Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power PC DVD
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: Wargaming.net
Release Date: September 2007
Around three weeks ago we previewed a turn-based strategy title called Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power and for the most part we found it to be a solid game. One of our comments against the game however, was that it lacked personality. A couple of weeks later and the review code for the game dropped on the Deaf Gamers' doormat so it's fair to say that there wasn't going to be many differences between the preview and final code. Needless to say then, Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power lacks that sense of character that you always hope for in a game but does it make up for it in other areas? Let's take a look.
Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power is set on the planet of Saraksh and the essentially the game is about the fight for supremacy between four races. The four races in the game are The Khonites, The Land of Fathers, The South Barbarians and The Insular Empire. As you might expect, each of these races come with their own tech trees as well as their own unique land, air and naval units and in total there are more than 70 unique units in the game. If this all seems a little run-of-the-mill and generic, that's because it is. The game claims to have an interesting storyline but in actual fact there's little here to interest anyone, which is certainly one of the game's most disappointing aspects. It's the battles alone that will hold your interest in Galactic Assault.
The game offers you a choice of playing through a single-player campaign, eleven scenarios or twelve Deathmatch games. There are multiplayer options too with support for Hot Seat, LAN and Internet play. Oddly enough there is no map/mission editor which does seem a strange omission but I daresay it would be possible for one to be made available for download at a later date. You always hope that the single-player campaign in a strategy game is going to keep you entertained. The campaign in Galactic Assault is best described as functional, unfortunately you probably can't describe it as interesting. It does a good job of gently introducing you to the game, beginning with a tutorial mission and a handful of missions that steadily introduce the game's concepts, but at no point does it ever become really interesting.
Regardless of the mode you choose to play it's the quality of the battles that count and the battles in Galactic Assault are actually quite good. As well as the usual fog of war, the game takes things such as camouflage, weather, terrain, fortifications and many other things into account. The ability to entrench units, camouflage them and generally use the environment to your advantage is certainly a key feature of the battle system and allows you to be quite flexible in formulating your strategies. I also like the way the game's tutorial messages do a good job of making you aware of the strategical options that are available. Far too many strategy games throw in a tutorial that doesn't cover the finer points of the game but, thankfully, that isn't the case here. An effective strategy is not always required however and at times it feels as though throwing large numbers of units at the enemy is enough to win the day (although the extent to which is this is a viable tactic depends upon which of the three difficulty levels you're playing on).
The game's presentation is really about as dry as it could be. The graphics aren't anything special and I daresay some would even consider them to be quite poor when compared to the visuals you'll find in any 3D RTS from the last three or four years. In fairness though, the graphics are just about good enough to get the job done and looking on the bright side, you should be able to easily run the game on anything resembling a modern PC. The game has a nice assortment of environments ranging from deserts to tundra. You'll also notice day and night cycles as well as a variety of weather effects. There are no elaborate cutscenes however and the four factions in the game are essentially faceless as you won't see any interaction between any of the factions' leaders which is disappointing as this would have added some much need personality to the game and helped to avoid the generic feel that Galactic Assault really suffers from.
We said in our preview for the game that Galactic Assault was fine for deaf gamers due to all the important information being shown in text and other visual means such as numerically or through the use of icons. The preview we looked at didn't have any speech but the final version does. Thankfully all of the verbal information is shown in text so deaf gamers won't miss out on anything. All tutorial messages, mission briefings and objectives are subtitled. Pressing the Tab key recalls your mission objectives. If the scenario is turn-limited you're always shown how many turns are remaining. Placing your cursor over a piece of terrain will bring up text information that will tell you of any advantages or disadvantages that location would bring to your units. Before a mission begins, you're shown the key locations and given information in text about each of those key points on the map. The game has a help section that gives you text info on every aspect of the game.
If you're looking for a decent science fiction flavoured, turn-based strategy game and aren't particularly bothered about the game having a quality presentation or an interesting storyline then Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power is definitely worth a look. The battles play out pretty much as you'd expect and the game does allow you to make good use of your environment. You don't always need tactical finesse to win the battles however, something that may put-off the more serious strategy gamers out there, as victory can be attained through a direct assault with your more powerful units. For the most part though, the battles are quite enjoyable. Sadly there isn't anything here you probably won't have seen several times before if you're a fan of turn-based strategy titles, which makes it a tough game to heartily recommend to all but those who are enthusiastic about the genre and aren't fussed about quality production values or an engaging storyline.
Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power is a solid, but unspectacular turn-based strategy game. It lacks personality and feels a little dull as a result.