Saturday, August 8, 2015

RANT: The Nerf Reshell Game

Tale as old as time.  A manufacturer builds something and then utilizes it's core components to make something else.  From Computers to Cars to Buildings and Blasters, it just makes sense.  So when Nerf releases a "new" blaster, take it with a grain of salt.  Sure the outside is exciting and it probably has a tactical rail but I'd be hard pressed to see ground-breaking new designs tucked neatly inside it's shell.  It's something that hit me when I visited Target this week (it's currently August of 2015 for those of you reading this in the age of flying cars).

On the one hand... WOW!  Look at all these new blasters!  There's the new RotoFury for the Mega line.  The ZombieStrike lineup has the Dooooooooominator (thank's Bobo!).  Oh and look there!  A whole new lineup called "Doomlands 2169" with some Cyber Western stuff!  And who could ignore the gobs of Modulus products all over the shelf space.  Accessory packs galore!!  It's all new new n- wait a sec...

Isn't that Doominator just using the same tech we saw in the FlipFury?  Huh... and it looks like the Vagabond is using the Guardian Crossbow internals.  And yeah, I guess that Lawbringer looks great, but it's really just a HammerShot with twice the ammo capacity.  Well, I mean the Modulus is a Stryfe... again.

Suddenly the "newness" wears off and, as I look at the shelves, I try to figure out which one looks the coolest (I nabbed a Vagabond).  It's still good, since the blasters all work well (although I haven't seen great reviews on the Doominator) but I was expecting that excitement of ALL these new products right in front of me to last a little longer.  Unless you absolutely NEED a new design on the exterior to add to your massive Nerf Blaster collection, you probably already own a similar blaster at home.

That's exactly what happened when I got home with the Vagabond.  I'll have a review up later, but in the 24 hours I have owned this new blaster in a new lineup... it already feels kinda old.  I already have a great 6-Shooter Pistol that can do Slamfire.  It's called the Strongarm and it's a great blaster!  Mine has been lightly modified to have a bit more punch for range but I've used it a bunch since I got it.  So whatever modifications I do to my Vagabond... it just feels like more of the same for performance gains.  Would I pick a modified Vagabond over a modified Strongarm?  Tough to say.  Would I pick two HammerShots over one Lawbringer?  Probably.  Would I pick a Stryfe over a Modulus?  More than likely.

I suppose what I'm hoping for in the future is something that WORKS differently.  Make a stand-out difference in a blaster, like the SledgeFire!  Lots of fun to fire, uses cartridges, has a nifty prime.  Sure it may not be the most ideal blaster to use all the time, but what made it fun was how different it's operation is from any other Nerf blaster.  The Rival line is very different for Nerf, and there's some cool innovation going on there, but I'm more focused on dart blasters since it's what I already have a plethora of (and what I tend to prefer).

The Reshell Game has been done a bunch and I suppose this latest "Loot Drop" of Nerf Products for Summer of 2015 seems like more of the same.  Perhaps that's because the new designs are in the new Rival lineup.  Perhaps there's just demand for the existing blaster tech.  Perhaps I'm just bummed that the high of owning this new Vagabond wore off so easily when I realized my Strongarm is doing just fine without an extra 6 inches of plastic.  Either way, Nerf knows exactly what I'll do: keep getting these blasters.  They still look great.  They still work great (a few exceptions, but nobody is perfect).  And they still fuel my random battles with my 7-year-old neighbor.

1 comment:

  1. I've reviewed a fair majority of Nerf's new gear and I can't help but get a little annoyed at the unoriginality under the shell of these things. I bought a Modulus, a Doominator, a Vagabond, and a Lawbringer all about in the same week and they just feel stale already. If you know what to expect from the internals then it's more of a preference of how you want the blaster to look and feel. And that doesn't really help either when you take into account the price differences between reshells. A $50 Modulus vs a $20 Stryfe, and they are essentially the same gun no matter how much crap you throw on it to make it "different". Stuff like the Rival gear where it's something completely different would keep me toying around with them for hours, but another Strongarm, Stryfe, or whatever reshell and it goes into the closet not long after I get done reviewing it. It's a shame really, because they are cool, but the appeal has already gone.