Death at 10,000 feet in the air
Combat is satisfying, but take this with a grain of salt. The sheer number of factors that have to align for this to happen are staggering. First, you must be matched with players. The players should have some semblance of teamwork, and should stick to their roles. The Captain should not always try to steer you away from combat. The Engineer should know the fastest, most efficient routes to the systems that need repair. The Gunner should have an idea of the complex mathematics that govern the various types of cannons, ammo types, and how special items affect shot range, accuracy and potency.
All of these have to coincide and work together as well-oiled machinery to bear death down upon the enemy, and thus, it is not a frequent occurrence with disorganized teams. But on the rare occasion that it happens, by God, it is a thing of beauty. I caught myself, fists up in the air, yelling expletives at the opposing team, as we won a hard-fought battle. Irrespective of other issues, that feeling of accomplishment is priceless, and Muse needs to be congratulated for creating a world that allows it.
Looks like we caught us a few bugs
One of the biggest problems with Guns of Icarus Online is the lack of a proper tutorial. There is a rudimentary, sorry excuse for a tutorial in place, which is more of an embarrassment than a useful feature, and teaches you next to nothing about the depth of game mechanics. Most things you have to learn on the fly, as exasperated teammates explain them to you, and that makes a serious dent in both your efficiency as a team player and the amount of fun you could potentially have.
There are also a plethora of bugs and odd design decisions that rear their ugly little heads all too frequently. As an Engineer, I have fallen through the ship twice while darting about below deck. Occasionally, you spawn inside other players, as well as inside solid objects. The ships and environments look fantastic, but the player models look like they were placed in at the last moment and that too begrudgingly. The Captain and Gunner are usually fun roles, but the Engineer class has to constantly face boring, flat animations during repairs, only to run to another part of the ship and repeat the process. The ships are alive and breathing beings, capable of both dishing and sustaining enormous amounts of damage. However, there is no boarding if you are side-by-side, no combat using personal armaments, and no grappling mechanics. Perhaps the most baffling of these decisions is that when the Captain pilots, the game stays in first person, instead of giving an eagle-eye view of the ship that you now embody.
Guns of Icarus Online is an unfinished product. It is creaky, and the juxtaposition of polish against lack thereof can be quite jarring. It requires teamwork and punishes disorganization. It is beautiful, ugly, satisfying and frustrating all at the same time. Muse promises bug fixes, features and expansions in the future, but that does not excuse the fact that the game was incomplete at the time of the launch.
When all else works, combat is visceral and immensely satisfying; true multiplayer that punishes lack of teamwork; gorgeous world.
Laundry list of visual bugs; incomplete; Engineer class needs a lot more love; no tutorial; intimidating at first; lacks polish in some key areas.