DEFCON First Impressions and Demo

Today is the day that Introversion released DEFCON, a real-time strategy thermal-nuclear game.

I just played about an hour of DEFCON and it is a very welcoming experience to see an indie developer create an original but great game that doesn’t require a seven-digit budget. It also follows the traditional “easy to learn, hard to master”. Not to mention that the game does involve nuking countries, something many developers for some reason won’t touch.

This isn’t the typical real-time strategy game that you’ll find with the label of Microsoft or Blizzard on the box art. There is no resources to hoard, no mines to gather, no technologies to research, or workers to create. This game simply says “Here is a fixed number of units, here is your land, enjoy”. The strategy comes in how you position your units and your decisions throughout the battle.

And that’s why this game is so much fun. Almost anyone who enjoys a bit of a real-time strategy can get into it and there isn’t dozens upon dozens of units to memorize. You can count the number of units using your hand: Submarines, Bombers, Carriers, Battleships, and Jet Fighters. That’s it.

The number of buildings is even smaller: Silos, Airfield, and Radar. Silos can either be your air defense, or they nuke the crap out of people. Radars help you see your area, including neighbouring foes. Airfields can spit out bombers to blow the crap out cities or buildings, or fighters to attack nukes, other fighters, and scout.

The deal with the units is they have certain modes that take time change. Carriers can be anti-sub or throw planes. Silos can be anti-air or nuke. When you play the game, you need to decide what you are going for, and where will it be done.

I wrote this on another forum about my first online game.

It was random map and fate has decided to put me in the South America (and Mexico). I deployed everything, mainly putting up air bases up north and spreading my silos around. I tried a bit of a random placement so off-throw the enemy and put the radars in the middle of a bunch of SAM sights.

I mixed navel units with battleships and carriers, and two fleets of subs. One fleet went up north to bomb the crap out of California and Texas, the other went to Southern Africa to “cure AIDS.” (His words, not mine)

As soon as DEFCON 3 hit, my fleets of battleships and carriers ceased to exist. It seems my weakness is ships, because they die off so quickly. Even with the help of my airfields nearby, the ships still sank.

Unlike the other players, I started the nukes really early, which gave me a bit of an edge. I disabled two of America’s radars and sent some fodder fighters to distract the SAMs while the bombers from the area nuked the southern States. Southern Africa had no defences and I launched every possible nuke from the subs, earning myself a crapload of points.

Nearly halfway through the fire, freaking Asia and Europe begins bombing the crap out of North and South America. I sent my fighters and managed to switch my silos to SAMs to counter the nukes. One thing I noticed is the defense systems in this game are heavily based on luck. No matter how missiles I’ve seen launched, that one nuke manages to make it through.

Africa, being pissed as fuck, starts launching nukes at my silos. I sent my fighters to intercept and strangely enough, it did. Despite blowing up one half of Africa at the start, they couldn’t even touch me even with my silos shown.

China and Europe were nailing me down pretty down but my building casualities were all safe but one abandoned airfield.

With ten minutes remaining, I decided to do an insane tactic. I used a silo the most south on my land. Why? I wanted to go after New York, and if the Missile was going through the Atlantic Ocean, not many SAMs from North America will be able to stop it from going to New York. The only thing I was worried about was the sea, which had numerous ships and subs I could not see, fighting with each other, and it might be shot down from overhead.

I must have a lot of luck today, because they weren’t many fleets at the Atlantic Ocean at all. I sent all 10 nukes towards New York alone, while I sent my bombs and fighters from two different airfields to mess up the SAM sights at the south border and their cities.

Nearly a minute left and New York becomes a city with a population of only six digits.

I end up being in third place. Russia and Asia were too busy laying the smack down on Europe.

The demo is out if you want to see how the game is like. Get it here!

UPDATE: My first victory. Two teams of two, and two lone wolves. I, a lone wolf, won the match!

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