Friday, 20 February 2015

Servitor's Gaming Hub: Horus Heresy Drop Assault

Welcome, Lord Commander.

Servitor +100101101011+ report.

Unit +100101101011+ is commissioned to report on strategic training modules accessible through the logic engines of its commanders.

Initiating: Game Review sequence...

It is the 31st Millennium, and the Warmaster Horus has played his hand. The few marines within the traitor legions of the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Sons of Horus and the Death Guard who remain loyal to the Emperor make their stand on the scorched world of Isstvan III...

Thus begins the game. Are you loyal to the Emperor, a champion of the Imperial Truth; or do you side with your Primarch, he whose blood courses through your veins? 

You have four Legions to choose from: World Eaters, Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children or Death Guard. Each Legion has their own innate ability, whether it's increased speed, or heightened toughness. There aren't any other races to choose from, but the marines in-game are faithfully recreated. They all bear their Legion colours over the MKIII power armour that was the hallmark of the Heresy era of the Warhammer 40k history. 

Horus Heresy: Drop Assault is a tower defence MMORTS in the same style as Boom Beach or Clash of Clans. You build a base with a power station and munitions factory, as well as various other buildings that give you benefits and unlock areas on the map. You then build automated weapons platforms that will defend your base from any would-be attackers. Players are encouraged to attack each other's bases with the promise of munitions and power reserves to be plundered from the enemy. Within the game, you can then form Chapters, based on your allegiance (loyalist or traitor). The chapter can have up to 50 players, who all contribute to the Glory of the Chapter, which will determine its standing on the global leader boards. 

As you progress, upgrading your HQ and buildings, you unlock more powerful turrets: heavy bolters, lascannons, flamers and mortars, just to name a few. You also unlock more troops. You start the game with your basic MKIII-clad Tactical Marine. Then you unlock Terminator units, and Jet-Bikes, all the way up to tanks like the Predator and flyers such as the Raptor. 

As well as turrets and troops, you can unlock support weapons like the Orbital Bombardment or eventually call on the awesome power of a Reaver Titan. 

This game differentiates itself in two important ways from other MMORTS device games. It is skinned with a very grimdark 40k feel that is quite satisfying to fans of the series. But it also offers a Player v Player skirmish mini game. This is a fun little game of Domination: three capture points in the middle of the map, with a deployment zone for each force. You then deploy your troops to capture objectives, while destroying the enemy army. You can also deploy Support Weapons such as the brutal Life Eater virus. The Skirmish mode is what will determine your Glory and push your chapter up the Leader Boards.

Yeah, and?

All in all, I have to say that I really rate this game. I got sucked into Boom Beach in a big way, so it's no surprise that this game has similarly sucked me in. You start small, learning the ropes with the few key units, but the levelling system is pretty organic. As you upgrade your buildings and troops, you level up and then unlock bigger and better weapons to vanquish your foes.

The presentation is really nice too. As a big fan of the Heresy and as someone with a major nerd-boner for Space Marines, this game really ticks the box. I loved Dawn of War because it let me control my Marines in real-time in a way that the table-top game could never allow. This game is the same thing, it is nicely animated, the Terminators' claws crackling with energy as they hack their way through the enemy's defences is just one example. It's also a faithful representation of the universe. You can complain all you like about GW being anal with their Intellectual Property, but the one trade off is that any one who uses that IP invariably ends up doing it well, because GW is there with the Bolt Pistol to their head if they stuff it up. 

The gameplay is nice too. Honestly this is the most important part of any game, but if they'd stuffed this it would have been the biggest waste of time in all history. And also the laziest effort ever. All you have to do is watch TV past 11pm to see just how many of these tower defence MMORTS games there are for your devices. If you can't copy and paste one of their formulae and get it right, you should probably hang up your coding gloves and become a truck driver. 

Thankfully, CROOZ (the devs) managed to not be shit-hacks, and actually did a great job. The addition of the PvP element was a major goal in my book. It's a bit boring in the early stages of the game, just throwing a unit of terminators up against another unit of terminators, but I think later on with the addition of tanks and dreadnoughts, it will be a lot of fun. This was really a stroke of genius. This game is aimed at 40k (30k) fans. We've all got the armies and have played it on the table-top, and now we can do it in real-time over the web with this game. This plays into what we already love, and allows us to do it without having to break the bank and piss off our significant others by buying more damned Space Marines. Hopefully the devs will add a patch that can work a cover system or some different mission types into the game later on. I can see the simple Domination mission wearing thin over a while. 

In conclusion: this game is a good one. It plays well, it looks nice and it's faithful to the look and feel of the 30k Universe. I think having Angron of all the Primarchs showing you through the tutorial is a bit odd, I never imagined him getting further than a grunt before smashing something. I also am a bit sad that there are only four legions to choose from, with both Loyalist and Traitors having the same options. I think setting it on Isstvan V would have been better, as the choice of faction would actually mean something, rather than just making PvP match-ups easier for the game. But these are small gripes that I can understand and move past. 

It's free to play and is available on iOS and Android. 

I give it 4 cracked screens out of 5. 

Have you played Drop Assault? What did you think?
Should I do more game reviews?

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