This week I had been given the opportunity to review a RTS game developed by Camel101, which was released in June this year.
Upon starting the game you’re presented with an opening movie like most games, while the textures and graphics were alright, they were also a bit jagged. Also, for some reason they decided to put in subtitles without any voice over work, making it hard to focus back and forth on the story and the interesting space sequence. This made it difficult to actually watch the video. However, I figured not everyone is perfect at opening movies for their games. But there is voice acting throughout the game itself, so it was just a weird decision.
I went immediately to the single-player campaign, which had it’s own opening video with voice overs, which made it a lot easier to try and get into the lore, but it felt all over the place with no direction for story. Then, you are in the map room, I guess you would call it, which is pretty similar to StarCraft II. In a minute or so I realized nothing was happening, no briefing of any kind, so I looked around. I found it, but wait a minute.. What is this? We still have manual mission briefings in 2012? I feel it should have started automatically, especially with nothing else to do in the room. I watched the mission briefing, not much explained there, then I started the level.
I was expecting there to be some plot or story line coming, but all I got some dialog of two people chatting with some guy talking back that I’ll assume is my character, but they never stated as such. At this point, I pretty much got a good enough feel for what the rest of the game would be like. Now onto actually playing this game.
They basically tell you to defend two locations, which is easy enough I thought. But wait a minute… Where the hell are my units? After a few minutes I thought to myself, what if I zoom in? I scrolled the mouse wheel and was able to see my units. Great! So I started messing around with the units, defending my space colonies, but at this zoom level they look like little Atari space invaders. I zoomed in further to look, yeah they looked better, but they looked like bricks. I didn’t expect a red Ferrari or anything, but I expected in the future they’d have ships that didn’t look like boxes.
You all might not feel the same about this, but a real-time strategy game is supposed to be pretty fast-paced right? I don’t think Camel101 thought so. I focused the fire of five or more of my ships on one enemy and it still took a good minute or two to destroy the ship I was defending against. It was a normal, puny ship at that! Later on, battleships take even more to destroy, you could be focusing ten or more units on one Battleship and it would still take a minute to bring it down. That’s way too slow, with no way to speed it up! Not to mention the space ships that are supposed to be really far advanced move slower than our rocket ships of today. They travel at a snails pace if not told to jump to different places.
Unit control is pretty important to me, and in the second mission it was apparent that they didn’t focus on this in the games development. I could select multiple units, but double clicking one unit didn’t select all of that type, as I have come to expect from every RTS out there. There aren’t any hotkeys, it’s all left click or right click. I had a really hard time finding my construction ship I built, unless I zoomed really far in and hoped I was zooming in the right place.
Lets talk about mission time. How long should a level be? I don’t know, but the first level was about 25 minutes long and it could have easily been five or 10 minutes. The reason why it took 25 minutes was the game wasn’t keeping up with everything I was doing. I really don’t want to sit and wait 10 minutes for a game to do what I want, that’s not fun at all. This game makes Civilization look fast and it isn’t turn based.
Speaking of time, you can’t skip cutscenes. So even if you just wanna replay one of your favorite levels of the game(I don’t have one.) You have to sit and watch the entire thing every time. Quite exhilarating.
It can’t be all bad, right? No, it isn’t, but it’s nothing game oriented I liked about it. I liked their voice actor cast, their voices really seemed right for their parts, and the background music for the levels really gave it that space feeling. I think that’s the only thing I can highlight in this game as worth remembering. If anyone else has played this game I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
Overall this game is boring in my opinion, even for an RTS, and I’ve played a lot of them. It just seems incomplete, and I don’t think I set my standards for games that high. I gave it my score, just for the music, voice acting and sound effects. I would really focus more on character development and unit control if I were Camel101.