Hands on Preview: Confrontation (PC)

For those of you who love tactical RPG’s that combine the feeling of Diablo and Warhammer, your opus may have just arrived.  Confrontation, a tactical RPG developed by Cyanide Studios, brings you directly into the fantasy universe of Aarklash.  It is here that a fierce campaign is waged between the heroic Griffin faction, the insidious Scorpion faction, the ferocious Wolf faction and the brutish Jackal faction.  Each battle will have new challenges that require you to carefully select your units, their weapons and their skills in order to ensure you come out alive.  The storyline is an epic one, crafted similarly to the Warhammer 40k games in both narration and plot.  When you add in detailed graphics and lively effects, Confrontation becomes a game that simply cannot be quit until you beat the game or at least finish the next chapter.

The first thing I noticed once I was in the game preview is that Confrontation has an army painter option.  I was very happy to see this option because nothing adds ‘personal’ to a game like being able to customize your own units.  It is one of the strong points from table top gaming and since Confrontation is based off of a table top game, I am glad to see the option was included.  Enough about painting though.  Upon launching the game you are thrown into an introduction that sets the stage for the game.  It is at this point that you are introduced to your hero, a warrior named Darius.  Darius and his elite squad of Griffin soldiers have set out to counter the maniacal Scorpion faction and give the Griffins the upper hand.  You start off with a fairly small squad and fairly limited powers but as the game progresses, your squad will become an army and your arsenal of powers will be vast.   Luckily, Confrontation eases you into the gameplay by providing a step-by-step tutorial of basic controls and game functions.  Not that any of that matters because you will be too busy looking around at the detailed environment and trying to find another enemy to fight so you can zoom in and watch the combat unfold.  The game is played in real-time and the controls are relatively basic as well; click to move, click to attack, mouse wheel to move the camera and hot keys to use skills.  This makes the combat simplistic in mechanics, allowing you to worry about what is important; tactics.

One feature the game has that adds to tactical aspect of it is that your character can switch between weapons at any time in the game.  For example, the Griffin “thallion” Lanwys, can switch between a melee weapon set and a ranged weapon set, changing his role in the squad significantly.  Additionally, squad members possess varying skills that dictate their role.  The pyromancer Zelia utilizes ranged spells, both individual and area of effect (AOE), that make her much more of a support role rather than a direct combat role.  As such, it is a good idea in battle to keep her away from the frontlines.  Customizing the strengths and learning the weaknesses of your squad are all crucial to your missions success in Confrontation.

There were a few issues that drew my ire though, and hope are improved in the final version of the game.  First, if you are playing this game, do not do it on a laptop unless the “f1, f2” keys are primary and things like screen dimming are secondary.  This is not the case on mine and as such having to hit “function” and the respective “F” key got old.  While this is in no way the fault of the game, it is a precautionary warning to those who may suffer as I did.  Another thing that could use work is the AI intelligence.  All too often the AI would get caught up on objects in the environment or on each other, which is especially frustrating in battle.  What good is a tank when he keeps running into his own teammate that is getting hacked up?  Lastly, while the overall story is great, the two missions I was able to test in the preview build seemed relatively dull and repetitive.  It lacked an overall suspense that would make you want to drive your squad forward through the level.

Overall though, the preview of Confrontation was quite enjoyable.  Those who enjoy the story of table top gaming combined with the kind of gameplay you find in Diablo will likely find Confrontation a must have.  The graphics, tactics and overall storyline make a compelling case for those deciding whether to purchase the game. Confrontation will be released for PC on April 5th

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