Thursday, March 29, 2018

Empires Apart Gameplay Review

I'm playing Empires Apart, a real-time strategy game by DESTINYbit and Slitherine.

The game features a skirmish mode either online or against the AI, annoyingly unbalanced challenge scenarios (one or two friendly units against several enemies), a survival mode, and a brief tutorial. There is no campaign mode of scripted missions, though the randomized maps for the skirmish mode do give a lot of replay value. The six factions in the game are pleasingly varied. The interface has many shortcomings: resource locations need bigger indicators on the minimap, there is no “select all military units” button, there is no “select only military units” option while box-selecting, and there are no repeating or infinite queues. All of these issues become magnified with the fast pace of the game; the inefficient interface really hinders your ability to play without getting continually frustrated. Finite resources (food, wood, stone, and gold) mean migration is necessary in longer games. Efficient resource collection (by placing nearby storage structures) and continually increasing the population cap by constructing houses allow for quick upgrades to higher technology levels. Military units each have a specific counter, and while formations and stances are available, combat usually just devolves into a giant mass of units chasing a single enemy around the map. The AI can be a challenge as it is good at collecting resources and producing new villagers, but it usually sends only a few units at a time instead of a concentrated offensive. Empires Apart is a solid real-time strategy game with fast-paced gameplay and varied factions, but it lacks the smooth, feature-filled interface required for true excellence.