Stormrise review

Built for consoles from the ground up by Creative Assembly, Stormrise is an RTS which tries to do something different to solve the problem of not having the myriad of buttons and shortcuts available with a mouse and keyboard. You play as one of the Echelon, one faction struggling for power and dominance after your world has suffered a cataclysmic ‘event’. The other faction is the Sai and throughout the game you exchange bullets, lasers and fisticuffs with them for total dominance.

Instead of opting for the traditional wide top-down view, you get to control units from right above their heads. With a flick of the right analogue stick you can ‘whip-select’ from your commander to each unit, seeing what they see and telling them where to go or what to shoot at or defend next. To begin with, this system seems to work. It’s only when the action hots up later and you have many units to control at once that things start to fall apart.

Because there’s no real way to get a complete overview of the battle, you’re left to swap continuously between units to babysit their actions, and it’s easy to forget which icon at the edge of the screen represents each unit, resulting in more precious seconds lost in the heat of battle. You can give units basic controls when you’re not directly over them but the AI is so poor and glitchy that soldiers and vehicles can easily get stuck on walls, get into traffic jams with each other and get stuck in weird animation loops until you command them to do something else. Of course, this can lead to mission failure and a tonne of frustration.

It’s a shame that this new control system doesn’t work because the premise behind the game in this post-apocalyptic world is something which had potential. Unfortunately, even the story meanders so much it’s ultimately as confusing as the gameplay itself. You can play this multiplayer too but to be honest, I don’t think there’s going to be a massive community waiting online to play against you.

If you’re after a console RTS, get Halo Wars instead. Stormrise gets a lacklustre 4 out of 10.

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Related: Halo Wars, Warhammer Dawn of War 2, Youtube Stormrise review

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