Confrontation Previews

More hands-on previews of Focus Home and Cyanide's RTS/RPG Confrontation have hit the 'net, and I figured that you'd probably want to hear about them. Ready? Here they are...

Our preview experience consisted of two early scenarios from the game and the tutorial sequence. Kicking off the campaign, you're greeted with some background into the world of Aarklash, and witness Rag'narok, the dramatically apocalyptic end of the world as you will. This is where you come into play, with you group of rag-tag heroes ready to fight back for your world, and clearly eager to stop this party of doom and gloom.

The campaign takes place through your standard RTS viewpoint, allowing overhead camera movement to control the area of view and the levels we played were presented with linear based missions but also offered opportunities to explore for any side loot or enemy patrols. As is often the case of such a conjoined story however, the heroes used throughout are locked into their skills, and how they strengthen their gear. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but more a side-effect of the RPG components, and has the added bonus of allowing player-tailored customisation.

Confrontation'˜s controls will be recognizable to anyone familiar with real-time strategy games. Scroll around a huge map, left-click and drag to select units, right-click to march them, and then another right-click to attack. The difference with Confrontation is in the scope. In the levels I played I had control of four different characters. These guys aren't the disposable, nameless grunts you're happy to use for cannon fodder though; they're persistent characters, and their growth, survival, and efficiency in battle is all up to you. The four characters' control is handled through that familiar RTS system, but their interaction as a party is thoroughly that of an RPG. I had access to a tank, mage, DPS melee guy with token giant sword, and wily rogue-like character who could switch between daggers or twin pistols.

Each character has his or her own set of abilities to activate, and it wasn't long before I became familiar with the plethora of keyboard shortcuts and was able to kick off all manner of destruction with a few deft keystrokes. Confrontation aims to challenge players to overcome each individual combat scenario by interlinking party members' strengths through meditative, tactical consideration. This can be done in real time, or after tapping the space bar to pause the action and think on it a little more, issuing commands to be carried out as soon as the action resumes. Rarely will the simple auto attack be enough, and the more thoughtful approach is the standard for most fights.

Platform Nation:
Leveling up gives your characters more skills to use, lets you improve to your attributes like strength and intelligence and sometimes your skills. Weapon and armor upgrades are found in chests throughout the game. Chests will give you a certain amount of upgrades which are shared among the group. There are different upgrades for each character's armor and weapons. You will need to decide who gets new upgrades, which weapons of theirs get upgraded and which upgrade they get. I'm sure number crunchers will love the system but as a new player without much knowledge of the game systems it was a bit overwhelming. The upgrading and leveling up felt a bit clunky at times.

Confrontation throws a lot at you. Leveling up, upgrading, buffs, debuffs, characters classes, enemies types and more. I was able to manage all those different systems and found a very fun tactical game waiting underneath.

And We Got This Covered:
My immediate reaction to Confrontation was that I was playing all four parts of a Diablo II lan party. Cyanide'˜s title has a similar isometric camera view which allows a view of your four party members as you traverse the landscape, picking fights and occasionally finding loot. Your four party members fit into your standard RPG classes (mage, support, tank and DPS) and you're going to have to use their skills to the fullest extent to survive. Luckily, the ability to pause the game and issue commands is present, otherwise some of the battles would simply be overwhelming.

Confrontation is still rough around the edges in some areas, but I imagine many of these issues can be smoothed out. The graphics don't hold up against many of the larger titles out now, but it would be a shame to pass on this simply due to that. It has the ability to be a great game, and while multiplayer wasn't available in the preview build, I can only imagine that it will add to my enjoyment of this title.