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Shattered Horizon is unlike any game I've played in 2009, and most likely anything else I'm going to play in the near future. In a genre (multiplayer team-shooter) where each game is trying to distinguish itself in some significant way from Modern Warfare or Team Fortress 2, Shattered Horizon takes a truly novel approach. You get one weapon with three attack modes, there is no gravity, and you're in a true three dimensional environment. At first glance the game seems to have very little to it, but there are many hidden subtleties that make Shattered Horizon a winner.

The back story is as follows:

Shattered Horizon is set 40 years from now. Man is back on the Moon and the companies that took him there are reaping huge profits. Their greed soon leads to the largest mining accident in history. A catastrophic explosion throws billions of tons of rocky debris into near-Earth space, its aftershocks threatening to tear apart the Moon itself.

Fragments of the Moon settle around the Earth and become known as the Arc, named after the dramatic shape they draw across the night sky. With Earth surrounded by debris there's little chance of rescue or return for the thousands of people stranded in space.

The International Space Agency's (ISA) astronauts and scientists trapped in the battered International Space Station are given the task of apprehending those responsible for the catastrophe. Weapons are among the last supplies sent to the station before the supply route from Earth is cut. The Moon Mining Cooperative (MMC) finds itself facing serious charges after only barely surviving the cataclysm. Cut off from Earth, they see the ISA as a threat to their very existence.

The two sides are drawn into an armed conflict. Desperate battles are fought over strategic locations and the scant supplies from Earth that make it through the shroud of debris. Control of the Arc now means the difference between survival and death in the cold of space.

In several games the visuals and sounds are largely irrelevant to the gameplay experience. Take Team Fortress 2 for example; Valve put a lot of work into the profiles of the various classes so you could tell them apart, but aside from that the sound effects and visuals don't play a critical role in the gameplay experience. You can be as good a Scout with all the special effects shut off as with them on. What distinguishes Shattered Horizon so much is that the visual and auditory experience is such an integral part to success. Your ability to notice the enemy or stay out of notice is crucial to your survival. To that end you have ways of both spotting the enemy and staying out of sight. Whenever you use your thrusters the surrounding environment is lit up with the colour of your team. Use your thrusters when they're not needed and you'll be spotted easily, use inertia to float along when you're already moving in the direction you want to and you'll be much harder to spot.

Aside from that, you can also shut off most of your suit's function; going Silent. When you're Silent you no longer use your jet-pack, relying only on the small thrusters of your suit - you don't leave a visual imprint on the environment around you. The disadvantage to this is that your HUD is completely disabled - the radar that shows you your objectives, teammates and enemies is gone, as well as the Sound Simulation that provides sound for the game. Sound doesn't propagate in space, but in order to make the game more interesting and give you a better battlefield awareness your suit provides a simulation of nearby sounds when it's functioning. Get hit by an EMP or go Silent and you no longer hear anything, except for the sound of your heartbeat and breath. It's a fantastic effect and hiding in a dark corner waiting to spring on the enemy is a tense experience.

Steamworks is used as the backbone of the multiplayer experience, and as such I haven't had any issues joining servers. You can invite people who own the game to join your game through Steam Friends as you can with TF2 or Left 4 Dead. There isn't much to say about this experience, it's the best system they could have chosen for their game so you can't fault them for that. What is missing from this game is In-Game Voice. In a team focused multiplayer game like this I find it odd that the game wasn't released with this out of the gate. As it stands, you're stuck having to communicate using text chat - it's like I'm playing Quake 2 again. A system where you could only communicate over voice provided you haven't been hit by an EMP or are Silent would be ideal. Futuremark Studios is working on a solution, which will hopefully be released with the next patch. Overall Shattered Horizon is an easy recommendation for me to make; it's a no nonsense gameplay experience that I always enjoy.

Bottom Line

Worth It?

Yes, Shattered Horizon is the most unique game experience you'll likely have in a long time. Great multiplayer fun easily worth the low price being asked.


You must have a DX10 capable machine to play this game and be running either Windows Vista or Windows 7. It also does not have any single player modes, so if you're not into playing with other people stay away.


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Latest Comments

By Max
in More Bullshit from Microsoft on 2010-08-22
HEAR HEAR! Well said!

By AlabasterSlim
in New Software Survey on 2010-07-15
Without fail, every time I get picked for one of these things I'm using my shitty laptop instead of my gaming desktop.

By übergeek
in ARMA 2 Operation Arrowhead - Review on 2010-07-10
Very nice, good read.

By übergeek
in New Contributor - frag85 on 2010-07-10
Welcome frag.

By ghost
in ARMA 2 Operation Arrowhead - Review on 2010-07-09
Great review

By AlabasterSlim
in New Contributor - frag85 on 2010-07-09
frag will be writing a bunch of articles about widescreen gaming, specifically with three monitors.

By frag85
in New Contributor - frag85 on 2010-07-08
Real-Life comparison. (Image: Linked Image)

By some guy
in New Contributor - frag85 on 2010-07-08
ban he

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