Review: Siegecraft Commander (PS4).
Self-firing of turrets, building a network of buildings and looking for weaknesses in enemy structures – you have not seen such an RTS yet. Too bad the developer didn’t want me to play this.
Before I go to the review, there are a few things I need to clear up. Siegecraft Commander we received a pre-release code for the British PS Store. After creating a PSN UK account and taking a free trial of Plus, the game … did not work. Each started game ended with being thrown to the PS4 menu, which was not helped by subsequent updates and reinstallations of the game, and the developer has not answered us until today. In the end, it helped to change the system language to English – which we came up with way too late. Hence the review almost a week after the premiere.
Siegecraft Commander far from the usual RTS. In line with the determinants of the strategy game genre, we are here to obtain resources, develop and defend our own base, and send units to attack the enemy camp. However, the creators decided to introduce some variety – each player himself “shoots” new buildings at the place where they are to stand. They are related to the “mother-building”, forming a kind of grid. It sounds strange and even after a few levels it’s still hard to get used to, but you definitely deserve points for the original idea.
We start with our own base. From here, we can build several structures, such as an ordinary turret, barracks, library or armory, connecting them with an aqueduct (or something similar). The legs of such a net should be planned skillfully, because only barracks will allow you to build barracks, and without it, forget about the infantry. The problem is that we do not normally designate a place where a new building will stand, but “shoot” such a structure from an arch. Due to this bizarre solution, it is difficult to set up the next turret well, and mastering the shooting itself is not easy. With the deflections of the right knob or the triggers of the rain, I constantly adjusted the strength of the string tension again, smashing would-be barracks on rocks or drowning a new watchtower in the river. One of the updates has made us see the flight path of the missile building, but this only applies to story mode.
However, creating such interconnected buildings makes sense. All the fun is to destroy strategic points of the grid, which will trigger a chain reaction and deprive your opponent of several turrets at once. Therefore, in addition to throwing new buildings, we can hit dynamite barrels and strategically destroy enemy defense systems – only that first you need to properly aim, which is hellishly difficult. Well, we can shoot almost continuously, which creates ordinary chaos. I destroy the enemy’s turret and build mine, approaching the affected base, but the latter has already built a new one and destroyed my newly erected structure – so I go back and play the whole situation anew. Maybe the next time he misses, I’ll be half a centimeter further. Forget about tactics, a quick offensive is what counts.
Of course, chaos was not the keynote of the game (or at least I hope so). However, this does not change the fact that the enemy controlled by the AI in campaign missions even showers us with watchtowers, infantry and air attacks, and his base is protected by energy fields, while we … try to find ourselves in it all. Under pressure, you have to take care of safety, constant pressure on the enemy and good management of the place on the map. All buildings must connect and often this millimeter is missing to put another one next to it, because of the aqueducts connecting them. In addition, attempts to control two or three fronts at once ended in a quick loss of turrets and long bundles of curses. The relentless “shooting” of buildings and missiles just doesn’t work in larger battles.
The turn-based fun mode comes to your aid. Contrary to the basic one, it is not the pressure that counts here, but the careful placement of buildings, because we can only place one on our turn. Unfortunately, you will not experience such a mode in a single, and I have not found a single person willing to play on the Internet (apparently there is cross-play with PC …), so turn-based clashes are only available with a friend. The idea for the game seems to make sense here, but quickly it is waiting for the opponent and the long seconds of passing the turn to another player start to irritate. Placing one building is definitely not enough for a whole turn. Before it was too fast and chaotic, now it’s so slow that you don’t want to play.
The original gameplay idea simply didn’t work out. With such genre variations, you should lower the production difficulty level and give players a chance to familiarize yourself with the new mechanics. Here, the artificial intelligence has no scruples and either massacres in a dynamic system (and without a strategy, simple pressure), or boring in a turn-based system. It is completely not conducive to learning, and even if you develop a tactic by trial and error, the control will effectively prevent you from implementing it. The idea was interesting, but it didn’t work.