A Year of Rain wants to be Steam’s Warcraft – and even brings a nice twist

You roll your eyes when a manufacturer declares a new game to be “eSports ready” from the start. In the genre in which A Year of Rain moves, the real-time strategy, with a view to certain features, however, one is a little owed. In this respect, it is better to be prepared than to be pronounced dead from the start due to the lack of standards and then to have to consider whether it is still worthwhile to submit certain things.

The bill that the Hamburgers open with this unfamiliar game is not so wrong. Like the studio’s adventure ambitions, the idea of ​​making an RTS arose simply from the preferences of the team members, as Carsten Fichtelmann, co-founder and CEO of the developer studio, revealed. Some people on the team said they wanted to play a game along those lines and “we said, ‘okay, let’s go!’”

With a similarly imperturbable will, this game maker has almost single-handedly kept such an outdated genre as the point-and-click adventure alive. Why shouldn’t there be at least a respectable success in terms of real-time strategy? And as frank and simple as the words with which Fichtelmann recapitulates the decision to take this step, it will not have worked. There are definitely a few more considerations here than “what are we up for next?”

Other ulterior motives related to the competitive situation. For example, Blizzard’s classics Warcraft and Starcraft are not available on Steam and through a few tweaks to the well-known formula, Daedalic wants to get a few more people on board than just those who are waiting for the third edition of the dispute between humans, orcs and the undead . Players who have just “outgrown the Moba”, as Fichtelmann puts it, could enjoy the process, which is very much focused on heroes and their special abilities, and maybe even feel like a campaign with a well-written story and building a base.

And then there is the focus on co-op, which gives it a certain freshness. Because not only the three campaigns – which include the people campaign about the aristocratic family Rupah at the start of Early Access – can be played through completely with a friend, the multiplayer is also based entirely on cooperation. There is hardly a way around defending each other when the destruction of your ally’s base also means your game over. Synergies then come about by additionally choosing an archetype for your hero – tank, damage dealer or support – and moving up the level over the course of a round and using your skills in a team-friendly way while moving across the map together.

In the first few hours that I did the campaign and a few skirmish matches with the AI, the game was a lot of classic fun for its early stage – completion next fall. The structure of the base construction is not surprising, which is clearly positive in this case, the two raw materials plus unit cap are easily kept in view and the manageability of the battles between not-too-large troops detoxifies the juggling between heroes and infantry pleasantly. The campaign doesn’t come up with Blizzard-quality film sequences, but so far it has been quite well written and set to music and in terms of world-building is not that uninteresting, which one would not necessarily have expected given the look that was very reminiscent of Warcraft. The outcast faction is particularly pleasing in its basic idea, because its buildings are built on gigantic resting beasts.

A Year of Rain currently costs 19.90 on sale. Otherwise 25 euros are due

At the moment, it is still noticeable that the actually very clear and in relation to many units quite nice look still looks a bit out of round here and there and the pathfinding currently still regularly does what it wants. So every now and then some of my units got stuck somewhere or couldn’t access a group of opponents I was fighting with and jostled around their colleagues a little fidgety without ever striking a strike. Clear teething troubles that Daedalic should get a grip on. Otherwise, the note that the focus is still very much on micromanagement, because you deal a lot with small things instead of the overall strategy. It is possible that this is due to my low level of experience with the game, the early version or – and this is also not unlikely – the very classic orientation of A Year of Rain and thus a not undesirable part of the game experience.

In any case, A Year of Rain tries a fairly broad balancing act between old and new, which is worth trying because the RTS, in contrast to the round strategy, which has enjoyed excellent health for a long time, is still on its renaissance waiting. If the people of Hamburg work through the feedback from the players with a fine comb in the course of their Early Access, continue to work consistently on the robust base (which fortunately works completely without microtransactions) and the other campaigns are just as entertaining as the first one so far, A. Year of Rain find its community. When the time comes, we can still worry about whether things will work out with eSports.