I have to admit that I cannot strategy. I played Age of Empires and Warcraft 3 and enjoyed them both immensely, but I have to admit that my ultimate purpose in playing was to build pretty villages. Nothing excited me more than a town center surrounded by an aesthetically-pleasing geometric arrangement of teeny-weeny houses. I loved my tiny little villagers and I would watch as the townspeople in my care went about their daily business of chopping wood, mining and hunter/gathering and smile secretly to myself. I WAS A GOOD PROVIDER. The armies were neatly arranged into their respective regiments and stood proudly in front of the buildings from wherein they had spawned. There was no need for war. Why would I want to risk my lovely and most sweet and adorable city being destroyed? That slightly silly story lays the background for why I found it necessary to enlist the help of my brother Jotheawesome to review Steel Legions.
My face when I have to enlist my brother’s help to do anything, ever.
My brother’s face when I have to enlist his help to do anything, ever.
Steel Legions is a browser based free-to-play strategy game from Split Screen Studios.
Our thoughts on the game follow below:
PandaMcBearface PMB: I Googled the game before playing because Google is the only reason I know anything about anything. MMOBomb.com describes the game thus: “In Steel Legions, four mighty empires fight for control over resources that are growing ever scarcer – steel, steam, and oil play a crucial role in the battle for victory.” Sounds pretty rad, right?
*PandaMcBearface opens game excitedly*
*PandaMcBearface sees that she is controlling a tank*
*PandaMcBearface likes to shoot things*
*PandaMcBearface realises that she has been playing for half an hour, she is still a tank and nothing has happened*
Jotheawesome JTA: Are you looking for a game that has infinite complexity, amazing replay value and something that is just unique, innovative and ahead of its time? Well, Steel Legions is realistically not the game you are looking for. At all. Comically misleading opening statements aside (Take that society!), my time with this particular game was less than spectacular. To give a basic rundown of the game and how it functions, you are a tank.
And that’s pretty much it.
PMB: The controls in Steel Legions are simplistic to the point of being rather meh. I controlled my teeny tiny tank using left click to move and right click to shoot. In the beginning it was kind of fun, because it doesn’t really require that much thought, but eventually the distinct lack of epicness began to deaden my soul a little. I asked my friend Chris “linchpin” Ford to come and play with me because even though I possess immense worldly knowledge and a rapist wit, I am at the same time not very smart. He said that every right clicking motion was like a marshmellow in his belly, but I’m not too sure if he was telling the truth.
Linchpin’s face when marshmellows.
JTA: You only use the mouse for most of the controls, right click to move your tank and left click to attack, once you start leveling up you gain access to more varieties of weapons which are then mapped to the keyboard, the way combat is handled is actually quite similar to MOBA Massive Online Battle Arena games (DOTA, LoL, HoN) as positioning does seem to count for a lot.
The different types of terrain all affect the handling and durability of your tank quite significantly, driving through a forest while making you slower will also make you take less damage, you can hide in craters and you'll have less range but again your durability will be increased, standing on a hill makes your attack range significantly longer but makes you an easy target and so on and so forth. It definitely doesn't seem as complex as those games, at least at the current level of people I am playing with.
However how it differs from MOBA is that it basically has a MMORPGesque (That’s probably a word) system, where you can run around killing AI-controlled tanks ("Marauders" for those who care about this stuff) for construction kits which help upgrade your tank and you also upgrade in Experience levels which allow you to even upgrade your tank even further. So that pretty much sums up the PVE experience of the game, there really is nothing to do but to farm Tank mobs for experience and construction kits.
Things we don’t like:
PMB: To be fair to the developers, there are certain things about me that greatly affected my opinion of the game:
I call my style of gaming “learning by doing” but what that actually means is that I don’t like to practice. I really enjoy gaming and although I am somewhat casual about it, I really do give it the full 50% every single time I play. However, this does mean that I will always tl;dr any instructions given and I don’t “do” the help menu.
This meant that it was almost impossible for me to figure out how to locate my friends in the server. We knew that we were both in the same one, but where exactly was hard to tell. We tried creating a clan so that we could identify each other using the tag, but the task of reading through 85 non-alphabetised clan names proved too great for my intellect. Ironically, I even referred to the help menu on this occasion and was rewarded with four instructional pictures of how to control my tank.
JTA: The issue I have with this game is that there really is no point to having this pseudo free world if there is nothing to do in it but just grind yourself to death. We have World of Warcraft (WoW) for a reason. But at least in WoW there was a far greater exploration element and endgame raids were genuinely something epic. Sure it is a free to play game so it doesn't have the same kind of budget that Blizzard has to fund their art department but if you already know that, why bother with it? Rather focus on your strengths rather than just adding stuff just as an after thought because other games have it.
So at this point, you've probably figured out by now that the game is centered on the PVP element which is the ongoing war against the factions. At the headquarters for your faction you can choose queue up for missions, and it functions a lot like Wow where you just have to sit and wait around for awhile until there a mission available for you to join. There are a lot of different types of games modes from escort and protect, to territory capture and the like, and for the most part the game modes themselves seem quite balanced. But (and this is very big but) the matching making system in its current form seems to be mildy broken from my experience of it.
When I eventually got into a mission I found my team had three people while the other team only had two, we figured out however much to our dismay that while we were all currently level one, our opponents were level five and out geared us by a fairly large margin so we lost the game quite soundly. This seems like a problem that could easily be fixed, but it might stem from the fact that the player base isn't large enough to get properly balanced games at the lower levels. It's a pity cause the game would actually be quite fun but it ends up becoming a harrowing experience as you try to beat opponents who have much better tanks and more play time than you.
PMB: I think that it’s quite clear that I have not presented a completely unbiased review here. Personally I did not enjoy Steel Legions, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a try. In all honesty, it’s probably better that you listen to my brother, because at the end of the day I am a woman and thus prone to irrational flights of fancy. The only thing I really understand in this world is how to make a good sandwich (I’m actually not even kidding) and so taking anything that comes out of my brain as serious fact is probably a very silly move on your part.
JTA: Overall, I do think this game has some potential, and the game mechanics themselves seem to be pretty solid but it’s marred by technical issues that are in dire need of fixing. Realistically this game won't be fun for you unless you are willing to put some time into it. Once you start reaching higher levels of play however the matchmaking will start working better and it will give you immense satisfaction.
Find Steel Legions here: http://steellegions.com/en
@PandaMcBearface and @MWEBGMZ on Twitter because I am a bear irl and I demand it.