About as standard as standard gets
RTS’s have been pretty ignored in recent years, for those of you who love to get your generals cap on, sit in front of a computer and march your little troops to death and glory, you would have had to settle for either Sega’s Total War series, which is tipping to more grand strategy, or Dawn of war 2/Command and conquer 4.
Now, the latter have had many complaints, mainly because of how much they deviated from the standard RTS formula, DoW saw the loss of a main base in campaign, and multiplayer, and with CaC4 radically new system, many long term fans of RTS’s were left feeling that the genre had suddenly exploded into different areas.
So I find it highly ironic that with the release of Tryst, an RTS as pure as it can go, with minor upgrades that the majority of people are complaining again, that this game is TOO normal, and follows what an RTS does too well! Sometimes I don’t understand these things.
Tryst is as RTS as the original Dune was in the early 90’s, you have your base back as well for those of you who felt homeless in newer RTS’s, you can upgrade your buildings to build new units, your HQ is always the longest and most expensive, but the quickest route to the end game units, now if you are a fan of the old or even new StarCraft, and Warcraft games, you will notice similarity’s to them both, being a little portrait of the character you selected, but to get your currency, we have Energy and Ore, you get one of each to start off with, and there are more around the map, and always come in pairs, now this is where one of the nice additions to the game comes in, multiplayer has definitely been in mind for this, as each of these extra income stations can be captured by you and your partner so both will gain resources, this is a massive oversight in other RTS’s and actually means you can work WITH your teammates instead of fighting for the usually small amount of resources that are usually available. Though most of the maps are pretty standard, all are square, pretty small, and mostly uneventful and forgettable at best, hazards surround some stations, though you can’t just zerg rush your way to victory, you have a population cap, which is increased by houses of 100, most units will always take more than 1 up, such as later game units taking up nearly 20 on their own, but this lends the game some balance that older RTS’s did not have, you have to think about what your using to attack but also to defend, sending your whole army out at once will leave your base very open, aside from some turret defences you can build to protect it.
The story of tryst is pretty unoriginal, Humanity is running out of fuel, finds a planet with a magical Ore, and suddenly fuels the whole of the human race, alien race want ore, time to settle this with fisty cuffs, now most of this story is laid out as soon as the game is on, and lets you watch three short cinematic that lay out the backstory of the game, it’s a nice touch, but when a game first boots my priority is usually to get it at my native resolution, watching these videos at 1024×800 as default is a little annoying , I guess you guys still rocking your CRT’s will be right at home here. The campaign is rather short, offering 5 missions to advance the story, about the alien race Zali trying to force the humans off the planet, and a struggle to keep people alive, though the first mission is a little too similar to that first mission from StarCraft 2, maybe a coincidence but a lot of this game’s form is similar to blizzards hit RTS, though the campaign feels like a overly stretched tutorial, it teaches the games mechanics well, but most importantly, it will get the players into the multiplayer, which is what the developers are hoping for.
With a single player Skirmish mode, and online multiplayer for those desktop generals there is enough here to justify the price of the game, gameplay is just what has been come to be expected now of RTS’s face, judgement calls unit movements and building all need to be done extremely quickly, the game has the standard hot keys for those who love to memorize them, and speed up gameplay, though as someone who prefers to play a more defensive style, this game doesn’t really allow that, after playing a few rounds in skirmish, its attack fast and hard constantly, or you will be quickly over run, while turrets do significant damage to the opposition, the high cost of them stops them being something to rely upon, and more to have if you have the resources going spare.
Now, whilst everything else in tryst has played like the RTS bible word for word, the game does introduce some interesting mechanics for units. Each unit can be levelled up, giving more damage and the standard for each level, but as the unit levels as a whole you can equip “Perks” for each of the around 14 units per race, now at first glance this is an interesting take on designing how your troops can be used, but with only two “trees” its still very limited, usually to either 4% increase in rockets or Unit can move 5% faster. Mostly its Offence or Defence, apart from support classes like the medic, then it changes to Can heal 4% faster, or takes less damage, now whilst this is something new, at the end of the day 4% isn’t something that is going to turn the tide of a battle, its nice to have, and its nice to know your unit is packing a slightly higher punch, but if your opposition chooses the same upgrade, its pointless, and seeing as there is a 50-50 chance of that happening, its makes you wonder if it was even worth the effort to introduce this feature.
The rest of the design of the game is nothing to shout home about, graphics look good, everything is clear what they are, there is an option to have a more cartoony cell shaded look, though this toggle is nice for those who don’t like the cell shaded design of some games, sound is nice but again standard, mostly gun shots and screams, or the annoying reply of your troops with every movement click on the ground, seeing as each character only has four things to say for each movement, you will constantly be hearing your mercs screaming, “Anyone got my six?” enough times within one match to drive you insane.
For an indie title, the usual flavour is interesting mechanics that big companies just don’t want to risk trying to do, and brand new ideas that give a very nice feeling when playing it, so to play a by the book RTS like this made as an indie title, it feels a little strange and hollow, with the low number of multiplayer maps as well, I’m left wondering and a little worried that this developer is looking to go the DLC route, slap on the £20 price tag, and I’m left wondering just who the developers are aiming this game too, its too standard and by the book to appeal to fans of the genre, and too expensive for people who are interested in it to take the risk, for £5 extra you can purchase every Command and conquer game over at Origin, so this price point seems a little over the top in my opinion, and I think the price will turn more people away than the gameplay.
It’s a solid title, and as any RTS game will be great fun on multiplayer, with 8 way multiplayer and a community strong enough to find games, it may find a niche in the market and find its own small community , if you need to calm your RTS nerves, and are after a game that offers quick fast paced matches, Tryst is right up your street, but if your expecting something to get fully into, you might be a little disappointed.
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.