[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Cyanide Studios” publishers=”Focus Home Interactive” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”April 5, 2012″]
Ragnarok has come to the lands of Aarklash leaving the different races and factions in turmoil. Ragnarok is the Norse mythology version of the end of days a.k.a. apocalypse a.k.a armageddon. These scenarios usually end with the entire world experiencing war and natural disasters. Confrontation’s take on it is no different. That take, developed by Cyanide Studios and published by Focus Home Interactive, is based on a wargame of the same title.
The opening movie is the first impression of the game one will receive. Unless you have intimate knowledge of the the tabletop wargame, the games setup in the movie will sound like overzealous gibberish that one might improv for laughs. The story is rather simple once you get past the gibberish. You control an elite squad of the Griffin faction’s warriors and your mission includes infiltrating Scorpion territory to take down stop the threat that they pose to your faction. Only the 3rd person narration between missions furthers the story as there is no dialog between characters. And that narration contains the same bravado that can be found in the intro movie, so it gets old real quick. With little to no backstory, new players to the world of Aarklash can end up lost and not paying attention to what story there is. OG table toppers will feel right in place due to their recognition of the backstory and world.
Confrontation’s game genre is a strange beast. A similar game is Dawn of War 2, which is also based on a wargame. The original Dawn of War was an RTS but with the popularity of more hero driven strategy games, Dawn of War 2 decided to go the route of hero based squads and no base building. Confrontation furthers the idea by just going with individual heroes but it ends up taking it so far from the RTS genre it actually feels more like it belongs with the old school CRPG’s like Baldur’s Gate. With a RTS style mission structure, the best description would be a RTS world with CRPG gameplay. Confrontation ends up being a jack of all trades type combination but a master of none. The lack of story telling from the character’s perspective and side content leave the CRPG side feeling bareboned. The RTS side gives you a mission(s) on a map and there can be multiple paths to that one spot but it’s still extremely linear. Without building an army and buildings or managing resources, mission structure is about the only thing that Confrontation retains from the RTS genre.
With an isometric view, you control 4 individuals that play to the grouping archetypes of tank, healer, dps, and magic found in most MMO’s. Though you only control four at at a time, eventually you will have access to 12 characters to form your squad with. You can send them off in different directions and even queue up actions. If the action gets overwhelming, there is a pause feature that will allow you plan ahead and strategize. Unfortunately, you will have to micromanage the squad most of the time due to poor pathfinding leaving the AI confused and stuck often. There is also no real loot in Confrontation. Experience gained from combat will allow you to raise stats and glyphs are inserted into your weapon and armor to upgrade those. Expect the single player portion of the game to last about 20 hours with you only playing the Griffin faction.
Multiplayer is limited to one versus one combat with a squad of four characters from all four factions in the game. Pausing is missing with about half the characters skills leaving the multiplayer with a more limited and frustrating feel than single player. Without pausing, the flawed pathfinding will leave you trying to place your character rather than trying to strategize with the three skills you are left with on each character. The game also has an army painter to try and pay homage to the culture around the table top where players would hand paint their pieces. Unfortunately, the painter is limited to changing the color of 3 regions and not giving the player the kind of coloration options that those that hand paint their figurines would be used to. The graphics in the game look outdated when zoomed in on the characters. They are models are extremely boxy i.e. the faces look like boxes with a face texture on them very reminiscent of early 3d games (the first Max Payne comes to mind as an example).
Despite all of the flaws, Confrontation is still a fun game. It had great potential but suffers from a lack of polish that a AAA game studio throws on games. The squandered potential is the greatest tragedy with Confrontation.