[toggles behavior=”accordion”] [toggle title=”Minimum Specifications”]CPU : Intel i3 or equivalent GPU : NVIDIA GTX 550, AMD Radeon HD 6xxx or higher RAM : 4 GB DDR4[/toggle] [toggle title=”Recommended Specifications”]CPU : Intel i5 or equivalent GPU : NVIDIA GTX 770, AMD Radeon R9 280 RAM : 8 GB DDR4[/toggle] [toggle title=”Review Specifications”]CPU : AMD Ryzen 5 2600 GPU : GTX 1080 RAM : 16 GB DDR4[/toggle] [/toggles]
Strategy games have been my bread and butter ever since I started gaming. I have further roots into strategy than any of my classmates, who mostly were overcome by the Half Life aura prevalent during that time. One of my favorites used to be Age of Empires 2, which was easily the best game in the series. Quite a few years later, I stumbled across Warcraft 2, which changed my notions of strategy games forever. A whole universe weaved into a franchise like that – I finished off the campaigns eagerly, in search for more, ultimately moving over to Warcraft 3. Blizzard never continued the saga, sadly, when they got hold of a steady revenue stream from World of Warcraft. Years after, I stumble across Warparty, which tries to re-invent a similar universe, and base their games in it.
Story and Narrative
Warparty’s story revolves around a universe which bears an uncanny resemblance to Warcraft. Ancient humans discovered a source of power supposedly belonging to the Gods, which they called Go’n. They build artifacts and shrines, worshiping them – quickly gaining magical powers which they used to manipulate Nature herself. War broke out soon on the true purpose of this newfound power, leading to the gradual destruction of the civilization they built based on these shrines. Later, three “prophets” (or rather, leaders) – a Necromancer, a Sage and a Chieftain – want to carve out their own prophecies in the world using the magical power of the Go’n. This led to the events of Warparty, and the eventual formation of three races, each having its own distinct features.
The campaign was not a part of Early Access and was later added in by the developers just before the game came out of Early Access. The game uses the same structure as Starcraft did (which seem to be the inspiration for the game), though the theme matches that of Warcraft with its medieval tropes. Three races, each with their own distinct playstyles exist in the game, which is pretty intriguing, to say the least. However, the story uses an interconnected storyline to improve the player experience. Even the same maps are used repeatedly, which not only allows the developers to reduce the time spent on the game, it also provides a more interactive and memorable way for players to play and discover the story of each race. The endings are dependent on each race’s campaign, crowning themselves victorious in their own stories. There is no “proper” ending to the campaign – the player is free to interpret the “true” winner on their own. This is kind of disappointing, but it also allows the story to be more interactive, so having mixed feelings here as a player is perfectly natural.
The game features three main gameplay modes in its final release, though it started out only with one game mode. The Skirmish game mode was the first mode that shipped with the game and was the priority of the developers for the first phase of Early Access. Skirmish allowed players to test their mettle against other human players, as well as try their skills against the AI (which is actually quite good and provides a decent warm up before one head online).
The Survival Mode is a sort of “Horde” mode or “Zombie” mode, where waves after waves of enemies attack, and the player has to hold his own against all of them. While it sounds fun, it does become tedious after the first few waves and requires quite some planning to hold out. This is one mode where coop could have been added, but the developers decided against it for some unknown reason.
The Campaign mode allows the player to experience the story of the three races in the world as they try to survive and eliminate each other. Addition of the campaign was a pretty decent move and does seem to have brought a lot of old school RTS players back (who want to experience the story). One big (and by big, I mean really, really big) drawback is that you cannot save in the middle of a mission. You have to complete a mission at one go, or forget about it. Why should I play in such a restrictive environment? Come on.
Warparty is playable both in single player as well as in multiplayer. However, the only mode one has access to in multiplayer is Skirmish against human opponents. The game even offers a ranking system for people eager to grind their way through the leagues. One possible addition that can be considered for the future is a coop mode for Survival.
Warparty does not do anything perfectly unique to re-invent the mechanics of the strategy genre. You gather resources, build structures, train units, fight your enemies, and be done with it. That’s how you achieve victory in a real-time strategy game, and there is very little to add here, at least for people who have already played a few RTS games.
The game’s three races are unique, and offer different playstyles for the player. The Wildlanders rely on their own wits and brawn to win battles. Fighting to ensure their tribe’s survival, they are ready to take the fight to the next level. The Vithara, led by the Sage, are the wild beasts looking to fight back against man’s domination over nature, and eventually make them extinct. The Necromas, led by the Necromancer, are looking to use the power of undead to overrun every living creature, because apparently “peace is in the afterlife”. Looks similar to the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss from Starcraft? For legal reasons, they aren’t.
Each race plays distinctly different from one another. The Wildlanders mostly focus on holding their position, and occasional shifting from position to position, since their units are the most flexible. The Vithara is the hive mind, relying on relentless aggression and in the theory of numbers. The greater a Vithara horde, the more dangerous they are. The Necromas rely on a systematic play style to hold their position while pushing for more ground, their numbers increased by the undead joining them from their “prey” (which includes their enemies).
