Description: An RTS that feels a bit like controlling all four characters in a multiplayer game of Diablo.
Conveniences: The story is largely delivered through voiced text boxes that appear between missions. Although these pop-ups block some of the navigation, they still allow the player to access the inventory and level up individual units.
Annoyances: Pathfinding attempts to automatically position units in cover, and previews their destinations with coloured indicators. However, it also tends to position units on both sides of cover, often leaving parts of the squad completely exposed.
Standouts: A combination of mechanics from various genres help to enhance the single-player RTS template.
- As the game opens up, the player can choose the order in which to pursue missions, as well as take on optional ones. Ignoring any area for too long, though, causes its “infestation level” to grow, resulting in more Tyranid troops occupying its maps.
- There’s no way to immediately replay a map — the player needs to wait for a mission to appear in each section in order to go into the field — although it’s possible to replay a mission if it’s failed or the player manually exits it. Abandoning or failing a mission let’s the player keep all the gear and experience, but it also increases the game-clock (and consequently the infestation levels).
- Most maps contain landmarks that — if captured — increase the use of three different abilities: temporary invincibility, turret deployment, and orbital bombardment. It’s a bit annoying that only one landmark can be secured in a single mission even if there are more on the map itself, but these locations also grant bonuses to mission scores; a high enough score allows for more mission deployments in a single turn/day.
- Unlike most RTS titles, there’s no building or resource gathering.
- The player is limited to controlling 4 different “squads,” each one composed of 1-4 identical units that specialize in unique abilities: stealth, teleportation, concentrated fire, etc.
- Most squads automatically recover health, although items need to be used in order to repair turrets and largely mechanical units.
- Downed squads can be rejuvenated by walking up to them or using an item while in close proximity. Only the leaders of the squads are brought back, though, and the remaining units have to be replenished at checkpoints or through a limited ability acquired late in the game.
- Virtually all cover is destructible, and some of the bigger squads can’t take advantage of it as they simply break it.
- Buildings can be entered and used as cover as well, but it’s still possible for squads to die within buildings — this makes it rather difficult to rejuvenate them manually. If a building is destroyed all the units within die as well, and evacuating a building causes all the contained squads to exit it simultaneously.
- Suppression fire causes units to move and react at a greatly reduced pace, although various abilities can guard against or dispel this state.
- Unlike the original DoW, morale only seems to apply to AI units. Breaking morale causes them to panic and run away from battle.
- Usable items such as grenades and medkits have a limited amount of uses, but generic supply packs replenish them for all available squads.
- Enemies — especially bosses — drop random gear. Much like a typical loot-driven game, these items are colour-coded, contain minimum level/class requirements, and provide numerous benefits. If the loot is not desired, most of it can be traded in for extra experience in-between missions.