Receiver is one heck of a free game (was a giveaway). You are placed into a randomly generated texture-less world. Your objective is to collect tapes. You need to shoot or avoid sentry guns (there is only ground and air). It is a one hit kill’s type of FPS game, so it can be challenging.
The title of the game is somewhat of a pun and has no relation to weapon mechanics. As you collect tapes you hear a recording of a guy’s voice (sounds like Lone Wolf). He tells you the situation of what is going on. The story is freakish in the way that it gives meaning to the texture-less level with basic 3D models that you are strolling through. Each time you die and have to start again, the recordings are played in random order, which means eventually you may have a great understanding of the story even though you have not even made it halfway through the game.
I’ll also quickly mention that the soundtrack also is very fitting and gives an atmosphere to the levels. It reminds me of Islamic prayer type of music sounds like in the film Black Hawk Down.
The most interesting part of the game is undoubtedly the weapon reload mechanics. The learning curve is not too steep in my opinion. It will help to just crouch down somewhere upon first play and fiddle with the buttons on your keyboard to understand how to reload your gun. There are two different reload mechanics to learn … the semi-automatic pistol (Glock and 1911 if I remember correctly) and the dirty harry revolver.
It is just cool. I find myself pulling back on the slide to eject the bullets which all go onto the ground. You pick up all the bullets which goes into a reserve (like your pocket). Then you need to put the bullets back into the magazine one by one, but you cannot do that before holstering your weapon (because you need two hands to fill a magazine). Then you need to draw and put the magazine back into the weapon. The first time you pull on the trigger, it may not shoot anything because you need to pull back on the slide again to load a bullet into the chamber. All this is an OCD persons dream come true.
The magnum revolver is a little simpler. Although you start to notice a difference when running low on bullets, you need to make sure you spin the cylinder to align the bullet filled chambers with the barrel. And because there is less bullets you are always having to pull on the ejector rod.
With all weapons you have a safety switch which is useless and you can pull back on the hammer for extra readiness. You can also turn on smart tooltips which highlight what you can and cannot do with button presses.
I find the randomly generated levels made more sense compared to say Hellgate: London which did not make sense to me and felt more like a selling point gimmick. There are sections that you will familiarize yourself with. So even if the level is randomly generated, you know what to expect in each section anyways. So that is definitely a positive for a game that could have just been based on a single static level design.
One thing that I find stupid (and I am not 100% sure about this) is there may be a random luck factor when disabling sentries. It is actually the one thing that has really put me off the game. All sentries supposedly have these weak points. But if you shoot a sentry exactly at a weak point that disables it in one round and then try it again in another round, it will not work. And you can tell because when you get close to the sentry you can see where your bullets have hit exactly. Sometimes you can disable a sentry from a distance that looks like a pea on your screen with one bullet … sometimes you have to fire three shots at a sentry that fills up a quarter of your screen just to disable it. It makes no sense to me. I really hate luck factors in games.
The last thing I would like to mention is this game could have been great. I mean really big. But it is clearly unfinished and from what I heard was part of a competition in designing a game within a week. The thing this game lacks is arms, hands and textures applied to everything including the weapons. But seriously this game could have been amazing! I can actually visualise many FPS games that could utilize this mechanic. Tom Clancy type of games in particular, but even the Battlefield series. The reason why I mention this is because it is one of those revolutionary ideas that gets put out too quickly and is drowned by games with too common typical boring one button reload mechanics and nothing new (albeit finished). I really do hope to see something better made in the future with this idea … not everyone in the world just wants to gun down stuff on the screen senselessly. This is a needed option!