Stormrise - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Stormrise
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Creative Assembly
Publisher: SEGA
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     
If anyone would be able to create a Real Time Strategy experience that interested the ever-elusive console crowd, the safe money would be on Creative Assembly. The UK based developer, famous for the Total War series has built a reputation on delivering immersive, detailed RTS titles. The next logical step would seemingly be to create a game that delivers that experience to a wider audience.

Stormrise is not that game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it’s a bad title – the developers just seem to have taken too big of a step forward at once. Though the innovation is welcome, it comes seemingly at the expense of the company’s trademarked depth and production values.

Creative Assembly’s attempts to reform the RTS genre start with completely changing the way the player views the action. The traditional over-head camera has been replaced with a much lower view that focuses on whatever unit you’re controlling at the time. The change places the players much closer to the action, and in essence feels more like a shooter than an RTS. Though the option is available to switch back the traditional “God’s Eye View”, but it seems to be thrown in merely for those who can’t adjust to the change.

"...you never really get engulfed in the story..."

 
   

Undoubtedly, the biggest change in Stormrise is the way the action itself is presented. Dubbed “Whip Select,” it allows players to switch between units or targets much more fluidly. On the console front, it works well (it’s mapped directly to the thumbsticks for ease), in fact it’s probably as close as we’ll get this generation to emulating the much more fluid and comfortable keyboard and mouse setup. Sadly, the new system doesn’t translate well to the PC version, as RTS loyalists will find themselves longing for the traditional controls.

Stormrise also suffers from an incredible lack of depth and originality. Putting you in the middle of a war between a group of human climate control experiment survivors and a race of tentacled humanoids known only as Sai, you never really get engulfed in the story – in fact you’ll forget it’s there more often than not. It’s never really explained as to why the two factions are fighting – it’s like we’re just meant to assume that the Sai are just being evil for the sake of being evil (just picture them wearing bowler hats and twirling handlebar mustaches – it helps). Playing through the in-game tutorial does help explain a bit of the story, but before long you’ll be scratching your head.

Visually, Stormrise is a paint-by-number clone of nearly every apocalyptic game before it.  There are the normal broken buildings, charred piles of rubble and of course – more than enough grays and browns. For a game that’s supposed to be experienced on a more close-up level than others in the genre, the visuals in Stormrise are incredibly disappointing.  The character models are unpolished, and the animations are just plain dull. It must be said though that the level design, which features multiple vertical levels to wage war on is refreshingly interesting.

"...you’re more than likely going to send a fleet or two in the wrong direction."

 
   

The visual problems aren’t merely an aesthetic concern – it leads to functionality problems as well.  Since at a distance, most of the squads, whether yours or of the enemy variety look the same, you’re more than likely going to send a fleet or two in the wrong direction. You’ll have to rely heavily on the onscreen map, but even that can fail at times.

Truly, the most disappointing aspect of Stormrise is that you never get the feeling that you’re free to explore. You always seem like you’re being led by the hand by the developers, being rushed from one objective to the other. Where’s the strategy if you’re not allowed to grow your army how you want to?

Creative Assembly took a number of major risks with Stormrise – some of which paid off, and some which failed miserably. It’s quite possible that Stormrise is a game ahead of its time functionality wise, but regardless its sub-par visuals and spotty mechanics will keep it from being anything more than a time waster. For RTS fans, there’s far better titles available, and for the highly sought after console gamer – Stormrise is a mess of un-thought through ideas and clichés.  

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlimited Credits, Hand of God Mode

Real Time Strategy games are all about the strength and size of your armies – the bigger, healthier armies will always prevail over the weaker, less developed armies...unless you’ve got the right cheats.

Cheathappens’ trainer adds a new element to the game’s campaign, even if there’s not much to it. Using the unlimited credits cheat, you’re more free to experiment with your armies as you’re not bound to the fate of what happens in battle. Your ideas don’t work? Just rebuild differently until you’ve got a winning combination.

Much of the gameplay in Stormrise comes down to trial and error. Why not eliminate some of that error with the hand of god cheat. Using this cheat, you’ll be able to heal your squads before you lose them. The cheats in Stormrise add the freedom to be much more creative with the game’s lackluster engine.


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