I’ve never really imagined myself as the type to loot anything—in fact, during the infamous 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup riots, once the crowd downtown started getting rowdy at the end of game 7, I booked it out of there. I learned that about five minutes after I left, chaos and looting ensued. Playing Smash+Grab, I kind of get why people stayed behind. But you know what? I’m alright with limiting my unlawful activities to in-game.
One of the things I really appreciated in Smash+Grab is how they give you a gang of four to flank you as you run through the streets. It makes you feel pretty good, knowing you’ve got backup. You holler at your gang and they come running. You get to choose your lieutenant and then rest of your soldiers, each bringing different strengths and abilities to the table.
Another point I loved? I got to be an Asian girl. There’s not many games where I can choose someone of my gender and race, so this was a nice treat. My character’s name is Tenblade, and true to her name, she wears a surgical mask and looks like a doctor/nurse type. Tenblade is an all-round badass, executing clean and fast attacks against her enemies. She plays like an assassin. I’m not quite sure why she turned to a life of hacking at rival street gangs with machetes, but I’m excited to find out hopefully in the near future! I’ve tried the other characters in the game, but so far, Tenblade is my favorite.
In terms of gameplay, think of Smash+Grab as a MOBA mixed with Payday. You get to choose who you control, and each character will force you to either go melee or range. You also have special attacks that has cooldowns, forcing you to strategically use or save them. In the map that I mostly played on, our teams took different lanes so that we can hit up the most places. This was called the “Ransack” mode. Later on in the game, we would then group up for some team fights.
Between juggling increasing the dollar amount of loot your team collected and getting upgrades, you must be also prepared to turn a street corner and engage with an enemy team. You must also pay attention to what part of the round you’re currently in as stores with higher value goods have their security system go down later on into the night. During the final minutes of the game, two large stores open up that gives you plenty of loot. It could make or break your team’s position in the match, but you can bet that there’ll be a lot of bloodshed before you get to smash and grab.
In early access, aside from “Ransack” mode, there was also a “Take Back” mode. Unfortunately, I could never seem to queue for the “Take Back” mode. In this map, your main goal is to fight over certain loot boxes around the map and bring it back to your base to collect the earnings. I ended up trying this capture the flag-esque mode against AI just to try it out and it was pretty fun! You definitely had very different strategies for this compared to the other map.
You can level up different characters by playing them in a game. Along with this comes fun little aesthetic changes you can make to your character, such as changing their clothes and hairstyle. This actually turned out to be a pretty important part of the game in my opinion, since sometimes you can queue and get a whole team playing the same character. The differences make you feel more defined, rather than feeling like a clone. You also get points to put into your character’s skill tree, which allows you to further customize them to your play style. Lastly, as you level up, you’ll get to choose from a wider range of people for your crew.
There’s characters to come that’s teased through grayed out images of them in the character select screen, but they’re locked for now. I’m also sure there’s more game modes in the future. Overall, Smash+Grab was one of the funnest multiplayer games I’ve played in a while, and I appreciate how much you actually feel like the leader of a street gang. I’m excited to see the early access further develop and to find out what else United Front Games has in store for us!
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