Occasionally here at Player2.net.au we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Act of Aggression
Many many moons ago there was a teenage boy waiting on christmas morning for the hippest new videogame. you see this was the year that ‘Rise of the Triad’ came out and jeez was it everything a 15yr old boy could want. guns, explosions and a story so juvenile it would make Michael Bay say “this is a bit much isn’t it?” This was it, the moment for present time had been reached. The anticipation was killing this young boy and the shock on his face when he opened the computer game sized present would have been priceless. “Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2? What is this? This isn’t ‘Rise of the Triad’!?” could be heard muttered from the young boy. “You bought the wrong game dad?!” followed shortly after. After a strong assertion that the young boy should just give it a go and shut up, he did and never looked back. This may come as a surprise to some of you – but I – dear readers was that young boy, and C&C: Red Alert 2 changed my life.
It opened my eyes to a genre known as Real Time Strategy, or RTS as it was soon called by all the cool kids. For me Red Alert 2 was a gateway game, it wasn’t long after RTS games got their hooks in my pubescent flesh that I was keen for more, Total War: Shogun came out a year later, and even though it melted my poor Voodoo 2 12mb video card (Yes kids, Video cards used to have silly names like Voodoo 2, and only contain 12mb of memory..) I still played the hell out of it. Over the years the RTS genre has continued to grow, games like StarCraft 2, Civilization, the many Total War games and many many other franchises have kept the genre fresh and evolving. But somewhere over the years, I feel they have lost their way. Perhaps they take themselves too seriously now, or as the market is so much bigger now there is an emphasis on topping the last one, perhaps it’s just the whole Games Vs Art debate flaring up, but either way I feel the RTS genre has lost its way. Gone is the tongue in cheek storylines, the terrible acting between story missions and the simplified, yet perfectly balanced units.
Well one game seems to be bringing that back, Act of Aggression by Eugene Systems really came out of nowhere, and what a breath of fresh air it is. AoA is set in the not to distant future where the Mexican drug Cartels have annexed California from the United States and set up their own little country called Mexicali following the collapse of the entire Chinese financial system. Now while that would be enough for most games, AoA has an overarching plot line with a group of unnamed shadowy individuals who naturally are trying to take over the world.
As far as the story missions are concerned, you are part of elite black ops section of the UN, tasked with tracking down this mystical shadowy syndicate and investigating the goings on of various sketchy individuals – which basically breaks down into, “Survive until X happens”, or “Go kill this base” or a variant of the two. Nothing groundbreaking for sure, but certainly a great introduction in unit production, resource gathering, base defence and of course, offence! From my time with the story missions I felt i got a great crash course in how AoA all works and set me up for taking that step into what most would consider the ‘real game’ which is of course the multiplayer component.
If however you feel you are not ready to take on the might of competitive online game community, you can always test your skills in the Skirmish mode, which to be honest is where I am having the most fun. AI skill could probably do with a tweak or two, Easy difficulty is far too easy, Medium is a slight challenge and Hard just jumps straight to wiping you out in about 3 mins, so maybe some changes here would be welcome.
If Act of Aggression goal was to seek out that 90’s feel for RTS, boy has it knocked it out of the park. Great visuals, Fantastically balanced game play and some of the cheesiest voice acting in a game since a 2001 Need For Speed game.
Sadly It may get lost in a sea of November AAA releases, but if RTS is your thing, you should really check it out – you won’t regret it.