When I first saw the descriptions of SunAge this was a game that I wanted to like
When I first saw the descriptions of SunAge this was a game that I wanted to like. There were comparisons to StarCraft, harkening back to the 2D heyday of RTS and as one that enjoyed StarCraft, I'm chomping at the bit for SCII, I was excited. Unfortunately my excitement was poorly placed and I felt like I'd been given a half completed game that had all the potential of being cool, but never reached that potential. I suspect I'm happy that I got a later version of the game which is already up to patch 1.05 and I downloaded 1.06 later, but even these patches didn't save the experience for me.
SunAge begins by introducing a back story that was all right, but pretty standard fare. Futuristic Earth in which resources and population have been decimated and humanity dwells in a fortress of their own. Outside forces, in this case mutants called Raak-Zun hate the human populace and have murder, mayhem and taking over of the planet in mind. These mutilated seekers of human destruction briefly reminded me of the Reavers from Joss Whedon's Serenity, but it didn't last for long.
As tired as this backstory may sound I was still upbeat about it. Sometimes an old story presented in a new way is exactly what you're looking for. Then the voice over telling the story began and I nearly pulled my head phones out of my computer. I'm not sure what they did to the poor voice actor who had to read these scripts, but whatever it was resulted in abject boredom, and I just really wanted him to hush and let me read the script all by myself. He never did. The background music is okay, and the responses from the various units no better or worse than the average. I liked the game better with the sound turned way down.
Graphically this 2D did show some innovation. There were some neat fog effects and some very obvious upgrades as compared with their 1990's brethren. Lines were cleaner, much less pixilated and the animations were much smoother than what I've typically seen. However, there was nothing that really caught the attention as being stellar and sometimes the lighting made it very difficult to see where I was supposed to be going or what I was defending. So, all in all, firmly in the average camp.
The actual game play of SunAge was a mixed bag for me. There were things that I really loved, for instance the coordination of attacking and setting up preferred targets for various units. It was very straight forward and allowed for assigning units with particular strengths to focus on enemies with a particular weakness, making it much easier to take out heavy tanks or base reinforcements. That said, actually having the troops follow through on these things didn't always happen. The pathing broke a lot on me and I found often that I had to go back and hand hold my troops to get them where they belonged.
The tutorial is sometimes helpful, but often gives either too much guidance or not enough, leaving you clicking around to try to discover the next objective. There were also times when the game would take over my control without telling me that's what it was doing, so I'm flying over the enemy troops who are blasting me and watching my life drop, but I can't do anything about it. That was a lesson in frustration. The 0-9 key assignments for units was hit and miss at best, sometimes working brilliantly and other times my troops scattered to the four winds getting themselves killed while I cursed at them and tried to click them all back into a box. This was added to when many of my save games turned out to be corrupted files and I had to ditch them and start over again between gaming sessions.
There are a nice variety of maps available, though I was wishing for a free play option, and the multiplayer is acceptable. I tried it on my home LAN and there were some struggles in getting the computers to both see the game, but after that it was smooth and I could see it being very fun with a larger than two group.
All in all this is a game that I still feel has potential. All the right aspects are there, but the spit and polish is missing the spit. Checking out their website the team seems really dedicated to patching and providing additional content, which may put a longer tail on this game, but as is I still remain in the average camp. I don’t want those days of my life back, but nor am I chomping at the bit for more.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Getting a coordinated attack to…ya know…coordinate!