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Stock Class- NPPL Championship Paintball 2009 Reviewed

Reviewed by BlackMage

Some of our recreational games have been called allegories for war. From football to chess, and board games like Risk, each diversion focuses on conflict and the elimination of an opposing threat. In college, I often played paintball, and although the terms were anesthetized (guns were markers, while burning was akin to covering fire), the sport was the closest most civilians would get to a real infantry battle.

In 2004, Activision released Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball for the Xbox. The game offered an alternative to Halo 2, by offering a competent recreation of both tourney play, with a woodsball backdrop. While the game was enjoyable, it suffered from a lack of depth, and shortage of options. Four years later, Activision has returned to the field with NPPL Championship Paintball 2009. Is this game an improvement upon the original, or is it destined for a quick trip to the deadbox?

Once the player selects a character, there are five modes of play: career mode, quick play, exhibition mode, dynasty training skills and also a field creator. Career offers players the ability to evolve your team’s abilities through a succession of speedball tournaments. Additionally, success allows the player to buy different equipment, although we noticed little performance difference between the default and more expensive gear. Both quick play and exhibition allow the eager player to quickly drop into a match; exhibition allows play on five woodsball maps, as well as the title’s user-generated maps

Player use the left analog stick to move, while the right stick is used to adjust marker aim. Shoulder buttons are used to sprint, snap to objects, and fire the marker, while the d-pad is used to issue commands to the your teammates. While the main control scheme was functional, the game’s use of a context-based ‘A’-button gave me sporadic problems. While the usual function of the button is a slide or dive maneuver, it is also used to jump over smaller obstacles. About ten percent of the time, the game did not recognize my desire to jump over a barrier, putting us in danger.

NPPL’s artificial intelligence is painfully inadequate and underdeveloped. During matches, CPU-led enemies tended to stay close together and move predictably from one side of the screen to another.  In single player Capture the Flag matches, foes wouldn’t show any defensive flag guarding behaviors, making the scenario painfully easy. Although the player can set breakout routes for AI players before the start of every round, these strategies seldom factored into successful for the player.  For multiplayer matches to remain lag-free, players may have to add in a few bots within the rosters. In general, I found a scarce amount of players on Xbox Live; although the players I did encounter played the title heavily. 



Graphically, the title is marginally better than last-gen’s Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball. While the facemask border that surrounded the player’s perspective is now optional, and markers take up a reduced amount of screen real-estate, fields textures and player modes are of similar quality. Clearly, the high point is the represenation of the obstacles which look suprizingly photorealistic. Sonically, the developers nailed the distinctive sound of paintballs leaving the marker barrel, however the voiceover work from Team Dynasty is delivered unenthusiastically.

Overall, paintball aficionados may appreciate NPPL Championship Paintball 2009 despite its flaws; currently no other recreation of the sport exists.  Fans of first-person shooters seeking an alternative to Call of Duty or Halo 3 would likelier be happy putting fifty dollars toward the purchase of actual paintball equipment, rather than buying this game.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

41 comments

  1. Is this out? I haven’t seen or heard of it?

  2. I saw this in stores and had to laugh. The back of the box said from the #1 paintball game publisher in the world.

    How about the only paintball game publisher in the world?

  3. I’ll never understand paintball video games. The whole reason we play paintball is because it’s a safe alternative to shooting real guns.

    So if you put that into a video game, which is also a safe alternative to real guns, you then have a safe alternative to a safe alternative to real guns.

    Seems like you’re just throwing in an unnecessary middleman in the simulation.

  4. I’m think that paintballing really doen’t make for a decent video game.

  5. I bought this and was frustrated, not so much by the gameplay 9which was disappointing- I agree with the review) but by the MP

    Most people didn’t understand that paintball follow a different trajectory that bullets; they drop. Everyone online saw saying the game was inaccurate. Jeez, I had to turn my headset down- I couldn’t take it.

  6. Blackmage, are you one of the Techgaming posse now?

  7. So, a C- was way too kind?

  8. Agreed, a simulation of a simulation doesn’t work.

  9. Graphics look good. You’re right about the obstacles, they really look inflatable.

  10. I bought this in November and completely agree with the review. I played it for two days hoping there was more, there wasn’t. AI is the worst problem with the game.

  11. Good review, BM!!!

  12. Yes, I was a PC only gamer, but DE convinced me to buy a 360, so I can review more games.

  13. I wonder if a sim of a sim of a sim is so removed from the original that it would work 😉

  14. This is one of those games, ill wait until it hits the bargain bin.

  15. How is the framerate? I think there was a bit of lag in Greg Hastings PB.

  16. Eyepatched Monkey

    Despite this, I still might buy/rent the game.

  17. It’s right in that area. No conspiracy here.

  18. thanks for the review. I saw this at wal-mart last week.

  19. I think I recall seeing your name in PC hardware reviews. Did you work for another site?

  20. This review wasn’t nearly as brutal as most. I wonder if it’s because the author was/is a paintballer,

  21. Yes, I’ve done review for at least 4 different sites, including about.com.

  22. I bought this game two months ago and sold it back quickly. Your review was way too soft on it, its really a pile of rubbish that even p-ballers should avoid.

  23. Looks like in come out Nov. 18 to awful reviews.

  24. Why do you guys a agree to review a game you should know you’ll dislike?

  25. Like the review said, I used to play paintball, and I really hopes this game would capture the fun of the sport.

    I asked DesertEagle to get a review copy, with that hope in mind. Only after playing the game did I see NPLL’s faults. Still, I think it may be a decent game for pb fans (as some have mentioned). No other alternative currently exists.

    A C- isn’t the end of the world, it’s a game that is slight below the curve.

  26. You tell ’em, brother!

  27. Not for me!

  28. Hows the animation? Does it look mo-capped?

  29. I played it, the Animation is decent. You wont notice any problems with it.

    BM- Do AI players always left side flank for you?

  30. The Artist Known as 7

    Looks kinda fun, with people you know online. I don’t know if it would be good with a bunch of strangers.

  31. I’ll stick with CoD: World at War, thanks.

  32. Ill bite for $20.

  33. I haven’t really seen this game at any retail channels. Does target carry it?

  34. I work at Gamestop and we have been selling ALOT of these. Paintball fans are very faithful.

  35. I called Target and they never heard of the game. I’ll try GS.

  36. i think i could help you

    mpcocsearch

  37. I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time… however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals.

  38. I bought this and was frustrated, not so much by the gameplay 9which was disappointing- I agree with the review) but by the MP.Most people didn’t understand that paintball follow a different trajectory that bullets; they drop. Everyone online saw saying the game was inaccurate. Jeez, I had to turn my headset down- I couldn’t take it.

  39. I bought this in November and completely agree with the review. I played it for two days hoping there was more, there wasn’t. AI is the worst problem with the game.

  40. Amazing game guys,i didnt expect to be good so much!
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