|Phantom War: Aftermath|
|Released||March 21st, 2018|
Phantom War: Aftermath, additionally known as Phantom War Redux, is a first-person shooter developed by Vaporware Studios. It is the revival of the Phantom War series, created by .44 and W&W Industries. It was released in 2018 for Microsoft Windows, Anima and Fusion.
After the production of Warzone, some members of DECA, who were originally from .44 and W&W Industries, were unsatisfied of the final product and left the company to start a new game, which was shaped to their vision of what Warzone should've been. The newly set up team, Vaporware Studios, existed of ex .44 and W&W members and other so-called first-person shooter veterans from other major companies. In late 2016, the name of a new Phantom War surfaced and the game was officially revealed at E3 2017.
Campaign is set up according to scrapped models from Warzone. The player has the freedom to choose in what operations to engage and is tasked to collect intel along the way to get objectives and important information for other missions. The story progresses linearly, but the order of missions in dynamic.
The story of Aftermath takes place around present day. A serie of terrorist attacks on American troops have sparked tension in the Middle East again. Allied terrorist groups all around the world have started conducting attacks simultaneously, striking fear in the western world.
You experience the campaign primarily as a SEAL Team Six squad, while also playing as other factions on occassion. You have freedom in chosing what mission you want play, once it is unlocked. This can be done in a world map, showing mission locations with all known intel on the enemies and objective. Additional intel can be collected in other missions.
Multiplayer has been heavily modified compared to the other Phantom War-titles, however the game remains very skill based and implements old hardcore elements in it. It also has adapted some features of the MOBA-genre, especially during post-release updates. The weapons are also authentic, meaning that they'll behave like real life version. Some weapons are stronger than others because of this, but they will also be more expensive to balance that out and force players to make decisions on how to spend their cash.
The game has a very competitive design. Weapons have relatively high damage and high, unpredictable recoil. Through the skills system, players' strenght grows overtime, making lategame matches very intense as they've become powerful with strong weapons, proficiencies and armor. With most gamemodes featuring multiple rounds, matches are very prone to tense rounds, as losing a round as a defender in a mode where defending is easier means you have to win a round as a attacker to win the match, putting pressure on offense rounds. After an update, the first round of every match is an eco-round, which is a Team Deathmatch that determines which side can choose their role first.
The player used to select a primary, a pistol and a grenade in the pre-match. After an update, the players automatically get a starting pistol, depending on their role, and 500 cash to spend after the eco-round. Unlike the original Trilogy, attachments can't be selected in the create-a-class menu, but rather in a match. The player earns cash for kills and capturing objectives. They can spend these points at Stations for attachments, weapons or skills. They can also switch between classes at these stations, with the exception of elimination modes. The earned cash goes cross-loadout, meaning that you don't have to earn cash for each weapon. After each game, all unlocks reset and you play next game without all unlocks.
There are 4 gamemodes at launch, but more are added in updates. All added gamemodes are based off the same structure of one of the 4 launch gamemodes. The launch gamemodes include: Destroy, Assault, Rescue and Capture. All gamemodes feature 5v5 or total of 10 players.
- Destroy - Classic gamemode. 2 bomb sites with one team on offense and one on defense. Offensive team needs to plant the bomb or kill all defenders. Defensive team needs to prevent planting, kill all attackers or defuse the bomb. Best of 7 rounds. No spawning. Switch places after each round.
- Assault - New gamemode. 2 objectives at the defending team's spawn need to be captured within a 3 minute time limit by the offensive team. Defending team needs to hold them off until time limit's reached. Capturing one objective gives additional minute. Best of 3 rounds. Spawing allowed. Switch sides each round.
- Rescue - New gamemode. One player at the offensive team is held hostage and gets a bag over his head. The defending team needs to defend him and the offensive team needs to rescue him. The hostage can communicate with his team. Best of 3 rounds. No spawning. Switch sides each round.
- Capture - Classic gamemode. Both teams have a flag at their spawn and they need to capture other team's flag. Flag can't be returned automatically, but has to be manually brought back to it's spawn location. Best of 3 rounds. Spawning allowed. Switch sides each round.
- Ransom - Based off Rescue. Same rules, but the defending team gets increased ransom overtime. They can collect the ransom at a random location, but they give up the hostage and loose the round. They can keep the ransom to upgrade weapons. The ransom increases by 10 cash each second.
