Combining action, real time strategy and even some role-playing elements, WARSHIFT wants to please everyone and with some stunning graphics added to the mix it’s not difficult to do so. The game took over five years to make and it is a really unique experience, but the final product isn’t without some flaws of its own.
Cyril Megem launched the game on the 13th of October 2016 on Steam and that was after they announced that their plans with the game were to revive Battlezone, – the 1980s Atari game that was considered one of the first VR games.
The WARSHIFT we have access to now can easily be called experimental, giving you third-person control of your units, the ability to build bases, customize your vehicles and command large armies all at (approximately) the same time, so there is no wonder that you get to feel overwhelmed at times.
The WARSHIFT lore
The story of the game is set in 2062 on the colony Enigma that gets invaded by the Atroid aliens coming from a parallel world. Since they are spectral, the aliens covered their shapes with exoskeletons (a convenient way of introducing robot designs) and started building an army that turned half of the planet into a desert environment. To answer this threat, the Delta battalion was created with robots of their own and cyber-guards.
The commander of these armies leads through the telepathic skills from behind a mothership called the ARK and they can join the fight as well by operating a combat avatar that is basically the hero-unit of the game. You can improve this unit with new weapons, upgrades and even transform it into a more powerful unit. Some of the commanders can change between ground and flying mode and there are many customization options for them.
How strategic is the game?
The real-time strategy elements are well designed but with only a few structures and a few units you might consider it to be too limiting, somewhat forcing you to go into FPS mode at times but the avatar itself is rarely worth the effort. You don’t have any tech tree options, you get all the units and buildings from the start and this obviously leads to some one-dimensional games that isn’t fun for too long.
The campaign is made more as an introduction to the game since there are only four tutorial missions and ten actual scenarios. There isn’t too much story behind them and they are quite conventional, leaving us thinking that the designers wanted this to be more of a multiplayer game.
When it comes to multiplayer you can have up to six players on the same map in a MOBA-like 3vs3 match that can be co-op but you can also play free for all. Some might find it more entertaining when playing with friends, but even here, the limited number of units tends to make it dull after a few matches.
The soundtrack is quite suited to the game and it sets a great atmosphere. The environments also make each mission feel different since there are settings like the desert on the planet’s surface, the outer space, water missions and even underwater ones.
Even after such a long development period the game feels buggy but the designers promised to address these (and are constantly doing so) in the upcoming patches so hopefully the gaming experience will be enhanced in the future. The dedication which Cyril Megem put into WARSHIFT makes us optimistic that all the issues will be fixed and it will become the game that the designers hoped for.
In its current state, WARSHIFT has a lot of potential to be great but if feels like it still needs more work, so we do recommend it for fans of war strategy games due to the responsive attitude of the developers. Were we to grade it we think it deserves an 8 but it could easily be a 9 if some of the issues get fixed.
You can get the game from the Steam store and also check out the gameplay trailer released on launch day.