Achron for the PC, published by Hazardous Software is a game based around time travel. For most people, when it comes to time travel, you think of titles like the Back to the Future franchise (released this year) or the games Blinx and TimeShift. Timeshift and Blinx treat the premise of time travel as you would a VCR by pausing rewinding and fast-forwarding the game without dealing with the consequences of alternative time line and paradoxes.
Achron is a completely different style of game that turns the entire time travel experience into a fully realized concept that opens doors to new possibilities and strategies. The game allows the player the ability to control past and future commands simultaneously, causing paradoxes, knock-on effects and the upper hand in battle. What is even more intriguing is that this concept is available in single and multiplayer mode.
Achron is a RTS game based in the distant future of the 37th century. The Starship Commander Captain Holloway leads a troop of humans on a mission to fend off an alien invasion across 30 levels. The game is typical of most RTS games; creating buildings and armies, exploration of the map to acquire resources and mounting an assault on the enemy, which in this case is one of three species each boasting a different style of play.
Campaign mode tells you the story of the human race exploring the deep reaches of space. During their exploration they are faced with an enemy that seems to be unstoppable at first; that is until scientists stumble on new technology that allows you not only to teleport units spatially, but to also chronoport them through time. Now equipped with this new found technology, it is your job as Commander Holloway to lead your marines to victory against an enemy who seeks to ultimately destroy you. Your main objective through the levels is to keep Captain Halloway alive.
When first playing the single player campaign you might feel that the game play is incredibly slow, this is completely understandable when you think that Hazardous Software are introducing an entirely new concept to gaming. You will realise that this slow introduction is necessary in order to prevent a steep learning curve for new RTS players. The time travelling mechanic can be accessed at any point during the game providing you have enough chrono-energy available. This is displayed in a bar on top of the HUD. This feature allows the players to replay certain scenarios to avoid ambushes and obstacles that you have recently been caught up in. It also allows for other cool features, such as the ability to send in reinforcements to help clear out enemy strongholds from that past.
There are times when you will feel that you cannot lose because of the time manipulation skills, but this is compensated with the developers making your allies self-centred and self-preserving.
Starcraft finally have some competition in the RTS genre when it comes to the multiplayer mode on Achron. Multiplayer mode is known as the make or break in RTS games and Hazardous Software has delivered a winner when it comes to multiplayer games. This mode is played online so you can team up with friends or choose to compete against them.
When you first start out on the multiplayer map you will only come across one learning curve, which is learning the new names of some traditional units that appear in all RTS games, like the resource collecting unit, etc. This could take you some time. Don’t be put off by the time you spend on this as it can take as long as 45 minutes to nail it.
When you feel that you have enough of an army built up, you can then proceed to attack your opponents. I underestimated my enemy and soon found out that they had vast amount of forces built up and proceeded to destroy me. This would have ended the match quickly in most RTS games but with the new ability to chronoport my fate was not seal yet. I commanded my forces to move back in time and prevented my assault on the enemy in doing so my forces could grow and continue and the match played out longer.
Using this too often through the game play can result in you thinking you are gaining more units as you are moving them back in time, so it will appear as though all your units are doubled. Don’t be misled by this as any of the doubling units will soon start disappearing. This is one glitch in the game that appears when travelling back in time.
Graphics / Audio
The graphics for this game are very high quality ok, but know where near the quility of other RS games on the market
The soundtrack to this game is an excellent choice by the developers as it blends in brilliantly with the games theme and genre.
Overall this is game is a must buy for anyone who is extremely interested in the RTS genre. If you are new to the RTS game genre then it is recommended to make sure you carry out thorough research on the game before buying as you might find that the game looks good but is more challenging than expected.
Disclaimer: All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.