Ace of Spades Review
What's most troublesome about the 'Minecraft with guns' recipe though is that Ace of Spades hasn't committedto either idea in totality. There's no level editor that Players might use to remedy the issues we described previously, for example, nor a consistent setting to give the violence any sort of context or character.
This didn't always used to be the case, however.
Ace of Spades was previously an independent game before Jagex bought the rights and re-released it as it is now - improving the graphics and stability at the cost of some features. Procedurally generated levels have been dumped, for example, as has the WW1 setting that was used to shift the emphasis to trench warfare.
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Exactly why Jagex has dropped some of these ideas is unclear, but that the new version is worse for the focus on smaller maps is certain. Stylistically, we're also less keen on the new, more generically cartoon setting - there was something refreshingly bleak about the WW1 theme in the original.
A more pressing threat to Jagex's Ace of Spades though are the ingredients from which this game is inspired; Minecraft and Team Fortress 2. These each offer a better, purer version of Ace's appeal, as well as larger communities and more customisation. If you're genuinely in the market for either cartoon violence or block-based construction then these inspirations offer a far better solution than Ace of Spades. They're a more pure distillation of what you're looking for, while this is a slightly bitter cocktail.
That's not something we feel great saying though, in all honesty. Jagex has made sensible improvements to the indie original and Ace of Spades is fun and functional in a basic, if unexciting way. There are guns! There are levels! Combining them both successfully produces simulated violence!
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And, of course, as with any multiplayer game your experience of it is going to depend massively on who you're playing it with too, as everything improves with good company.
Underneath all of this though, we can't escape the feeling that Ace of Spades has failed to achieve its design goals. 'Minecraft with guns' is an idea which sounds great on paper, but it isn't realised well here thanks to a lack of scale and consistency.
Maybe, given a few feature updates and some new maps, Ace of Spades will grow to the point that it demands more attention. Right now though, unless you've got a good group of pals to play with, there's no pressing reason to spend any time with Ace of Spades even despite the boosted production values Jagex has bought to the table.