BattleForge Beta Preview: Playing With A Stacked Deck
“BattleForge” is an upcoming online RTS game by German based development studio EA Phenomic. The concept behind the title is a mix between the ever popular collectible card games (CCG) and real time strategy games (RTS). With your custom deck of cards, your goal is to kick a lot of ass by unleashing spells, creating structures, and summoning creatures onto the field.
One of the things that “BattleForge” has over most online exclusive games is that it comes in a variety of flavors in order to suit different players. There is a single player campaign where you trek through a storyline, a two-player co-operative scenario, a four-player co-operative scenario, and the usual Player versus Player unranked/ranked matches. As you play more and more, you’ll gain “loot” cards which can be used to either expand your current roster of spells, creatures, and buildings, or upgrade your current deck.
When you first get into the game, you’ll be introduced into the game’s main lobby. Here you can chat with other players, read through the plot, create your 20-card max deck, enter playing rooms, and use the Forge Mode. The Forge Mode is essentially a sandbox arena where you can cast any of your cards and spawn NPC monsters. This way, you’ll understand how each of the cards work and interact with one another.
On the battlefield, there are only two resources to worry about: Power Generators and Monuments. Power Generators give you power which you need to cast spells, whereas monuments allow you to create an orb of one of the four schools in the game: Frost (Blue), Fire (Red), Nature (Green), and Shadow (Purple). When you build extra monuments, you have the privilege of casting higher tier spells from your deck, allowing you to summon bigger monsters, stronger spells, and more powerful structures. It is quite possible to have a mixture of schools, although some of the more powerful spells require you to be much more dedicated to one school in order to use them.
Unlike most RTS games, there isn’t an economic structure, technology research, or base building to master. You’re essentially controlling key areas in the field and the reward for successfully holding these resource points is a bigger and stronger army. During PvP matches, the entire map is revealed (no fog of war), so you’ll immediately know where these resource points are located and who is gunning for them.
Graphically, “BattleForge” looks great. It uses highly stylized look for each of the creatures and structures while being lively animated; even the loading screens have incredible artwork. You’ll see big units make small units fly around the battlefield, epic high tier creatures taking a good chunk of the screen, and dazzling spell effects littering the area. However, during the test there were some major performance issues, more so during the end game with dozens and dozens of creatures on the screen, hopefully this issue will be fixed before release.
Apart from the performance issue, “BattleForge” is definitely a game to look out for. It looks great, the tutorial is useful, and retains the addictive traits we’ve all seen in collectible games. Definitely something to look out for in the near future.