Previews

Boundary early access preview – In a space of its own

Every once in a while something comes by that looks really cool, but you don’t always take a chance on it. Maybe it’s just not your style of game, maybe you have too much already to play, or perhaps you’re just not willing to risk the dough. After all, even with money invested there’s no guarantee that “early access” will go further than that. However, In checking out Boundary, a space shooter, I see this game being a worthy use of my time and money.

Starting up your journey is relatively easy, with a pretty relaxed menu that includes a playlist, customization and loadouts, and events tabs. It’s all pretty typical, with everything you need in a shooter. Graphics settings are also available, but just as a heads up, my resolution was immediately incorrect and I had to fix it. Beyond that, there are some issues with DLSS so it’s best to begin without it.

With technical problems out of the way, I highly recommend diving into the tutorial. You’ll have muscle memory for most of it, pointing and shooting is the same almost anywhere you go, but the movement is a bit more unique so it’s smart to get used to it. After completing that, you can jump into the fun by setting which modes you want to play and queuing. There are five modes available, with several being variants you’ll remember from other FPS games. Things like Domination and Team Deathmatch are easily recognizable for any shooter player, but there’s some other mix-ins with Invasion (offensive push to capture three points) and Purge (Limited lives mode) that spice up the formula.

What makes Boundary different from anything else in the space (pun intended), is that it takes place… in space. Hence no gravity, so you’re floating around. Most of the maps, of which there are eight, seem to be space stations that are inoperable, whether in good or bad shape. Guess that’s what happens in star wars. In any case, the visuals are outstanding, capturing exactly what I’d imagine gunfights outside our ozone would look like.

I’m absolutely blown away with not just how good the game looks, but also that it works so ridiculously well. One of the immediate things you’d think might be an issue is moving around in anti-gravity. I mean, being able to maneuver almost freely can be intimidating. Instead, it’s almost seamless, with your jump and crouch operating as going up and down while in space. You can drop down onto surfaces to run normally, and you’re going to be faster with “boots on the ground”. But, being able to float towards your enemy, rolling into an upside down position to run underneath a suspended container to the other side to take them on from an obscene position is unmatched in coolness.

As for how you’ll be playing, the loadout system reminds me of Call of Duty mixed with Battlefield. There is a class system, with a primary and secondary weapon, along with two shoulder launchers acting as your tactical equipment, and a piece of gear for traversal. You’ve also got attachments for your guns, and the stats provided are pretty clear in telling you what they do (like increasing your aim down sight speed or lessening your damage range). It’s all going to be very familiar to anyone who has played a recent arena shooter, so most will be at an advantage knowing the playing field.

Most different styles of weapons are here, from assault rifles like the TK-47, to light machine guns in the GSW-MG. It’s a bit jumbled, making it hard to figure out what gun is what sometimes, but it’s there. I can tell right off the bat playing though that there will need to be extra balancing. In a mode like Purge where you have limited lives and that’s the whole point of it, I’ve seen players sit back with DMRs and just snipe. It’s a cheap tactic and one you have to figure out to keep players invested in that mode.

There are also six different operators who will determine your unlocks. Each one has a tree of tiers that give you specific items as you play and increase your level. Some of it is cosmetic, others are weapons and gear. Boundary seems to be pretty fair in earning levels, as I’ve used the operator Orlan the most with his TK-47, and I’m already a third done with him in minimal play.

Something that’s different for me with the operators is that each has their own kits they can use. For instance, as much as I like Orlan, I won’t be able to use an LMG with him, that’s Fort’s… well, forte. Even more interesting is there is a difference in what each operator can do best, with three tiers with three levels separating them. These are armor, health, and mobility. It’s something you at least think about when it comes to roles, as Fort will be able to hold down a point easier than Doc, the combat medic. It’s also not hyper distracting, as I’ve been able to use most in whatever situation I was in.

While Boundary may not be the next Call of Duty killer, I think there is a lot of merit in trying it out. It somehow manages to feel unique in a very crowded shooter space, which is hard to do. Even more, it takes that distinctive quality and never makes it feel unwieldy, allowing anyone who’s played a shooter to jump right in. If shooting bad guys in space sounds fun, this one is right up your space station. Boundary is out now in Early Access on PC through Steam.

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