What is Ironsight?
Ironsight is a Free to Play (F2P) online First Person Shooter (FPS), developed by South Korean developers Wiple Games and published by Aeria Games for the West. The game is built on the proprietary game engine “IRON Engine” which is also created by Wiple Games.
The game takes place in a war between two fictional factions, North Atlantic Federation (NAF) and Energy Development Enterprise Network (EDEN). After a cataclysmic event, the two factions are locked in a battle for Earth’s final remaining natural resource, Trinitium.
Players can choose between a good variety of game modes which cater to both casual and ranked play. Some of these game modes include Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Capture the flag, and Duel.
Ironsight offers a wide assortment of weaponry including 38 primary weapons which are highly customisable for functionality and aesthetics. Different bullet types can be used for stopping power, armor penetration and more.
The impressive level of customisation continues throughout the equipment selection with secondary weapons and character models all offering a wide selection of skins. If the player prefers, they can use the base player model to unlock and apply individual items of clothing such as face coverings, gloves, shirts and more
Ironsight draws heavily from the Call of Duty school of game design with reasonably fast, fluid, close quarters combat in near-future, realistic map settings. Weapons offer varied statistics but nearly all remain controllable and predictable under continuous fire, especially with modifications added to them. This makes for fast, precise combat where, with the short Time To Kill (TTK), impressive multi-kills are more than possible.
Similar to killstreaks, Ironsight offers the use of drones which can be earned over the course of a game. As players do actions such as an objective or killing an opponent, they earn points which contribute towards unlocking pre-selected offensive or tactical drones. These come in the form of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for locating enemies, a small running explosive called a Spider Drone, Helicopter Gunships and large, powerful, Metal Reapers and many more. The drones do a lot to compliment the action in Ironsight, such as seeing multiple enemies coming towards you and throwing down a deployable shield, or setting up a Gorgon drone which blinds anyone who looks at it.
The vast majority of the drones can be destroyed with conventional weapons and drone-specific EMP weapons. This does a good job of preventing imbalance and a snowball effect for those who have reached enough points to use a drone. Whilst obviously drawing inspiration from “killstreaks” in the Call of Duty series, Ironsight does space out drones enough to avoid the “killstreak spam” which is so prevalent in the aforementioned series.
All in all, Ironsight does an excellent job of providing fast paced shooter fun and an environment where tactical, competitive gameplay can take place.
Ironsight does a good job with providing players with varied, suitably sized and well designed maps. The settings for these maps range from a cruise ship, to a bio lab, to a train station and many more. All 17 of the maps provide interesting areas with focal points and a good mix of indoor and outdoor areas.
The IRON Engine also provides some of the maps with dynamic effects which open up new routes during the game, the most dramatic of which is a dust storm causing a windmill to topple and crash through a wall, opening up a new tunnel.
Despite these positives, a small number of the maps can provide a frustrating experience in the Team Deathmatch mode. Team Deathmatch in Ironsight does not have fixed spawn locations but instead shifts the spawns to designated areas around the map if enemies are in the currently used one. This is a commonly used method in games to prevent teams being dominated and unable to leave a spawn area – often referred to as spawn camping. A small number of maps only offer two spawn locations which means you do a lot of running back and forth from one end of the map to the other if your team is particularly aggressive.
Comparing Ironsight to its competitors, particularly in the Free2Play market and especially from the East, it does an excellent job at providing varied, entertaining maps to play on.
Visuals and Sound Effects
The IRON Engine provides decent visuals for Ironsight, offering good visual effects and physics. That said, Ironsights engine is aimed at older machines to ensure more people can play and that does show when compared to other games on the market.
With every graphical option turned to maximum and effects enabled, Ironsight fails to impress but does enough to not be off-putting. The setting is based in realism but keeps the visuals clean and simple which results in a lack of visual noise and distraction.
Ironsight has decent sound effects which are, again, reminiscent of Call of Duty Black Ops. Guns sound punchy if perhaps lacking slightly in variety from one another. Environmental cues such as footsteps on different surfaces let you accurately work out what is going on.
User interfaces have been fairly consistent in their design for free2play FPS games for over a decade now. Ironsight continues the expected theme but does an excellent job of simplifying it to make navigation both simple and clean. Every area of the game can be quickly navigated to without hassle. The only complication arose when trying to select drones which people do not find immediately clear, and buying weapons which is actually done in the “Loadout” area instead of the shop.
Rather impressively, very in-depth statistics are provided for every map, mode and gun in the game in an easy to use way. The weapon statistics break down accuracy by body part, Kill/Death ratio and number of kills for each gun.
Network & Anti-Cheat
Free2Play FPS games have always had a tumultuous history when it comes to networking, given that they were often made with a Peer to Peer (P2P) configuration. Just as with every well-configured shooter, Wiple Games decided their Free2Play shooter should instead be made with a Peer to Server (P2S) configuration. Unfortunately this decision has not yielded the results you would expect as delayed damage when turning corners and peekers advantage is still present.
Ironsight uses Easy Anti Cheat for preventing the use of cheats in the game. That, along with the proprietary game engine, seems to do a decent job at keeping Ironsight hacker free, with no obvious cheating happening during playtesting.
As with many Free2Play shooters, the Ironsight shop disappoints but not for the reasons you might expect. Aeria Games has done a great job of ensuring Ironsight is not “Pay2Win” (P2W) as there is nothing you can buy for real money that gives you an advantage over other players. Everything which can be purchased is cosmetic or boosters for earning experience or gold.
Unfortunately, Aeria Games has failed to provide players with anything that you might want to buy. Character models are good but rarely stand out enough from the others to the point where you want to purchase it. Weapon skins vary wildly in quality and the only really good ones are far too expensive.
So, is it worth playing?
Ironsight’s development is slow and has fallen into the trap of being in an eternal open beta. However, for those of you who are looking for an old-school, military, CQC shooter which is free to play, Ironsight remains one of the best around just now. The mix of fast gunplay and interesting, well balanced drones to use makes Ironsight stand out from the crowd.