The game does have some balance issues in terms of unit and structure costs. A Vithara player has to spend much more than one playing Wildlanders or Necromas. This is because Wisps, the Worker units for the Vithara, themselves transform into buildings, meaning that one has to spend more food than usual. Also, the lack of defensive towers means that one has to spend extra resources in training units just to defend the base. Also maybe add some more variation between the Wildlanders and the Necromas (and make the Necromas a bit more unique with their “undead” ideologies?)
Structures are built by the Workers, who are trained from your Settlement. The Settlement is the nerve center for all operations of a functional base. When all Settlements are destroyed, the player is essentially dead, since they cannot train workers anymore. Without workers, one cannot do anything. For some reason, Crazy Monkey Studios have decided to cap the number of Settlements per player, which isn’t exactly the best measure “for game balancing”, especially when you’re ignoring unit balancing (more on that later). Despite the limit on the number of settlements, players are virtually allowed to construct a limitless number of resource gathering structures, which breaks the flow of the game and reduces its strategic depth.
There are three types of structures that produce units. The first tier has the basic front-line fodder for any army, be it Wildlander, Vithara or Necroma. These structures train the bulk of the force. The second structure unlocked in the second settlement tier, grants access to healers. The last structure, unlocked in the last settlement tier, unlocks the most powerful units in the game for the race.
Types of Units
Each race has four main types of units – Melee, Ranged, Siege and Worker. Workers are civilians who cannot attack (unless upgraded), Workers do a majority of the work in any base – constructing and repairing structures and gathering resources. Melee units fight at close range, while Ranged units take the fight from a distance (as the name suggests). Siege units are the most powerful units of any army, which can deal massive amounts of damage and take down even the strongest enemies.
Research and Technology
The game employs a multi-tiered tech structure, where each higher tier provides access to better upgrades and structures. Unit upgrades can be done at any structure that trains units, which upgrades all units of a particular type. Each race also has access to a particular structure where upgrades for each type of unit can be researched. Upgrades increase the effectiveness of units in battle, and a smaller but more upgraded force always performs better in battle. The main upgrade (or “advancing” to a higher tier), obviously is done from the Settlement, which in, turn, unlocks more upgrades.
The game has three main resources – food, crystal, and Go’n points, Food and crystal have deposits all over the map and need a resource drop off point constructed near them for workers to start gathering them. Farms are structures that generate food and can be worked upon by workers for generating food (which is basically an endless supply of food). Crystal can also be obtained by building special trading posts and using special trading units, which journey from the closest settlement and back, generating crystal (longer the distance, greater the amount of crystal obtained). Go’n points are obtained by capturing Go’n shrines on the map. Each race also has access to a Go’n shrine of their own, which generate Go’n points, albeit at a much slower pace (it is difficult to imitate the magic powers of the humans who discovered the Gods, after all). All resources are needed for training units, though Go’n points are also useful in casting powerful magical spells that can change the tide of a battle within an instant.
The game’s AI is where most work has been done. The AI is quite decent for an RTS game, allowing players to warm up mentally before heading online and grinding for ranks. RTS is one of the genres which would definitely suck if the AI isn’t good, and Warparty is not ready to disappoint – not yet. Relying on a balance of strategies, the AI will push for occupying Go’n shrines and expanding to more places on the map.
The only problem is that the difficulty settings do not have a very clear distinction in the play style for the AI. Variations attached to the difficulty settings should have been a thing, allowing for better players to think about more ways to counter the AI, and eventually best unusual out-of-the-box build orders in multiplayer. Why even make a difficulty settings when you cannot stick to it?
Graphics and Performance
The game does look quite pretty with its settings cranked up. Also, the draw distance is quite decent, allowing you to look at your units up close, especially when they are in combat. The shadows and depth of field are particularly impressive. One possible disappointment is that the models used in the game aren’t exactly of the best quality, which can be distracting – a bit.
The game does have some graphical glitches, especially when you are turtling, and are using your amassed forces to attack the enemy. Units may glitch out and be stuck executing their animations, which feels weird. Other than that, there is an issue with the scroll where the scroll stops for a second while spanning across a large area on the map.
Sounds and Music
The game doesn’t really innovate in the sphere of music. The soundtrack is really forgettable, and I really wish more work was done on getting them right and memorable so that the old-school fans who jump into the cart for the sake of nostalgia aren’t disappointed.
The voice acting in the game is better, especially those of the leaders. What’s funny is that Crazy Monkey Studios have integrated some interestingly unique lines which trigger only at times, and are amusing, to say the least. Seeing the Sage who’s determined to wipe out all life on the planet and make it return to its roots sing light-heartedly about how their tribe is all made of dinosaurs is definitely an adorable moment to look forward to.