Aftercharge: Hands-on from GDC 2018

Chainsawesome Games is going from knights to robots in this upcoming 3v3 shooter.

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The robots are on the prowl. They're looking to rise up against those who created them, but standing in their way are an opposing team of three human enforcers. These robots are wielding intense firepower. But can they attack what they cannot see?

This is the premise behind Aftercharge, a new 3v3 shooter from Chainsawesome Games. If that name sounds familiar, it's because they're the team behind Knight Squad, a decent multiplayer effort that released in 2015. Aftercharge moves into the 3D realm and Shacknews had a chance to check it out at this year's Game Developers Conference.

Aftercharge pits two teams of three against one another. The emphasis is less on shooting and firepower and more on stealth and tactics. That's because the team on offense is entirely invisible. The objective for the offensive robots is to destroy six extractor outposts across the map. To help them out, they're hidden from enemy sight at all times, except for when they're being tracked. They can also resurrect any fallen teammates.

The enforcers on defense may not be invisible, but they are invincible. They cannot be killed, only distracted and slowed down. They may not be able to see the enemy, but they can track them. If they sense an enemy nearby, they can use one of their unique attacks to bombard them and deactivate them. While the defenders have attacks of various effectiveness and no cooldown timers, they only have limited resources. Using higher-tier attacks drains those resources quickly. Even a simple blaster shot costs energy. Fortunately, the extractor outposts recharge the defender weaponry, but if the offense takes out too many of those outposts, it not only puts the robots closer to victory, but it also limits where the defense can recharge.

Each of the game's characters had something of a learning curve, though some are more advanced than others. Regardless of who's controlling who, the key to victory is teamwork, especially given how the offense can coordinate to sneak up on enemies without a trace. The one thing I noticed is that the action gets more intense as there are fewer extractors remaining, with the defense frequently bombarding the point whenever possible.

The action in Aftercharge is fast and satisfying. Both sides play uniquely and require different approaches. With a good map selection, this game has the potential to be a sleeper hit. We hope to see more from Aftercharge in the coming months. The game is set to arrive on Xbox One and Steam this summer.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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