From the table top to the monitor, once again.
Cyanide Studios are taking a page out of a few other studio’s books and creating a Real-Time Strategy game that ditches base building and resource management in favor of action and squad progression. The world of Confrontation jumps off of the table top and onto your PC where we take up arms as the Griffins and see if we can’t end this war, once and for all.
Confrontation takes place in the world of the tabletop strategy game of the same name and is set in a dark fantasy era where magic, technology and science mix in some pretty fantastic ways. Sorcery and holy magic are as common as firearms and cyborg soldiers. You will take on the roll of a special forces squad from Akkylannie whose army call themselves Griffins. Each nation has a sort of nickname based on their banner so you’ll be fighting The Scorpion, The Wolf and The Jackal.
I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Confrontation, and this world allows for some really cool characters, but the whole story falls flat due to the fact that none of the characters ever talk. All of the cut-scenes in Confrontation are narrated in the third person so you never really get to know any of your squad members and I found this really detracted from my investment in the game as a whole.
Confrontation puts you in control of, up to, four characters at a time and controls much like any RTS, as far as movement and combat go, with emphasis on formation. Units are divided into different roles like tank, ranged damage and melee damage and your squad will arrange themselves in battle based on the order you place them on the right side of the screen, or they’ll try to. The squad AI in Confrontation isn’t the greatest and you’ll often have to rearrange units manually as the characters have a very hard time running around each other to get into formation. This often leads to ranged specialists needlessly engaged in melee combat and your melee units stuck trying to get around them. If you can fight through and get your units set up properly then Confrontation can be fun and building and advancing your squad will keep you playing just one more level.
Each level in confrontation plays out more like a dungeon from Diablo than a map from Dawn of War or Command and Conquer, with lots of tight hallways and underground passages to explore. While these tight corners can lead to some frustration as your squad can easily get in each other’s way, they are still fun to explore. Each level has a large playable area and most have multiple paths to take, loot was really the only thing keeping this from being a true dungeon crawler.
Though there isn’t any specific loot, you will find weapon and armor points that will allow you to upgrade each character’s weapons, while experience will let you upgrade stats and abilities. From the main menu there is also an Army Painter that will allow you to get the full tabletop experience by customizing your squad’s armor colors. Confrontation’s campaign is fun but would have been much more interesting if the story were told, at least in part, from the character’s perspective rather than an omnipotent narrator’s.
Confrontation’s multiplayer really feels like an afterthought as it is pretty bare-bones. You can jump into a lobby with a number of other people but will only be able to challenge one at a time. One on one matches consist of you choosing a faction and selecting four units from their available armies, lining up on a small map and brawling it out. This format really doesn’t allow for any strategy and there is no progression system to keep you invested. You’ll quickly wish you were back in the campaign after a few rounds in multiplayer.
Weak multiplayer and silly player AI hold Confrontation back from being a great game. If you can get past the goofy things your squad does from time to time, the mix of dungeon crawling and RTS gameplay are quite fun. The game really opens up when you get to the point where you have to choose your squad from a large stable of characters. I feel that if a little more time was spent on Confrontation it could have been one to remember.