Targem Games' Crossout is a game that invokes the spirit of Mad Max as it takes you to desolate post-apocalyptic wastelands to battle vehicles made out of scrap and weaponry. This online multiplayer game gives you a variety of ways to blast each other to pieces, and above all else, it focuses on the individuality of these vehicles, as you can make them as ugly or as wonderful as you like before you battle to become the best.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the action itself the first thing we want to praise is the fact that there are two different control schemes, and this optionality was very much appreciated. The default (when playing on PS4) accelerates by pushing forward on the left stick, with weapons assigned to R2 and L2; controls akin to those of vehicles like Mass Effect's Mako. The other setup, called Race, assigns accelerate to R2 instead, and you control the weapons using R1 and L1, and although we much preferred this system, we liked that there were the options suited to both racing fans and shooter players alike.
Once you figure out how you want to drive, then comes the building part. If you're not the creative type, or if you just can't be bothered, you can always select a pre-made blueprint for a vehicle, but half of the fun in Crossout comes from creating a vehicle yourself and kitting it out with the coolest arsenal of weapons. That way you can really call it your own, whether it's an eyesore trash-heap or a beautiful masterpiece.
There are extensive options when it comes to crafting, as there are components like weapons, decorations, frames, wheels, spraypaints, and more to choose from, all of which can either be built individually or purchased from the market with in-game currency (which, we should note, can be obtained via real money as well). If you're wondering if rubber ducks are included, yes they are, and on that note, there are items for those who want their experience a bit sillier, as well as things for those who really want a serious time after the apocalypse.
Don't get too attached to those precious parts on your car, however, as when you head into battle there's a high chance you'll be losing some of them. Part of the appeal of Crossout's combat is that you can shoot or otherwise destroy parts on your opponents' vehicles, and while it's cool when you rock up to someone's car and start blowing fenders and stuff off them, this also serves a tactical purpose, as wheels can be shot off as well as weapons, destabilising and disarming them respectively. Aiming shots carefully is therefore a must, and it's particularly satisfying when you reduce an enemy to a wheel-less pile of junk before riding off into the sunset (although it's worth noting that these aren't lost for good, as your vehicle returns to its original state after the match is over, so there's no threat of losing parts forever).
Game modes are short and sweet in Crossout, although that might not be to everyone's tastes. The Missions see you face off in PvP modes revolving around capture points on a map, most of these matches taking no longer than five minutes to complete. Although cooperative Raids against AI, such as one where you have to protect an AI truck through a set path, take slightly longer, it's still no more than 10-15 minutes a match. As a result, the matches in Crossout never really feel like the stakes are high enough, and if you lose one you can easily just brush it off and find another. There are also Brawls as well; free-for-all games similar to races that see you take on others without the hassle of teams.
With these short matches we were occasionally left wanting something more in-depth, modes that might have made the action more meaningful. For now, it feels a bit casual, where you're just waiting for the next five-minute burst to earn some valuable points, rather than feeling the weight of battle and the significance of wins/losses for your team. This is in part because, in Missions at least, you're given one life, and once that's done it's sometimes easier just to leave and enter another match than wait around to spectate (Raids, however, have a set number of respawns for free, after which you have to buy them with in-game currency). It feels like you're bouncing from skirmish to skirmish, rather than battle to battle.