"Bringing deathmatch back to the basics" is the slogan of Nexuiz, one of the most promising free first-person shooters (FPS). It rejects the ongoing trend for more realistic tactical shooters and wants to offer fast action instead.
Indeed, Nexuiz is a deathmatch-centered game, even in singleplayer mode. There, all opponents are computer-controlled bots. Besides (team) deathmatch there are other playing modes which not only include the usual Capture the Flag and one-on-one tournaments, but some other variants as well:
The bots, however, are certainly not too bright. Especially when equipped with explosive weapons like the rocket launcher, you often only have to wait until they blow themselves up.
Nevertheless, the singleplayer campaign mode is quite entertaining. Besides playing alternately in the about twenty maps there are often modifications to the game rules that add another twist. For example, one level includes reduced gravity, only sniping weapons and you die when you run out of ammo. The only downside of the campaign mode is that you cannot adjust the difficulty. So, while it is very challenging for beginners, an FPS expert will find it far too easy.
Spectacular lighting effects
The game is based on the DarkPlaces, which is a significantly improved version of the orginal Quake engine. In particular, it adds realtime lighting and shadowing effects, bump mapping and other eye-catchers. The map format, however, is taken from Quake III Arena. The downside of this is that Nexuiz has pretty hefty hardware requirements. Even with all advanced visual effects switched off, a decent 3D graphics accelerator is a must.
Nexuiz offers a total of nine weapons. Some are very straight-forward to use, but especially the more powerful ones require a fair amount of training. It might be debatable whether the rocket launcher is too powerful since missing rocket may be detonated remotely, inflicting splash damage. Players in the explosion radius will also be catapulted away, which can be used as a tactical move. This is even more important on open maps without boundaries, as blasting someone off the map counts as a kill as well.
So, if you like first-person shooters and have the proper hardware, you must have a look at Nexuiz. All others should buy a new graphics card and reconsider.