Siegecraft Commander is an intense RTS that demands you think two steps ahead of your opponent. One wrong move and you could end up losing every fortification you’ve built. A lot of players will find the aiming system vexing due to its lack of precision but the active combat system intense and satisfying. Don’t be fooled by the colorful characters and cartoonish art style, this is a methodical RTS that demands you to think through each move.
Each game starts with you and your Keep. From there you build outposts to extend your reach. Outpost serves as the primary base to build other structures such as armories, garrisons, libraries, ballistas for anti-air defenses, and more outposts. If an outpost is destroyed everything connected to that outpost leading away from Keep is destroyed. This chain effect can devastate players if not defended, forcing players to not only protect their frontline but their rear.
Outposts are the only way to extend your reach but offer little offensive options other than a rechargeable TNT barrage that must be manually aimed. Garrisons offer troop deployment, dragons, and temporary repair beacons. Armories grant you access to special equipment like airships, landmines, trebuchets, and mortars. Libraries grant you acess to magical offensive and defensive options such as haste and damage modifiers. Some equipment are locked behind special requirements such as gold and crystal, which must be scavenged from the battlefield by building an structure on the resource. If the structure is destroyed you lose access to it.
Players are not limited to how much they can build but space instead. Each structure creates a wall from the point of origin to the buildings placement. Walls cannot intersect and ground forces must go around the entire wall. Maximizing the efficiently of your space is central to success. Mindlessly building could lead you open to aerial attacks, prevent your ground troops from leaving a specific area, or blocked from building more outposts to extend your reach. You cannot simply destroy friendly structures once built, instead they must be destroyed using your offensive TNT blast.
Aiming in Siegecraft Commander is a significant issue. You dispense specific buildings using the analog stick to aim where you want it built. Depending on how far the left analog stick is tilted determines how far the structure will be built from the origin point. If you collide with another structure’s wall, another building, or an unsupportive terrain the structure is immediately destroyed. This can become frustrating during intense matches since you must wait until the option charges before you can try to rebuild.
Attempting to build diagonally was incredibly vexing. No indicator exist to determine how far you’re tossing the structure nor if the terrain is supportive. With a mouse I can assume this is less of an issue but with a controller attempting to properly measure distance was a massive issue. This issue is predominantly present when aiming diagonally since the analog stick becomes very sensitive when reaching the downward tilt, and was only resolved when I rotated the camera so I could aim vertically. In a game where the placement of your defenses is paramount having a fickle aiming system is unacceptable.
You don’t control your ground or aerial forces. Ground forces usually head into the objectives directions, you cannot split them into categories to fight separate battles. This is because your focus has to be on maintaining and actively participating in fights. Using the manual aiming system to thin out opposing forces. Aerial forces are given a specific direction to follow before deploying. Afterwards its up to the player to choose what to use and when to attack, most of the time with the aiming system.
Navigating the map is easy enough, with the left analog stick allowing you to move the camera and the right stick to rotate the camera, zoom in, and zoom out. Everything from enemy encampments to friendly forces were easy to see and select. Selecting specific buildings only become an issue when they were clustered together.
The single-player campaign does an excellent job of training you. Over the course of the campaign you’re given a series of increasingly harder missions to undertake. Each mission has its own distinct terrain, requiring you to adapt using the tools at hand. Sometimes you’ll deal with heavy ground forces during the first portion of the battle only to find out that your Keep is being bombarded with airships; forcing you to regroup and build anti-air defenses. I never felt at a disadvantage but instead always on my guard since the game doesn’t alert you when your base is under attack.
Multiplayer has players competing in either custom games online or offline or quick matches either in real-time or turned-based options. I was able to play a few local matches with a friend and found it battling with one another with not only infantry but TNT barrages much more intense than the CPU. I cannot wait to see how online multiplayer goes when the game launches!
Players have four commanders to choose from: Commander Steerson, High Mason York, Ktara Brutz, and Sharma Llertz. Each one has their own set of traits that can be upgraded and changed. Each character is wonderfully designed and animated. With the exception of some rare graphical hiccups and drops in the frame-rate the game runs and looks fantastic.
The game does need some improvement with the aiming system. Determining the distance became an increasingly vexing problem during the later parts of the game. Especially considering the game's increasing difficultly. Perhaps limiting players to determine distances when crafting structures would create a much more ideal experience. Placing the same rule for aiming offensive attacks could lead to players abandoning structures for outposts and TNT.
Siegecraft Commander is full of intense battles and challenging obstacles. Building structures using the aiming system is frustrating but doesn’t completely break the experience. Instead the game flourishes by giving players challenging battles to overcome. For those looking for a challenging RTS on consoles, Siegecraft Commander is definitely a game you’ll want to play. We'll keep you updated for all things Siegecraft Commander as the game is updated before it releases.