One of the biggest surprises of EGX 2019, Boundary, the FPS from Surgical Scalpels that has quietly gone about its business in development, concentrates the best parts of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare into one wild space experience.
Word of mouth or pure curiosity must have contributed to Boundary being one of the most popular “smaller” games throughout my trip — every time I approached the exhibition, there was a queue that never really seemed to shrink. As a Chinese production, it’s to be expected that those of us in the West aren’t that clued in, but Boundary is something that more people really ought to be aware of.
Taking place in zero gravity outside of a space station, the demo for the game pitted two teams against each other in an unorthodox deathmatch featuring barrel rolls, grappling hooks, and spacesuits. As far as gimmicks go, it’s quite compelling, but just a tonne of fun to play beyond that. Those who remember the criminally overlooked Shattered Horizon will find a new home here.
Gunfire feels weighty with there being a necessity for precision when your enemies can duck in and around the many parts of the space station’s exterior, or even use a grappling hook to get to better positions. Playing on a PS4, aim assist is certainly noticeable with a DualShock 4, though you still need to track properly and accurately. It’s quite similar to Call of Duty in that regard: the aim assist will help you to snap onto enemies, but it’s still up to you to execute the kill as, funnily enough, weapon recoil and spread is a bit of a bugger in outer space.
Boundary’s unique movement is what makes it such a fascinating shooter to play, you being able to spin around and boost up and down like a particularly violent re-enactment of Moonraker. If you can place your feet on a solid surface, such as the ring that circles the main hub of the space station, you can walk normally, though the main enjoyment comes from the slow motion ballet of death that zero gravity warfare brings.
Teamwork is key in Boundary, the game showing any enemies you mark and vice versa. Bunching up seems to be the tactic to employ here so that when the dinner bell is rung and someone on your team becomes visible to the enemy, you can back them up. From what I played, going off on your own is not advisable as death comes pretty quickly. The TTK is fairly meaty, but when you often move with the speed of a fridge out in outer space, you are usually dead before you have much of a chance to react.
Boundary’s demo map is intended to be an open labyrinth that you can utilise to get to cover or flank an enemy, though I did struggle to orient myself properly initially. There was quite a lot to take in at once during what was a quite short demo, yet I still somehow managed to be the best performing player on my team’s leaderboard. Let’s not talk about the fact that I had a negative K/D, that doesn’t matter.
It takes a lot for an FPS game to leave me wanting more after decades of playing them, but Boundary certainly possesses that “one more match” appeal that has made Call of Duty so popular over the years. My only real concern is how Boundary will fare in the long-term. Once the novel nature of space combat wears off, will it be able to last the distance? With how it’s approaching customisation and progression (unfortunately not a part of the EGX build), there’s every chance Boundary won’t go out of bounds in a hurry.
We’ll found out for sure in 2020 when the multiplayer-only game launches for PS4 and PC.
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