shotgun perfect for blasting enemies away. Everyone will have a favorite class, but I find myself cycling between the Marksman and Miner rather often. Some modes even nudge you in the direction of a certain class.
Something interesting to note about Ace of Spades is the sandbox portion of it. I didn't play the version of Ace of Spades before Jagex took over, but I heard that blocks didn't break as easily. Well, as you play Ace of Spades there are many moments where all you want to do is break stuff. Destroy blocks, make tunnels, use dynamite, use mines, grenades, rockets, just overall tons of explosives. Grab your shovel or pickaxe and BREAK EVERYTHING! It doesn't matter what mode you're playing, it's fun to break stuff. It's one of those things like questioning why Minecraft is fun. It just is, that's all there is to it. Granted you can strategically break stuff to either sabotage your enemy or help travel more easily. Like going through a building instead of taking the door. The funny thing about a lot of matches I've been in, even when it was like Team Deathmatch is that there's almost always one person all the way in the back. I just check the map and see this one dot in the back of the map, what could he be up to? Next thing I know he dies and says in the chat, “Hey let me break some buildings in peace over here!” That's when I don't know whether to laugh or pull a Battlefield and say PTFO.
Let's get into discussing the gameplay alone. After navigating through the main menu and hopping into a server, let's just say Team Deathmatch for example. Grab whatever class you want and then depending on the map will decide how the rest of the match usually pans out. Sometimes one team is the attacker while the other is defending a giant castle or base. As you can't create your own server or have dedicated servers, there aren't any custom rules or modes. Most matches are timed and you can basically just go crazy killing your enemies, building stuff, or even doing quite the opposite. The players are what ultimately decide how the match plays out. By having the sandbox elements in this, every experience can be different. Of course the game mode says what the objective is, but what matters is how you finish that objective. I'm not a philosopher over here, but at the end of every match that map is going to be destroyed to bits.
Now that we're a few weeks into release as mentioned I have realized what the community likes to play and what game modes end up being empty. There are five game modes, Team Deathmatch, Diamond Mine, Demolition, Multi-Hill, and Zombie Mode. Team Deathmatch is the most popular, Zombie Mode is second, and then it's a gamble but Multi-Hill doesn't get much attention. Of course Team Deathmatch is pretty fun and also self explanatory. Then Zombie Mode which I've gotten a good amount of time out of starts everyone off as a human and then a couple people get infected. Then as the clock ticks you either have to eat every human or stay away from the zombies without getting infected. Zombies respawn and humans respawn as zombies unless they kill themselves. Which is an issue as well in this mode specifically currently, since you can kill yourself to avoid getting infected.
The mode I wish was a lot more popular is Demolition. I mentioned earlier how fun it is to just go and blow stuff up. Well demolition is all about destroying an area highlighted as the enemies base and keep yours alive as well. Every block broken counts toward their base being destroyed and every block added is more to destroy. You don't have to break everything, but if you break enough you'll win and then it'll basically get bombed. It's a fun mode to just run in and blow up everything. I'm not going to bore you guys about every mode, but those are the ones I enjoyed the most.
Let's talk about some of the issues I had and others are having with Ace of Spades. First, without surprise people are annoyed that Jagex may have changed a lot from the version it once was. But honestly I think it's still a pretty fun game and Jagex has been very responsive in trying to tweak features to resemble how things used to be. Second, I haven't had the bug but I know a lot of people are and Jagex currently has no fix for it, the crosshair/reticule missing bug. Basically none of your weapons have a crosshair and it kind of messes you up, a lot. There's also the getting stuck in blocks glitch. It happens more commonly when digging with mining tools besides the shovel, you'll get stuck in blocks. You can usually get out after fidgeting for a while though. There's another major issue, after playing Ace of Spades for a while it has a habit of crashing. It'll just freeze up and crash, I've had it happen several times, but you'll still get a lot of time out of it. There are two small things I'd like Jagex to look into and consider. One, I've managed to get very annoyed by the changing classes during a match. If you change your class while alive, you instantly die and change to it. Not to compare Ace of Spades to TF2, but make it so we can choose the class and then spawn into it when we die. Sure give us a suicide button, but not just kill us. And two, give us a stats or leaderboard system in-game. The website does have a scoring system, but give us something that records stats outside of just ranked matches. The ranked match and quick match feature generally puts us in empty servers or laggy ones. So of course we're going to use the server browser. It doesn't have to be just kills and deaths, give me blocks broken, distance traveled, etc. Get creative!
Something that has bugged people specifically about changes by Jagex is the addition of a lot more explosives and the jetpack. While the miner class is obviously for mining, it's also for building. Any class can build, but the miner is your go to guy. Well if anyone can blow up your defenses and/or structures it will feel as if there's no reason to build. Rocketeers can even just fly over it or onto it sometimes as well.
Jagex may not be the original developers, but with the help of the original guys they've managed to create a fun game. It has some issues and isn't perfect, but for $10 would I buy it? Yeah sure. If there's anything to repel you from buying it, it'd be that there's a small community in each region. But you do have enough people playing to still have a good time in your region. The best thing to know is that Jagex is dedicated to their community and will make sure to fix everything they can while continuing to add new content.