Last November we were graced with the delight that was the original Firing Range. It was a twitch FPS aiming simulator that tested your thumbs’ dexterity and keep you going for those high scores. Six months later Milkstone Studios has delivered the second iteration, Firing Range 2. Firing Range 2 essentially picks up where the first one left off and added more depth to what is seemingly a pretty straight forward experience.
For those of you who never played the first entry the gameplay is a pretty simple concept to grasp. Aim, shoot and reload. While it is simple in nature and seems fundamental in any shooter, Firing Range 2 demands that you do it in a particular fashion that is going to allow you to reach high scores and advance to further stages. Miscalculations in reloads or unnecessary ADS (aiming down sight) will lose you points and potentially generate frustrating moments, but this game is an exercise in trial and error.
Some notable differences from the first game are the inclusion of a knife for dispatching enemies spawning directly in front of you and the sniper rifle class. The ability to have a sidearm has been added and once again adds another dimension to the targeting/scoring scheme. That leads into the differences with target selection. In the original the pacing was slightly slower so it felt like you could hit every target, whereas in Firing Range 2 you need be more careful with target selection in order to maximize your score. Some targets take more bullets than others so that returns to one of the core mechanics of timed reloads which players will figure out pretty early on. The multiplier system has been overhauled and is more forgiving than the original, but I think this was done because of the faster/choice oriented approach to target selection.
Firing Range 2 has a sleek presentation that draws inspiration from other contemporary shooters. The menu graphic is reminiscent of Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare (the half on fire/Soap MacTavish look), but it is cool nonetheless. The game, like its predecessor, supports customizable load-outs and an easily accessible options menu.
This time around the shooting takes place outside in a mountainous/desert setting which is a nice change of scenery from the warehouse in the original. The short and long range modes change it up and allow the user to access the game’s four weapon types. Short range is Pistol and SMG classes and long range is the Assault and Sniper rifle classes. Also accompanying the two modes is a night vision variant that can slightly alter the difficulty for the simple fact that is it hard to distinguish between some targets.
Most people discount Indie games because of their lack of graphical flair. Firing Range 2 doesn’t look like a contemporary retail shooter, but within the context of the indie game scene it is a very pretty game. Nicely modeled environments and weapons with great animations and sound definitely make this game stand out amongst its indie brethren.
You can easily dump hours into Firing Range 2 especially with the inclusion of 1v1 online battles. Also with various unlocks in the form of new weapons and skins you will be replaying quite a bit if that is your thing. The awards return for this entry and are a fun thing to shoot for (awful pun).
The game is just as narcotic in nature as the first one was and certainly consumed a large portion of my allocated gaming time. Milkstone continues to hit the nail on the head with their indie offerings and are not something that should be overlooked. Trust me once you try Firing Range 2, you will not soon put it down.
If you are on the fence about Firing Range 2 give the trial a spin and let us know what you think about it. It is available on the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace for 80 MSP. We will be giving away a copy of the game to one lucky reader who comments on their experience with the game. Also Milkstone Studios is holding a contest for Firing Range 2 where the top high score in the long and short range leaderboards will receive a 1600 Microsoft Points card on Tuesday April 24th.