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Reviewed by Jason Thompson
t seems like everyone’s jumping on the RTS console bandwagon these days. With the relative success of the “Command and Conquer” series on the Xbox 360, as well as the surprise hit, “Halo Wars," bringing up the rear, the RTS genre is looking to become the Next Big Thing for console gamers everywhere. PC purists have always maintained that RTS games are best on computers with a mouse and a keyboard, but as any developer knows, there’s even more money to be made over on the console side of the fence, so why not develop RTS titles for video game systems from the ground up? Why, indeed.
Those looking for another relative blast of success and enjoyment that they may have found in “Halo Wars” will be sorely searching for the same thing in Sega’s “Stormrise.” Once again, we’re saddled with a story of a post-apocalyptic future where forces of evil have threatened to wipe out humanity’s existence for good. Players will find themselves behind the eyes (in third-person mode) of a same-old, same-old hero awoken from a deep sleep à la Master Chief to help save the day and the universe from utter destruction. There’s nothing new under the sun here.
Nothing except for the touted “whip system” that allows players to shift action on the fly amongst their troops in an attempt to control the chaos in, well, a strategic fashion. As a whole, this system works rather flawlessly, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table – being less a real help to winning battles and more just a tool of convenience. So in theory, while you’re leading one set of troops over a hill to wreak havoc on some baddies, another group can be scouting out other hot zones, holding down the fort, or what have you. Yes, it is indeed the same crap we’ve been doing with a mouse and keyboard for ages now.
So while the graphics are shiny enough, and the action is mundane and engaging in the lowest amounts to get someone to play this game for 30 minutes or so, “Stormrise” doesn’t really manage to do anything we haven’t seen countless other times. Take troops, send them into battle, destroy evil factions, repeat. The problem is there just isn’t anything about this game or its story that makes it feel even remotely necessary to experience. As far as RTS games go, this one’s about as ho-hum as it can get.
Newcomers may find it to be slightly enjoyable at first, but old vets and those willing to invest more than a day into this game will find that there’s nothing here to keep coming back for. The enemies are predictable, the cast of characters are played out beyond any sense of originality, and the gameplay is static at best – and at times riddled with glitches and bugs here and there. Those looking to experience an RTS on their video game console of choice can certainly do far, far better than “Stormrise.” I’m sure everyone behind this thing had only their best intentions in mind, but they really needn’t have bothered. Stick to the far better “Halo Wars” or the aforementioned “Command and Conquer” titles currently available for the console market to get a far better idea of what can be done with this genre when it escapes its desktop computer confines.