Although the MASS building / customization is incredibly deep and satisfying, the actual movement and combat feels significantly less so. There are 2 main issues when it comes to teh combat (in my incredibly limited time in the game’s combat).
To condense these into 1, the main problem is how weightless the controls feel. When simply walking around, walking forward and then strafing abruptly changes the MASS’s direction without even the slightest smooth transition in direction. This leaves the MASS feeling entirely weightless, when it should feel like it at least has the weight of a person walking. I’m not suggesting the MASS’s be difficult to control, with momentum carrying it in a direction for long, or for it to take several seconds to build speed, but there needs to be a minimum amount of a sense of weight behind the MASS before simply walking feels right. Perhaps this could be solved as well, by making the MASS harder to change direction in general, and relying on the player to use the boosters to do very sudden changes ‘sparingly’.
Besides the movement, there is also an issue with the combat. I have roughly 5m of combat experience in game, as I called it quits after completing the first section of the fist mission, which is not a good sign in itself. There is no variation in attacks, such as a simple light or heavy attack. There is 1 attack button for melee, and as far as I can tell, the attacks from it vary based on the ‘momentum’ of the MASS, an ironic twist considering my first issue being the lack of any sense of momentum. This could be a very interesting way to change attacks, if there was a sense of momentum at all to ‘put some weight’ behind the attacks, but instead, attacks feel less powerful than 9S swinging a dagger around against a giant machine (Nier reference).
Enemies do react to being hit, but when being hit with as much ‘mass’ as these MASSes have, you’d expect a dash attack would knock them far back, sastisfyingly so, and perhaps even knock other enemies down with them. Instead, the MASS comes to a full stop on attacking, and the enemy(ies) hit by your attacks will stuble a bit when hit, and that’s the end of the interaction. You spam your attacks, press the sprint / boost button every few seconds to avoid an incoming broadcasted attack, and repeat. The combat loop here… just doesn’t do it for me. And considering that should be a big part of the game, it’s an issue.
Another note that I feel needs to be mentioned, is the camera movement when aiming a ranged weapon and strafing. If you switch strafe directions, the camera abruptly changes shoulders, throwing off your orientation and aim quite a bit. Being able to manually change shoulders would be a much preferred method, where the camera can will stick with teh shoulder it started on when the MASS went to aim, and allowing a user to come out of ADS to swap, or press a button to swap shoulders. This effect made aiming the ranged weapons very… jarring to say the least, and as such, I never dabbled in their use.
I’d recommend adding a sense of momentum to the MASSes, and making players rely on using their boost to more quickly change direction. With this, some frame attacks would be interesting to see, such as sprinting kicks, body checks, flips over targets for sneaky / higher dabage attacks, etc.
Additionally, adding some method of shield or blocking utilization. Something so that a MASS can rush smaller enemies and blow through them with a certain satisfaction. Or so that a MASS can struggle to hold its position against a rain of lead or other projectiles, until it possibly loses the shield stance and is open to a large attack.
In short, add some momentum to both the movement, and combat, and give the melee attacks from a MASS some sense of weighty efffect on targets, and itself. Some defensive shield-like utilities would be a neat addition (if they aren’t just locked behind progression that is, in which case ignore that part).