“It’s the end of the world as we know it
and I feel fine”
INTRODUCTION (OR A SORT OF…)
When I was young (I mean REALLY young and not “young” like now), Terminator was one of the most iconic movies of my childhood. Made at a time when James Cameron was still able to produce great movies but with poor special effects. A feat that he managed to reverse with a spate of poor movies made with great special effects. But that’s another story.
Back then when I just a teen the idea of humanity on the run in a world dominated by sentient robots was so damned cool. A notion that made it possible to imagine oneself as the muscled chosen one. Even though at that time, I had far more bone mass than muscles. Perhaps the cornerstone of that success was the need to demonstrate that we, the humans, could always be superior to our creations. The difference being humanity’s courage and heart. Whatever the reason, Terminator became a clique of a dichotomic way of thinking: machines against muscles, heart against binary thinking.
Anyone wondering how this introduction and chit-chat relate to Rise of Humanity (RoH) will find clarity the first time the game they launch the game. For it almost impossible not to think to Sarah Connor and her “beloved” T-800. You can almost hear Schwarzenegger saying those immortal words “I’LL BE BACK” (maybe the best line he delivered from his eighteen movies!)
Not necessarily a bad thing, I mean, especially when it makes you feel like going home.
IT ISN’T WHERE YOU CAME FROM, IT’S WHERE YOU’RE GOING THAT COUNTS
So what exactly is Rise of Humanity? Well, we can safely say that it is a potentially interesting mix between a tactical turn-based RPG and a deck builder. Set as you may have guessed in a post-apocalyptic world, where humans are on the brick of extinction. The story currently remains vague and we only know that you start as a misfit trying to survive. Meeting along the way many intriguing survivors. Slowly you begin to understand that humans can and must do, in order to “just” survive. They must rise to defeat the cause of their downfall, a rogue AI!
The whole story is narrated through static dialogues between the main characters. Providing the chance to learn more about their motivation and what their goals are, as the game progresses.
SHOOT FIRST AND ASK QUESTIONS AFTERWARDS
When it comes to gameplay RoH is not a simple card-battler. It’s true that it has cards and somehow (and sometimes) it plays like a deck-builder, but at its core it plays more like a tactical turn-based RPG.
Like many other games of this genre there is a hub, in the form of an amusement park. Here you are able to upgrade your characters, skills, and deck. Nothing new in this regard but everything is very simple and clear, without unnecessary complications. When you feel ready to proceed you can choose a mission. The game is designed to be straightforward, only limiting the choice of available main and side quests. Requiring players to pick their preferred mission and be as well-prepared for it as they can be.
As well as receiving a primary objective additional character-specific battle goals are obtained. This adds some additional challenge for instance moving to certain tiles or using the restorative health spray three times during an encounter. During the mission a certain amount of movement and action points can be spent each turn. Killing a damned robot provides the opportunity to “loot” it by picking up an additional card.
As well as the main mode of the game (aka the single-player campaign) there is an alternate mode for those who enjoy an original, alternate mode. This enables the playing of competitive, ranked daily challenges, where community members face off against each other. Their sole aim, to attain the highest score on the leaderboard!
Assuredly whatever mode you choose, the tearing apart uber robots can be alot of fun in a tactical turn-based game!
DON’T TRUST OF THOSE FISHY TEDDY BEARS
So now let’s talk about cards.
With regards to cards each character has their own deck and specific job-related cards. This means that healers have the option to restore health in many ways. Engineers on the contrary have the possibility to deploy turrets or mobile explosives. A feature that introduces a strategic component even before combat starts.
From the onset it is crucial to wisely choose which characters to add to your team. By considering the type of mission is being undertaken and what enemies are likely be fought. Generally speaking no “class” is better than any other. How well they do in combat largely depends on the choices made.
For some reason the developers decided to buck the trend of card-battlers by not previewing what their adversaries are about to do. Something that I really didn’t like about the strategic section of combat in Rise of Humanity. This feature may feel like a crutch, but on a practical level it works well and it’s a pity this feature remains unimplemented. In addition to the classical active cards, some “passive” cards could be automatically played during the opponent’s turn. Cards such as: blocking, evading, or even drawing extra cards when characters were damaged.
One last notable issue was the apparent lack of synergy among cards. Even if combat remains deep and fun, what seems to be missing is a greater chance to combine cards. Possibly even between characters for a more powerful effect. Giving players more satisfying options.
Rise of Humanity really impressed me. It is a stunning visual tactical turn-based RPG with a good card-based combat system. The only downsides I found were its too straightforward gameplay and a slight lack of synergy among its cards. Apart from that I’m quite confident it will be a great game!