Flash of Steel header image 2

The night of death

April 29th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Against my better judgment, I accepted a challenge to play Act of War: Direct Action against a fellow writer/reviewer. He thought that I was giving the game’s skirmish play short shrift and should play more of it. So I reinstalled the 6 GB beast and got ready to rumble.

It was a massacre.

With some genres I am a slow learner, and RTS is one of those. I eventually become very good, but mostly I like building the stuff and killing things at a leisurely pace. My opponent had a much different philosophy. He is very good at most games, it seems, and he should be considering how many he plays. Once he gets an edge he never lets up, and an edge in Act of War is all it takes.

In the end, the experience didn’t sour me on Act of War – I still think it is a good game that people should certainly play – but I was not convinced that the MP or skirmish play was more than average. If a tipping point is reached, a player can begin rolling over his opponents. There is only one resource – money – so there is no way to compensate for a lack of one resource with an alternate plan. An edge in banks or oil fields is absolutely decisive. My infantile skills aside, a single misjudgment over the size of a scouting force effectively cost me the game – or at least cost me the game more quickly than it should have.

And though there were no stalemates in the games we played, I remain convinced (based on skirmish play versus the AI) that the way the game plays out with this single resource means that two equally resourceful players would find themselves at a deadlock, primarily based on the power of the defence and the low cost of infantry.

One thing I did underestimate was how devastating the end game weapons could be in the right hands. My rival rained destruction from above in such a scary manner it was like all four horsemen showed up and galloped over my spine with spiked horsehoes. The weapons in Act of War make the god powers in Age of Mythology seem like toys.

I clearly need some practice.

And I think that Jim of Bastard Numbered is going to kill me in Laser Squad Nemesis.

And this, my friends, is why single player games will never go out of fashion.


No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.