|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Fun Labs||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 25, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-14||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Most of the events in tournament mode are capture the flag affairs requiring 2, 3, 5, or 7 man teams. In these matches, your team can reach victory by stealing the other teams flag and returning it to your teams base. This can be achieved by eliminating all of your foes then going for the flag, or if youre feeling lucky you can also just make a mad dash for the flag at any point.
This typically results in failure but the ability to cheat can make it a fairly viable option. Whenever you are tagged with a paintball, a swinging bar appears on your screen. As the bar swivels, stopping it in its small green area will result in wiping the paint splatter off and continuing with the game. Once youve mastered stopping this meter it can become incredibly cheap, especially since failing only results in your elimination which would have happened anyway. I do find it fairly odd that the game seemingly encourages the player to cheat because of this, considering all of its warnings against doing so in its loading tips.
Before every match, players are also able to set their teams overall strategy. There are a few preset strategies for each arena such as a spread formation or having your entire team overload a specific side. However, where things truly get interesting is in building your own strategy for each match. Here you can place each of your teammates behind specific cover and instruct them in which direction you want them to fire. This is an invaluable option that adds quite a bit of strategy and enjoyment to the games fairly repetitive matches.
The repetitive nature of the games events is easily NPPLs biggest drawback. No matter which type of match you are playing and which characters, equipment, and strategy you are using, you are essentially doing the same thing each and every time. Run to cover, peek out, shoot, proceed to the next point of cover, and repeat. Each match also only takes a minute or two to complete, so fatigue can set in rather quickly. Even with the ability to create your own play fields, alter your strategies, and play online with up to fourteen players, the experience falls flat relatively fast.
In the end, NPPL could be a decent package for many paintball enthusiasts but doesnt include enough variety to satisfy most players. The game looks good, plays well except for a few issues with more complex maneuvers, and accurately recreates a realistic paintball experience. The ability to customize your strategy, team, gear, and even create your own play fields are great but only serve as a minor distraction from the games completely repetitive matches. Playing online with human opponents adds a bit of longevity to the experience but ultimately NPPL just gets monotonous far too quickly.
CCC Staff Contributor