...Short of Throwing Rocks At It?
The campaign moves along well, the story, though not the most intriguing story in history, moves along well and is compelling to move ahead in the game. That is, until the third act collapses. After the conclusion of the Hierarchy campaign, you take on the Masari persona. The problem is the story (and presumably the budget) drops out at this point. Gameplay continues in a metaverse similar to Star Wars: Empire At War where you choose the target locale for the next battle, then continue to play in skirmish-fashion until you get to the final map for a more scripted showdown against the Purifier. This sudden shift in gameplay is a bit unsettling, and definitely a let-down when you finish the game, and the ending movie that tries to tie the story back together seems a bit like a last minute attempt to cobble something out of nothing. I had to keep wondering what happened in between and what happens next. I smell a sequel or expansion, though. Still, had the metagame been more satisfying I may have been more forgiving on the last third of the game dropping any pretense of story. As it is, though, the metagame feels more like a way of describing a bunch of skirmish matches you must go through than an actual metagame.
While the balance of three very different factions is reasonably well set up, I fear that there are some game balance situations left unaccounted for. The Novus' hit and run tactics are fairly universal and work for everything, though the design is obviously borne from the concept of quick strikes on Hierarchy Walkers. The Hierarchy's overwhelming power is fairly effective against everyone, though it encounters substantial problems when trying to stomp through a Masari base. Which brings us to the Masari. While they're certainly made vulnerable through the fact that their units are overwhelmingly expensive, the fact that they can produce their own resources without scouring the map is a big bonus for them. The trouble is, that while Hierarchy is expensive as well, Masari can be painfully vulnerable to an early Hierarchy Walker strike or a Novus Ohm rush. On the other hand, if left to porcupine in a base for a while, the late-game Masari is almost unstoppable, leaving little hope for either of the other factions, while Novus and Hierarchy are perfectly matched for each other. I can see many servers blocking Masari from playing in online games to keep things more evenly matched.
The game suffers from a few technical problems as well. While the game supposedly supports DirectX 10 under Vista, getting to game to function properly with it enabled may be easier said than done. It could just be Vista x64 issues I was experiencing, but with DX10 enabled in the game configuration, a brief base building as Novus would grind to a near-hault as soon as a substantial energy network and Ohm fleet were built. Fortunately I saw no noticable difference in graphics with DX10 disabled anyway. The game runs pretty smoothly when reverted to DX9.
There's another problem (Ed: This may have been fixed in the latest patch, play testing was concluded just before the current patch was released) experienced was noticed especially with large numbers of Novus units in the single player campaign. In some instances, when a saved game was loaded, the game would continually crash to desktop a few minutes after loading. The only apparent solution was to load an older save.
Previous Page -1 2
3 4 - Next