Sunday, 22 May 2016

Battle Worlds: Kronos

Hex-based real-time strategy games had its prime in the 90s but with all old things that had it's time in the sun, a comeback is always other cards, leathered and ready. With the fact that there are very few RTS games on this current generation of consoles, it's nice to finally see something come to it, even if it has it's glaring flaws. 

Out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and developed by KING Art Games, Battle Worlds: Kronos is a turn-based strategy game played out on a 2D hexagonal plane. This means there is no real micromanagement, base-building or any real resource gathering of any sort. This means you can jump straight into battle with the units available to you and play through the 13 mission campaign.  Storywise it's rather interesting actually. The emperor has died and three fronts are trying to win a war to gain control as is tradition in the world. The stakes are raised here as advancements in technology mean that immortality is within reach meaning the length of time someone will be in charge will be far longer than any time before that.

The story is drawn out during the campaign in very long and sometimes dull walls of text as you play through the missions. This can hinder the process of getting through the game and the temptation of skipping scenes become too strong to resist. The campaign though falls into save spamming. Right from the beginning the game urges you that it's not easy and there are no difficulty levels. In an attempt to sound unforgiving and ruthless in the way a school kid pushes down the girl he likes just to get attention, the difficulty of the game got my attention but for the wrong reasons. It doesn't feel that challenging; Instead falling into the realm of cheap. I saved after almost every turn as the enemy is better armed and outnumbered my team for the most part.

As you use your units and defeat enemy units, you will rank up but the sheer fact that you're outnumbered means that you'll have to try different strategies and save every time something works regardless of ranking up. Think of it like cheesing the game by grating away each turn, getting an enemy or two at a time and if something goes wrong, reload. As you may imagine this isn't a very fun way to play the game. Due to the lack of difficulty levels, this was my experience. I mean, I died on the tutorial level, multiple times! I don't suck at games but it explains things so poorly that it was a while before I started to understand things better and which way I should play my units. When it all clicked it was fun but still ruthless and unfair.

Seeing your units rank up as well as understand the right attack patterns is satisfying but even if you set things up right, the enemy can rush you in much bigger numbers and you'll never stand a chance. When a game wants to be punishing and a true challenge, make things even. Make it seem like it's down to skill only but when the enemy always has more, you'll always be on the back foot complaining about the uphill battle. It's a visually OK game, nothing to write home about. It's simple gameplay means it's easier to jump into compared to other RTS games out there but the crushing difficulty coupled with poorly explained mechanics mean that I never could fully enjoy Battle Worlds: Kronos but simply tolerate it for as much as I could.

Fun, simplified strategy hampered by crushing difficulty. 3/5.


Jason Redmond

Battle Worlds: Kronos  at CeX

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