Rim - Battle Planets
by JoWooD Productions
Turn based combat games have really become none existent since the demise of the great X-COM series. There have been a few turn based games in general but perhaps, with the exception of Jagged Alliance 2 there hasn't really been anything to offer the strategic soaked, adrenaline pumping action that X-COM had. One title that might change all that is Trinode Entertainment's Rim - Battle Planets. The game is based exclusively around tense, turn based combat situation and fans of the X-COM games ought to give this a look.
There is the campaign and tutorial available to play in single player mode. The campaign is called 'In search of the Old Ones' and follows the search for the Old Ones who are a highly advanced ancient race whose technology was superior to anything known to man. You are a commander, named Max Adamski who has been assigned to guard the scientists who are searching for the Old Ones. At the beginning of the campaign you are aboard the RSS Solarius and are located somewhere in the Outer Rim. On landing on what you think is a deserted planet, you come across the Nurgs who are a race of murderous monsters. In no time at all you are in the thick of action.
Before you embark on the campaign or the multiplayer side of the game you may want to head for the tutorials. There are eight tutorials in all which range from the basics of the game to advanced battle tactics. Everything is subtitled and easy to understand. You can access any part of the tutorial at any time so you don't have to wade through stuff that you already know like in most games.
The gameplay revolves around three phases. The first of these phases is the movement phase in which you move your units to their new locations. Secondly there is the attack phase in which you designate targets for your units to fire at. Finally there is the execution phase in which you see the attacks carried out. It sounds straight forward and it more or less is, to learn that is. In order to complete some of the missions you have to develop a well thought out strategy otherwise all your units soon end up destroyed. Shields can be activated and bonuses/upgrades can be applied to your units if you have enough service points. Service points are earned with every move, battle, or special action that a unit makes. In campaign mode these points are earned by retaining units from the previous mission. This rewards well thought out strategies as losing units impacts more than just the mission that you are on. The units take full advantage of the terrain as well, so the tanks on the high ground for instance will always cause more damage than one that is placed on the lower ground. There are even air units to consider too. For some the only disappointment might be that there isn't any other elements to the gameplay apart from the combat.
Graphically the game is average. Sure everything is in 3D but it won't tax a graphics card that is even a few years old. Of course in a game of this nature looks play second fiddle to gameplay and ease of use and to be honest there is not much wrong with the look of the game. If you must, you can enable anti-aliasing in the graphics options and this will help eliminate the jaggies and make the units look that little bit nicer. The game also features dynamic lighting but on my ageing Kyro II I found that I had to disable it in order to get rid of the dodgy scrolling.
Trinode get top marks for subtitling. All cutscenes and conversations are fantastically subtitled. The text takes a reasonable amount of time to disappear too so even the slowest of readers will have to time to take it all in. The introduction to the game didn't need any subtitles. When new mission objectives have been given you are alerted by the subtitled message and a flashing notification button on the lower left of the screen. Battle Planet is perfectly suitable for deaf gamers. How many games can we say that for?
Overall Game Rating: 7.8/10 Rim - Battle Planets is a solid turn based combat game. It would have been nicer to see more elements to the gameplay to compliment the great combat experience. For anyone who is interested in turn based combat this is well worth the asking price.
Deaf Gamers comment: Brilliant. Superb subtitling and general text feedback in both the main game and the tutorial. The game provides full access to deaf gamers.