Developer Cyanide Studios is no stranger to real-time-strategy titles, and they’ve been working on a new game that epitomizes the genre. Though this may be a fact, Cyanide finds many ways to imbue their games with features that drive them away from the normal RTS games that we’re accustomed to. With their newest endeavor, Confrontation, this certainly reigns true.
Confrontation is based on the miniature tabletop game with the same name. Though I haven’t been able to dive into the actual wargame, the RTS title for the PC shows a lot of promise. It’s got the typical RTS game features in it, all while incorporating RPG elements that really drive the game to new heights. I recently got the chance to sit down with the game, and I’ve been able to gather my thoughts here in a special preview.
Confrontation takes place during the Rag’narok, which is a heavy battle in the land of Aarklash. During this time, there are warring factions who are taking up arms against each other for power and control. This is the basis laid for many different RTS games, but in the end the nail is driven home. Though it may be a recurring storyline, it gets the job done and Cyanide has found a way to make it their own.
When the game opens, you’re led into a cinematic explaining the storyline. The first level rolls in from there, and it’s pretty basic. Through the first level you’ll learn beginning instructions on how to maneuver your characters, dispose of enemy units, upgrade your gear, and level up. The core RTS rule set applies, so if you’ve any knowledge on the genre then you’ll do well. The only issue here is that when an instruction is provided to you, it’s sent with a lot of text. This may just be a peeve, but I personally would like to have seen less of this.
For this first level, you’re set in a desert region. For the most part this area was set for exploration, due to the fact that enemies were scattered throughout the level. Of course this was because it was the tutorial level, and overall it did a great job with setting the pace of the game. I started off with a single character, and gained party members as I traversed the sands. As you make your way through the level the enemies become more dense and clustered. It never became too much to handle, and the party made it through alright. One thing I did notice was that the way your party is arranged makes a deal of difference in who lives and dies. The main character serves as a tank, while the others are dealing damage from behind. Every once in a while a party member would die, which was unfortunate, but it happens. One of the cool features right out of the gate with Confrontation is that when a party member falls, you don’t have to head back to spawn more. You’ll send an active party member to them, and after a short time they will be revived and ready once more for battle.
Eventually I came upon some treasure chests which provided healing items. Characters can bandage each other to recover health over time, which a great ability. Scattered across levels are also fonts which will reward characters with ability points and armor/weapon tokens. Starting with the tokens, they can be used to add special abilities to a character’s weapon or armor. Each character has a skill tree set to their equipment which makes customization incredibly beneficial. When it comes to ability points, they work out just like ability points in any other RPG. As characters level, these points are awarded, and can then be used to increase stats at a one-to-one basis.
After I conquered the first desert area, my party made their way into a laboratory. The objective was to simply explore the area and scout out anything I could find. This stage was considerably more ramped compared to the previous, as more enemies were botched in tighter areas, and there were more skirmishes overall. There were many spots where long-range combat came in handy, and the casters were utilized greatly. There were plenty of times where I needed to strategize and use tactics, which was a bit different than playing through another tank-and-spank RTS game. This made playing through Confrontation much more fun and interesting.
Though the game doesn’t boast the most amazing graphics out there, it still manages to look good. Camera controls are solid, and the gameplay is really intuitive. There’s plenty to do, and it’s turning out to be a game that’s hard to put down. There were a few glitches here and there, such as my characters disappearing and reappearing back in parts of the map that they couldn’t get out of, but I’m sure a post-launch patch will arrive to fix these issues. Confrontation releases for PC tomorrow. You can pick it up on Steam, and it will feature a full-length single-player campaign as well as online multiplayer. This may just be one of the titles you don’t want to miss out on.