[Review] Elements of War – Just Don’t Play It.
Available on: PC; Publisher: Kalypso Media; Developer: Lesta Studios; Players: 1; Released: April 18, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Website
Elements of War is an RTS developed by Lesta Studio. Its story revolves around two characters: Captain Paul Wilson and General Derek Kirkker. It starts with unusual weather activity wreaking havoc on the populace and the player being tasked with maintaining control and order. Aside from the rather weak storyline, Elements of War is a game that seems to be absolutely riddled with problems and is, unfortunately, a game that should be avoided.
The game gives a very poor first impression through its opening cutscene. Cutscenes are all rendered within the game and unfortunately the game itself has questionable graphics to begin with, making them somewhat painful to look at. The premise itself is also a poor way to start off, especially considering that weather anomalies are a meteorologist’s idea of fun and an average gamer would simply have no motivation to go and investigate it. Add to that the fact that the story moves rather slowly and most players will put the game aside rather quickly.
Aside from the immensely boring premise, Elements of War boasts an unintuitive and completely confusing control scheme. The first mission alone is dedicated to teaching the player all about the absurdly ill-conceived and unintuitive controls, most of which are taught one by one. And taught very slowly.
Elements of War‘s gameplay is similar in its basic foundation to most other RTS games. The game has the player control troops to combat “marauders,” which in this game is just another word for looters, as well as enemies intent on gaining control of a weapon that is causing the weather problems and ultimately, taking control of the United States.
One area in which Elements of War differs from your standard RTS is that there is no resource collecting like in Starcraft or Command and Conquer games. All missions have the player begin with a predetermined army size that must be managed carefully. While this may be considered a feature in the game’s favor, it’s also worth mentioning that the game can, at times, be absurdly difficult. There is a difficulty meter, but flicking it to either side of the difficulty spectrum makes little to no difference. The difficulty coupled with the need to manage the limited army size can make the already frustrating game even more tiresome to deal with.
There’s a healthy variety of units for players to use throughout the game, however, because players only start with a set army size, they don’t have much say in what units they get and how many of them they want. Units also have some powers based around the elements, for example, the Aurora tank uses electromagnetic emissions to knock out enemy vehicles. But, as mentioned before, the units players recieve are not theirs to choose, making it troublesome at times to complete an objective.
It’s difficult not to compare a game like this to the legion of better RTS games currently out. Starcraft 2 and Company of Heroes, to name a couple, are all far superior examples. While the developers evidently did not have massive budgets backing them, they don’t do anything to attempt to set themselves apart either.
The game does not have many multiplayer elements to it, but in this case lack of multiplayer would probably be in its favor since its poor design could potentially translate to frustration for more than one player. However, the lack of a multiplayer suggests a lack of ambition on the part of the developers, who in all likeliness decided to make the bare minimum for this game. A lot of the game’s problems simply boil down to this fact alone. There are a great deal of things that could have been done better but are left alone by the bare minimum, making this an uninteresting game not worth anyone’s time.