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Move aside Concord, Xbox’s FragPunk is the 5v5 FPS to look out for

FragPunk is one of the biggest surprises coming out of the Xbox Games Showcase, as PS5 FPS Concord may already have an Xbox rival.

There’s a lot of debate right now about the merit of hero shooters, but FragPunk’s first trailer casts all of that noise aside for a dizzying 60 seconds of colorful firefight action. Coming from NetEase Games’ studio Bad Guitar, the forthcoming Xbox shooter blends 5v5 skirmishes with deck-based abilities that range from comical visual tweaks to powerful combat buffs. After one look at FragPunk’s gameplay, it will leave you feeling how Concord should have.

FragPunk’s first trailer comes alongside heaps of new Xbox games like Gears of War E-Day and Black Ops 6, and despite no confirmation of a concrete release date, I might be getting a ticket for the hype train early. The forthcoming FPS game centers around Lancers, a type of “genetically enhanced” hero, according to NetEase in a recent statement. Xbox players will be battling off against enemy Lancers to harvest the galaxy’s most desired resource, Glunite.

However, emerging victorious won’t be straightforward, as the tactical advantage can be gained by using Shard Cards to manipulate enemy counters. Shard Cards switch up the multiplayer game’s 5v5 shootouts with a range of abilities like freezing floors, explosive ammunition, and footprint tracking. Or, if you want to simply just enjoy some buffoonery, you can activate Big Head Mode for the banter.

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Using Shard Cards doesn’t seem to be a mechanic you can infinite deploy, though, as NetEase confirms that they’re used “at the start of every round, impacting the very rules by which the game is played.” At launch, developer Bad Guitar notes that “over 70 Shard Cards” will be available at launch, and adds that the Xbox exclusive’s gameplay style will influence “infinite gameplay possibilities.”

What has me really fired up to try FragPunk is the fact that rounds will conclude in just over two minutes, as Bad Guitar expresses that the “frantic match time means players have to aim true and react fast to win the fight.” It’s the kind of gonzo fast-paced goodness that makes modes like Power Shift so compelling in The Finals, with only five minutes on the clock to take control of the platform. Like Embark Studios’ fantastic game-show shooter, FragPunk’s firmly defined art direction is memorable already, unlike Concord.

There’s just something off about Concord. The game’s recent State of Play showcase hardly went down a storm. Aaron’s initial analysis singled out why it doesn’t stand out from the saturated live-service crowd, and I’m largely in the same boat. Concord’s price is a major win though for PS5 fans, as it will take on a Helldivers 2 approach to get out the door.

FragPunk: An image of the Shard Cards in FragPunk.

However, the list of Concord game modes set for launch aren’t anything you haven’t seen before. I’m still hoping I can be swayed by Firewalk Studios’ PS5 exclusive as the Concord release date draws closer, but my money is on FragPunk for now.

In other gaming news, Black Ops 6 Zombies will launch with two maps at launch – with major clues to be found already, and Starfield Xbox mods are available now, like right now.

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