It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year when the big titles that we’ve all been wetting ourselves over have come and gone, and it leaves a perfect little pathway for some of the not so well known games to rear their heads without being pushed through the exit door like a crying fangirl trying to get on the latest X-Factor reject stage.
One such title to take it head first down the aforementioned path is Confrontation, a tactical RPG game developed by Cyanide Studios. What makes Confrontation a little unique is that the game is based on a set of miniatures by the same name (think Warhammer), set in the world of Aarklash, in which you control a small group of heroes from the Griffin squad, fighting the Scorpion, Wolf and Jackals in an attempt to bring some sort of stability to the ever-increasing tension that exists between the clans.
This is quite literally the tip of a very, very large iceberg. Upon starting up the game I was bombarded with facts, names, places and people that I was expected to instantly remember as if there was some sort of test coming up halfway through. With flashy cut scenes coming hand in hand with said voice over harassment, it wasn’t long before I was plonked straight into a game.
Needless to say, I wasn’t entirely sure what I had to do. It took me several minutes to figure out that it was actually me that was playing as the Griffins, and that everyone else was an enemy, and that’s only because I hadn’t taken more than a few steps in this world before the tutorial system was informing me that one of them already wanted to slit my throat.
And slit my throat he did. There’s a reason that many of the tutorial levels monsters or boss fights are considerably and noticeably weaker than the rest of the game; players are new and need to be eased into the game. Confrontation doesn’t care. You are merely a pawn in its unforgiving onslaught of rage that it will reign down upon you.
After playing through the tutorial a little bit more, I rescued several of my team mates, who quickly became utter necessities when more than one enemy wanted to pound me into putty, and whilst I was very grateful for the game showing me how to move the camera, as well as how to get from A to B, it seemed to think that was enough for me to be able to take out enemies, learn what each spell did, how to access each spell, how to use bandages, heal, run away and revive; most of which I had to figure out myself, with a few helpful nudges from the A.I., before it quite literally said “Ok, you’ve learned enough, you’re on your own now”.
It was this point, of course, when I found myself face to face with several corridors full of mobs after my guts, of which I could take out one by one. The moment I attempted to tackle a smaller threat to ease the load the entire room swarmed me, and I swiftly found myself staring at four forlorn corpses, and having to start my journey again.
Despite playing the game on the highest graphical setting, things still looked very stale, with basic palettes and not much detail going into the models, all of which looked very blocky. Details to the world on the other hand looked quite refreshing, and the desert I found myself in felt rather believable, bar the monsters and chugging machinery.
The voice acting was mediocre at best, playing to huge stereotypical fantasy voices. The obviously aged grey wise man doing most voice overs, the strong chiselled hero as the main character with the fragile, glass cannon being played by the exasperated woman. Really nothing to write home about here.
Yet take all of the above gripes and woes, the troubles, and the tribulations, and within it all was an oddly enjoyable experience. I knew the tutorial needed some work, I knew everything in front of me was bog standard tactical RPG that I’d seen before. Yet I didn’t stop playing. My umpteen deaths made me reload the game and not give up, the lifeless character models ploughing through enemy after enemy.
I can’t see people with very low patience holding out for this. In a world where players want an easy ride, straight off the bat, Confrontation falls to the wayside, but perhaps these people aren’t wanted in the Tactical RPG genre? Perhaps I’m a sucker for RPG’s? Confrontation is a game that needs a fair bit of work which it may not get, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Stick through the pain, and grit your teeth a few times, because you may have to get used to the game before it really starts to shine.