Receiver 2 Review – Practice Gun Safety
I consider myself a bit of a gun nut, without ever owning a gun myself. I found such an interest in how they work, how they move, the sounds they make, and everything about them, that getting a game like Receiver was a no-brainer. A game that simulates working an actual gun? Hell yeah. But it came out as a game jam entry, got two more guns added on, and that was it. I thought Wolfire Games just left it, never to come back. So, when Receiver 2 was announced, it was quite a shock. But now that the game is in my hands, has it been able to improve from its predecessor, or will it just feel like a retread with prettier graphics?
Receiver 2 is a first-person shooter simulator with rogue-like elements developed and published by Wolfire Games. With this sequel, they sought out to do more with what was already established.
A Different Reality
The story of Receiver 2 is similar to that of its predecessor. An event known as the MindKill has occurred, and your character has been transported to another reality where the Threat, a proponent of the MindKill, has set up Killdrones to find and kill you. As a member of the Receivers, who trained for this situation, it’s up to you to make things right.
At the start of every run in Receiver 2, you are dropped in a random part of a randomly generated map with a random gun. The objective of each run is to collect tapes, the number of which is different depending on the rank you are at. At first, it’s five, then later it will lower as the stakes get higher, every rise in rank equating to more Killdrones for you to face, such as flying taser drones and sleeping turrets. However, that’s not the only thing that changes with each rank, as you also get more guns.
Guns are the key feature of Receiver 2. You see, you don’t just shoot guns in this game, but work them. Beyond the basic shooting, you can pull the slide, activate the safety, pull back the hammer, and more. As you begin the game, it will be confusing. Many a time, I pulled the slide back only for a bullet to pop out the ejector, requiring me to pick it up, pull out the magazine, and re-insert the ejected round. Other times I’d put the gun away too fast and shoot myself in the foot.
This game is a good advertisement for gun safety.
As you advance further in the game, however, it will become second nature, and so satisfying! At the beginning of each run now, I pull the slide slightly back to see if a bullet is in the chamber before inserting the magazine and racking the slide. Fixing malfunctions or jams will become as easy as tap, rack, bang.
The amount of complexity doesn’t end there. Killdrones can be shot in different parts to produce specific effects, like hitting the sensor to make sure they don’t detect you, or the ammo box so that they can’t fire upon you (as long as they don’t have a bullet in the chamber). Not only that, but you have a bullet-less option by sneaking up on them and hacking them to shut them down. In addition, other factors can affect gameplay. Basically, they thought a lot about how the gunplay will go.
Climbing The Ladder
With each rank, more guns will be added, but only if you experience it first. If you die, you are demoted to the previous rank, and have to climb back up. The only thing that carries over, regardless of rank, are the guns you got to use, the notes you picked up, and the tapes you found. However, get ready to hear the same tapes over and over again. Sometimes, it will get so annoying you’ll want to shoot yourself.
And then you get the tapes that do make you shoot yourself.
The Threat is one that will always be present. Nothing is safe. Not even the tapes that the Receivers have set up for you. From time to time you’ll listen to a tape with disturbing content, usually relating to self-harm and suicide. What you do in that time to keep yourself safe is up to you.
Overall, though, the tapes actually talk about interesting topics. Psychology, gun safety, the history of firearms; they found a wide variety of things to talk about. The voice actor they use for the tapes does a good job of giving out the proper emotions.
Tap, Rack, Bang
Speaking of, this game actually has a pretty good atmosphere compared to the original. If I didn’t know the previous game, I would’ve thought this was some kind of horror game, and it could double as one, considering the premise. Every corner of the randomly generated world is filled with these sounds that, while fitting, only make me feel watched in a world where I know I am alone.
Really, the sound design is something I heavily appreciate. Every sound the gun makes when you’re working it is practically porn. One thing I can’t help but do sometimes is pull the slide back, again and again, just to hear the sweet noises that come from my gun. Not to mention the sounds of firing, the sounds on the Killdrones; it all really works.
The music, on the other hand, is just fine. The coolest thing it does is use vocalizing to indicate that a tape is near me, but other than that, I didn’t consider it anything special, much less something to pay ten dollars for separately. It’s not bad at all. It fits with the mood, but I just don’t find it that memorable.
What is memorable, however, are the issues with the game, considering how much they can ruin a run if they persist. First, I’ve had a glitch where picking up cassette tapes just didn’t count towards my overall collection. Second, I hate the default running controls, and I wish there was a way to turn it off, not just add another key to help with it. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve accidentally flown myself off a ledge because I wanted to jump over an obstacle but accidentally pressed W too fast. Not to mention the fact that if you quit the game, you’ll be brought down a rank, which isn’t very friendly towards players, but from what I’ve heard, they are trying to fix that, so we’ll see.
(Edit: Wolfire Games has released a patch that fixed most of these problems)
As a sequel, Receiver 2 definitely does what it sets out to do, which is more. More guns, more rooms, more tapes, more everything, and it does it quite well. I would say there is literally no need to go back to the original, as the sequel outshines it in every way. Though it has its problems, I wouldn’t say they completely ruin my experience, but they have made me more cautious.
In the end, Receiver 2 is a game I do find myself coming back to, just to see what new guns I can get, and how far I can get in the ranks. I’m sure it’s a game I’ll be in an on-and-off relationship with for a while.
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Reviewed by Freelance7 on PC. Game provided by Humble Bundle.