The Pipeline: Finding My Inner Street Warrior In Smash+Grab | Buzz Blog
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The Pipeline: Finding My Inner Street Warrior In Smash+Grab

A look at the last title from the recently closed United Front Games.

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Growing up with basic cable, I had access to a ton of old-school films from the '70s and '80s that were considered hot garbage and fell into syndication. Within the mounds of romantic thrillers and oddball action flicks were some cult classics, and one that stood out to me and many others was The Warriors. Say what you will about the film itself, the idea behind it was pretty cool, with roaming gangs staking out turf all over Manhattan, and the movie influenced a lot of creators afterward. The franchise itself scored a video game from Rockstar back in 2005 which received glowing reviews, but for some gamers, there was a sense that there wasn't enough gang warfare in a game about gang warfare. For those bloodthirsty few, United Front Games may have your solution with Smash+Grab.

UNITED FRONT GAMES
  • United Front Games

The game puts you in the middle of a high-density city with its own subway system, hole-in-the-wall shops and roaming gangs. You'll take your customized character and your crew of thugs to mapped areas, where you'll break as much property as possible and collect the goods, all while fending off and defeating rival gangs that are raiding the same turf. The game keeps you on your toes with multiple objectives, and choices that could lead either to quick victory or slow, agonizing defeat. During a battle, you'll earn more cash, experience, and the ability to upgrade a ton of items to help you down the road. The game may have a modern feel, but it's no different than being Vikings raiding a province for everything they need to supply themselves and move on stronger than before. 

UNITED FRONT GAMES
  • United Front Games

The movement can be a little stiff at times, as it's a combination of WASD controls with a point-and-click battle mode. You may not like it, but you'll find yourself running into a lot of objects you don't want to, which could cost you a lot during battle. They key to staying alive during the fights is to upgrade weapons and keep everyone in your crew healthy. You'll be running to different spots that will allow you to steal weapons and upgrade them, as well as containers and other convenience spots that will enable you to get ahead of your competition. Playing against the computer can be a chore, but it will prepare you for the multiplayer battles yet to come, with players who have gone through the same trials you have.

UNITED FRONT GAMES
  • United Front Games

One of the big bonuses was the customizable characters, as I get the impression that I can make myself look however I wish and intimidate everyone. That being said, the customization only goes so far and feels almost stereotypical. I get that I'm supposed to be in a gang, and with that comes what many would view as a standardized look, with denim or leather jackets and bandanas, or maybe a hoodie smeared in gang signs and colors. But if this is to be totally customizable, I should look however I wish, no matter how ridiculous. 

UNITED FRONT GAMES
  • United Front Games

The graphics move pretty well and the music is all right, but the biggest flaw to the ambiance is the commentary and random sound effects. I don't need to keep hearing someone in my crew saying "Yo, we gotsta go!" over and over. I know we need to go; I'm dying after taking out the leader of the rival gang to keep his ass alive, and I don't need a reminder every 15 seconds. You hear glass breaking and spray-painting effects around every corner, with little purpose to them being there. If the idea what to make the environment feel more "urban" and "gritty," they missed the mark. It just feels like someone is sitting behind me hitting random sound effects on a keyboard. You might as well have someone yelling out their window in a foreign language, or the sound of garbage cans being flipped over, or rats coming out of the sewers, because they serve about as much purpose as the rest.

UNITED FRONT GAMES
  • United Front Games

The developer recently announced that they were closing their doors, which is a shame, because this game has already been released on Steam in Early Access, and now won't see any development beyond what you've got already. But for what it's worth, you're getting an interesting title, flaws and all—a pretty decent 3-on-3 battle game, with a multiplayer community that's been holding steady since it's early release. Knowing there could have been so much more taints the product a little, and unless another developer swoops in and purchases the rights to make improvements, it's a shame to see a game with such potential get stopped before better things came.

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