Nerf N-Strike Elite… Bottom line

As we close in this week on the Nerf launch party for the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hailfire, I figure it’s only fair to finally do some actual writing, this being a blog and all.

So the Nerf N-Strike Elite line.  Hit or miss?

I’ll give it a hit, but tentatively.  I really want to love it, I really do!  And I’m impressed, don’t get me wrong.  But until I have the actual Hailfire in my hands to test and check out, I’m going with reservations.  Mainly cause I don’t want to think the novelty and newness of everything is clouding my judgment.  These are some sweet new toys, and I think they’ll add a lot of value to Nerf games far and wide, but let’s still maintain a grain of salt.

What we’ve seen so far are UPGRADES to existing blasters.  Nerf’s already received some fire for reshells (Spectre was a five-shot Maverick, the Alpha Trooper was functionally a Raider, and nevermind the countless repaints.)  I like what I’m seeing, but slam-fire and a single-shot modular blaster are things we’ve seen already.  The Hailfire has a new loading mech, but functionally it’s a Barricade or a Nitron that it’s a flywheel blaster and shoots one dart at a time as opposed to say, a spread of darts/discs.  But it’s either of those blasters on steroids.  UP TO 75′, and 144 shots (at max capacity) before having to refill another magazine.  It looks small, which might defuse bulky arguments, but that remains to be seen on what magazines will actually fit and how many (the speculation leads to: 35 rnd drums).  In any event, what functional hilarity this adds to the battlefield remains to be seen, and I can’t wait to try dual-wielding it.

Thanks to SGNerf for the photo!

All the skepticism aside… let’s get to it.  The Nerf Vortex line big ranges flat, but the discs fell victim to crosswinds more severely than darts.  They were also green, which made it harder to find in well-grown grass.  The Elite darts hit 50+ flat, but the advertised 75′ comes at an angle which is to be expected.  Either way, whichever range you hit that’s more than 20-30’+ that we’ve come to expect out of recent Nerf blaster releases.  So whether you like discs or darts, anything you’ve bought previous to Vortex and Elite will find you at a slight disadvantage.  I’ve managed to shoot straight with a Nerf Nitron, and the Retaliator and Rampage are pretty accurate at 40′ and a bit more than that even.

Those of us that hold stock-ammo/blaster games are going to have some fun with this new stuff, for sure.  It changes the field a lot, having this kind of range and accuracy straight outta the box without any additional work.  Everything from the previous N-Strike line is compatible with the Elite and vice versa, so don’t fret about all the streamlines you’ve already bought!  Just use them until you can’t anymore, and go buy Elite streamlines.  They fly a tad better than the originals.

So the only real gripe is I’m still looking for something way out of left field from Nerf.  Everything here looks impressive and I am impressed with how things fire, but the functionality still feels similar.  Even their vaunted Pyragon is a disc-shooting Raider.  While things look cool, I want to see something blow my mind both in how it looks AND how it plays.  I think the last blaster to do that was the Nerf Unity Power  System because it had 3 different blasters, one of which was essentially a shotgun.  When I saw the Raider for the first time it was awesome, but then boiled down to still putting out one dart at a time, just faster.  The Deploy was hilarious in function, but past the transformation (and nobody was fooled) it was a pump-action single shot blaster, or a Furyfire.

Still though, one step at a time.  Nerf’s given us souped-up ranges, a sleek color scheme, and dark blue darts. (I hope they make the darts brighter though… given the issue with green discs, white elite darts would be easier to find than dark blue.)  The Hailfire is going to have a reloading mech that looks promising at adding new body mechanics (I will admit, I liked the thumb switch on a Proton.  Made it feel very tactile and was satisfying on some level; the little things that count) to handling a blaster, which might be enough to sell it.

Speaking of selling – here we go once more with the pricing:

Nothing outrageous, and honestly I thought the Hailfire was going to cost more.  But that’s enough talk.  Time to get back to blasting, and shooting foam at anything that moves.  The Elite line shows a lot of promise, and I would definitely suggest picking them up and giving them a go.  The darts are new, the blasters are new (on the inside), and it looks like Nerf’s paying attention to what you, the fans want.  Better ranges and accuracy.  So show your support for what you wanted, and make sure Nerf knows this line is going to sell!  The blasters should start popping up around 8/1/12, and the Hailfire around 9/9/12.  Get on it, it’s time to upgrade.

Quick edit: I was asked if the Recon barrel changed in diameter for the Retaliator, but found this instead.  When pics first surfaced people speculated but I took a pic of my clear Recon for confirmation.

Nerf N-Strike Retaliator barrel extension

Nerf N-Strike Clear Recon barrel extension

I do declare, is that rifling I see?

Walk the ladder, compadres.
@VasTheStampede

P.S. – This Thursday I’ll be back here posting LIVE from the Nerf Hailfire Launch in NYC (New York City!)  Posting – Youtube:  http://youtube.com/foamfromabove
Twitter: @vasthestampede
aaaaaand this very blog!

How they roll in the Pacific Northwest!

A couple of weeks ago I was checking out nerfhaven, and found this little thread:

Nerfhaven thread announcement!

So from what I can tell this group out in Washington state has a publicly accessible old fort available for their foam warfare! Illinois unfortunately is short on supply on things like this (believe me, I looked. Do you know of something I must have missed and live in IL? Let me know – foamfromabove@gmail.com). Either way, judging from the pics (gallery links to follow) the site works for indoor and outdoor foam flinging – hallways, corridors, multiple levels, surrounding vegetation, it’s pretty intense. The group uses flagging tape and glowsticks, and even in broad daylight it looks like some of the rooms are just ripe for poorly lit “who’s there!?” moments. Awesome.

The rules for this group and location are as follows:

“Rules:

All players under 18 need parental consent. That means they have to speak to ME directly. I need to do this for each war. I can meet or call your parents before the war if you would like. Lawsuits suck.

Eye Protection. We have extras.

OFFICIAL NERF AMMO ONLY. We picked up a wide variety (White, black, gray, and red) of dangerous homemade ammo with metal weights and washers poking out at the end of the day last time. They look like they didn’t stand up to the concrete very well and we have no interest in having those things fired at us. I just picked up over 100 streamlines to replenish the communal ammo, so there is plenty to spare.

All modded blasters are subject to approval. These are point blank range firefights!

This is a state park. We keep it clean, respect other guests, and behave ourselves.

Any threats of actual violence, unsafe play, or other nonsense will not be tolerated.”

Stock ammo, and point blank encounters = probably very limited mods. But in an area like this I don’t see that being a problem. I haven’t been to a proper indoor war yet, but they look like a lot of fun and something like this where you have the potential of both worlds is an interesting scenario. It looks like they’re done for the year at this location but I am seriously jealous of you, Puget Sound/Pacific Northwest Nerfers.

Let this stand as testament that foam fighting doesn’t end at mods and open fields. It’s a big world out there, find some interesting places to play (preferably within legal statutes!)

Thankfully, “Flaming Hilt” was nice enough to let me link to his album:

Pacific Northwest Nerf!

And it looks like they had a freaking great time. Way to keep it lively out there, folks! One day, if I go to WA I’ll look you guys up. Thanks for the cooperation, “Gunther!”

’til next time, Foam Flingers!

Vas The Stampede

Don’t forget! Foam From Above is always looking for Foamme Fatales for our gallery! See the details in the right sidebar! Are you a girl who nerfs/male nerfer with females in your group? Let’em represent! Attention whoring photos/scantily clad ones are NOT what we’re looking for here.