Warparty PC Review

Just like its dinosaurs have a hard time setting themselves apart from other units, Warparty also fails to stand out among its peers.

By Woozie, Posted 29 Mar 2019

Prehistoric times have often been overlooked by video games. On top of that, the real-time strategy genre has been experiencing a bit of a lull, poking its head out only periodically nowadays. Enter Warparty, a title that aims to mix classic real-time strategy with a good serving of Foghorn Leghorn’s ancestors.

The set-up is straightforward. The Go’n was a strong faction capable of taming dinosaurs. After they disappear, leaving behind powerful artifacts and temples infused with their powers, three heroes seek to use their power for vastly different purposes. Where Mika aims to unite humanity and ensure its survival, the Sage believes that humanity’s threat to nature makes it deserving of being wiped away. Meanwhile, Char the Necromancer just wants to eradicate all life. This is the basis of Warparty’s three campaigns and, while the narrative won’t exactly blow anyone’s mind, it’s enough to push one into uncovering their stories.

Warparty, Screenshot, PC, Review

Just like they’re led by different philosophies, Warparty’s three factions differ from each other in terms of playstyle. The Wildlanders’ roster is filled with human units, both on foot or riding beasts. Meanwhile, the Sage’s Vithara employ lots of dinosaurs and nature spirits, while also being able to capture neutral dinos which don’t attack them by default. The Necroma dabble in necromancy, spawning free zombies when their hero kills a unit. Warparty’s factions can also choose between two specific perks every time their settlement levels up. These grant different bonuses. One perk, for example, lets the Wildlanders deal 75% more damage against neutral dinos , while the Necroma can pick one up allowing them to have up to 18 active zombies, from the initial 6.

Base and resource management are more uniform, however. All factions have similar sets of buildings, the main differing mechanic being that Vithara workers are consumed as they build structures. Resource gathering plays a role and often requires sending workers away from your base or expanding. That’s mostly due to Crystals, one of the three available resources, being more limited than Food, which you can also harvest from farms that never deplete. Power, the third resource, is obtained by capturing shrines spread across the map or building totems. All factions can employ the resource to call upon godlike powers, like a meteor rain or thunder strikes, while the Sage also uses it to capture neutral dinosaurs. It certainly sounds like Warparty has plenty of little quirks to discover and manage.  To some extent, that’s true, but while the three factions do feel different from each other, this is diluted by some of the game’s larger issues.

Warparty, PC, Review, Screenshot

Warparty’s glacial pace leads to long periods of time when nothing really happens. Although the AI is mildly responsive to the player capturing shrines, both campaign and skirmish matches have large, tedious stretches where you’re either slowly roaming across a map, dispatching the odd neutral dinosaur, or just hanging back and recruiting units. Sadly, when you do get into fights, things don’t become much better.

As a macro-focused real-time strategy, Warparty’s combat isn’t particularly dynamic. Although you can upgrade your units, giving them passive abilities that deal damage over time and even a handful of active ones, fights often devolve into selecting a blob of units and making sure they all focus down one enemy at a time. This is further compounded by poor attack sounds that lack oomph, alongside the game’s largely unimpressive, often muddy visuals. It’s a pity that seeing sabertooth riders battle dinosaurs and undead just isn’t that great to look at. The AI is also prone to failure. Wonky unit pathfinding leads to melee fighters at the back having issues navigating terrain or clusters of their peers. The AI sometimes forgets that you’re hostile, leading to opposing units doing nothing as you shoot at them from a few steps away. One of the strangest issues, however, involves units sometimes clipping into each other, which results in an incoherent mess of humans and dinos roaming across the map, or selecting a worker, only to realize that four more are clipped into him.

Warparty, PC, Review, Screenshot

It’s a real shame that there’s not much juice to Warparty’s combat, given how work has clearly gone into differentiating the three factions from one another. Although the campaign does try to shake things up, through objectives such as capturing points in order to better navigate a sandstorm alongside more traditional missions, the tedium eventually extends across all of the game’s single player modes. Not being able to save the game during campaign missions is another unfortunate oversight. The worst offender is the game’s wave-based survival mode. Although it sets you up with a base filled with resources, on medium difficulty and twenty minutes into a match, the wave sizes were inconsistent and trivial, to the point where I couldn’t see any of the three attempts I started through. The slow pace at which everything moves kills any sense of momentum and, as fights lack any semblance of intensity, Warparty struggled to keep me engaged.

Warparty’s multiplayer is where you can set aside the game’s AI-related woes. A human opponent and the associated unpredictability also somewhat distracts from the game’s lack of speed. But even with a decent serving of maps, and a focus on having to venture out and expand, I’m skeptical as to how much longevity one can expect here. Although it takes solid first steps in differentiating its factions, after a few matches the units and perks lose their novelty. As cool as controlling or going against dinosaurs sounds, they don’t differ enough, mechanically, from other units. This leaves all the work of enforcing this dinosaur-controlling fantasy to the visual element; and, while colorful, Warparty isn’t exactly a looker. Furthermore, two different versions of healers feel identical in battle: like simple units hanging back and occasionally healing the others. The same goes for ranged or melee units. Even after upgrading them, imbuing weapons with fire, posion, or giving them active abilities, there’s still a visible lack of variety and satisfying feedback given to the player.

Warparty, PC, Review, Screenshot

Warparty’s appealing promise of controlling dinosaurs and prehistoric units doesn’t translate all that well into neither gameplay, nor story. From its goofy voice-acting and run-of-the-mill narrative, to its dull combat and glacial pacing, seeing missions to the end became increasingly more difficult the more I played. Once that initial sheen wears off, and you’re introduced to the three factions and their decently-sized rosters of units, there’s little to keep you going. It’s quite clear that Warparty is trying to emulate genre classics while providing a spin of its own. Unfortunately, just like its dinosaurs have a hard time setting themselves apart from other units, Warparty also fails to stand out among its peers.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Warparty

52/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Warcave, Crazy Monkey Studios
Developer(s): Warcave, Crazy Monkey Studios
Genres: Real-time Strategy
Themes: Stone Age
Release Date: 2019-03-28

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