- Survive - Free for all. All players spawn differently and need to survive until one man is standing. Last player to spend gets a cash boost. At random locations, extra cash or a weapon spawns which can be collected. First with 4 survived rounds wins. No respawning. Random spawn each round.
- Conflict - Based off Assault. Instead of attacking and defending team, there are 3 flags both teams fight for to control. AI has been added as a possible option, giving each team 6 additional players who attack or defend objectives.
- Warfare - Based off Destroy. Both teams have one terminal they need to defend, while trying to destroy the others. The players can play bombs, throw explosives or shoot at the terminal to damage it. Once all it's HP is up, it is destroyed and the team who destroyed it wins. AI is also present, however it can't be turned off unlike Conflict.
- Escort - Based off Rescue. One defending team escorting a player or AI to a designated safezone and one attacking team tasked with killing the escort. The AI escort can be interacted with and commanded to perform certain tasks, however limited to hide in a building or to get down. No respawning. Best of 7. Switching sides after each round.
- Terror - Based off Destroy. The attacking team is tasked with a random attack assignment, like planting a bomb, killing the AI character, eliminating the defending team or destroying a terminal. The defending team doesn't know the objective and has to prevent the attackers from completing their assignments. No respawing. Total of 8 rounds with sudden death round.
- Skirmish - Free for all. Players join an endless in-progress match where each minute, all players switch to the same weapon. Lobbies never stop, meaning players can play for multiple hours in the same lobby. Therefor, it's good for practice and killing time.
The Black Market is a post-release addition to Aftermath. The Black Market is also accessed at a station. It offers much cheaper prices for weapons, attachments and skills, but there are a few twists. The item is only available for a limited time, like 3 rounds or 5 minutes of game time. It also has a limited stock, which it doesn't replenish. Players can also see who bought what, so when you buy something from the Black Market, players from the other team can see you have that, which isn't possible by using a normal station.
Another of the Black Market is the Bounty system. Players can put their own money on the head of a player on the enemy team. The player who kills him gets the value of the bounty, with a multiplier ranging from 1.5 to 3 times, depending on the rank of the target on the enemy team. This way, personally you lose some money, but the overal netto value of your team rises and thus you have more chance to win the match.
Another post-release addition is a Wave Defense mode, added a few motnhs after release. Rather than just having an endless wave defense mode, Aftermath features 2 distinct modes that sets the mode apart from other Wave defense modes.
Outposts is the basic wave defense mode and follows the original formula the most. A group of up to 4 players is tasked defending an outpost, which is a multiplayer map. In the outposts are special locations marked to defend, like inventories and data computers. Enemies will try to approach the sites and plant explosives on them or steal the intel and escape.
While killing enemies, players get a bodycount and can use those points to spend on assets, like chopper fire or missile strikes. Besides the defensive role, players can also go in on the offensive. Each multiplayer map has a mini-easter egg that can be solved to finish the wave defense and complete the maps. The difficulty of these easter eggs also depend on the difficulty of the maps.
Extraction is the second wave defense mode and perhaps less traditional. Players start with nothing and need to survive for as long as possible. The only major difference is that players need to acquire resources for a possible escape from the map. Players need to spend their points on LZs, support, fortifications and personal equipment. By gathering these resources, they make an 'escape plan'.
To escape, the players need to execute their escape plan. A chopper will try to extract the survivors at the appointed LZ. Players need to defend the chopper from heavy fire or he'll withdraw or rotate to the next LZ, if selected. The amount of LZs depends on how many you had bought. Once the escape plan fails, which happens if all possible LZs were too hot, the players need to start over gathering resources.
While Aftermath has a lot of free updates in the form of weapon DLC, gamemode and map updates and the Wave Defense mode, it also has a few paid expansion packs.
- Phantom War: Aftermath: Prison Break - 4 new prison-based maps for the Wave Defense Mode, combined with the Prison Break gamemode. Players need to escape their activity through a serie of challenges against an endless wave of aggressors.
- Phantom War: Aftermath: Lone Wolves - A new set of Singleplayer and Co-Operative missions, focusing on Counter-insurgency operations and survival in deep hostile territory.
- Homeland Map Pack - 5 new multiplayer maps set in key landmarks in the western world.