Preview: Act of Aggression

Written by Jake Tucker

August 12, 2015 | 15:16

Tags: #military #rts #strategy #war

Companies: #focus #focus-home-interactive

Preview: Act of Aggression  Act of Aggression

One way to lighten the financial strain is to capture enemy soldiers. The most interesting mechanic in the game involves prisoners of war. There’s a chance that during combat enemy combatants will become wounded. You can capture these soldiers using your own infantry to turn them into POW’s. Your POW’s will generate money but can also be exchanged for a one-off bonus of aluminium or rare earth materials. I loved this because it meant infantry were still relevant even in the late game, but also because with enough prisoners you can pretty much stop worrying about ferrying oil to your base or fighting for control of the banks littered the map, which also generate you money for inhabiting them.

The WarGame series was always blessed with a good community and it seems like it’s carried over to Act of Aggression too, with many players being good sports even when my idiocy cost our team game after game. There’s no campaign mode right now so I'm having to get my fix in single player skirmishes or when I'm feeling brave, a larger multiplayer battle.

Preview: Act of Aggression  Act of Aggression

Eugen are planning to include 2 separate campaigns with their own distinct storyline but with a little under a month to go before release the fact it hasn't offered up any information on that aspect of the game is daunting.

I’m content to gloss over it though because despite the handful of maps available in the beta, I’m really digging the skirmishes against the AI - they’re smart, but not borderline omnipotent like many RTS AI opponents. The normal-difficulty enemy is more than a match for me and it isn’t my first time clicking tiny units to send them into battle. I dread to see what a hard difficulty enemy would do to my inferior tactical abilities.

Preview: Act of Aggression  Act of Aggression

Of course, I wouldn’t mind too much, because at least the resulting slaughter would be pretty. Missiles whistle out of buildings and helicopters belch smoke and tumble from the sky with surprisingly regularity and every single one is like a fireworks show just for you. When my bomber was blasted out of the sky I was sad, but then I saw a fire start in one of the engines and watched it pirouette gracefully from the sky. Global war may never look this good again.

The only flaws I can really find with it right now are that the opening few battles are terribly signposted, and you're turned loose on a confusing and complicated tech tree. Couple this with a lack of feedback and you may never know why you’re losing skirmishes and by the time you’ve locked it down you’ve lost.

But you learn. There’s 3 separate factions and just a handful of maps in the beta currently available, so you learn fast about the different tips and tricks available to each faction. I’d never advise pre-ordering a game just to get early access to a beta and I won’t start now, but Act of Aggression is definitely a game to watch.

If Eugen can deliver on the promise shown, this could be the strategy game of the year.
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