If one word had to be used to sum up this latest title from CDV, it would have to be innovative. Every once in a while we see a game that can't exactly be pigeonholed into a single genre and instead seems to contain elements from three or four genres. Of course with games such as these the chances of their popularity is always far smaller than games that stick firmly to one genre.
Combining RTS, RPG and Action gaming, Project Nomads, on paper at least would seem to be total chaos. Of course once you're actually playing the game the mix of genres becomes irrelevant because after all it's the gameplay that counts and not the ability to pigeonhole it's style. The game basically puts you on a floating island travelling about, amongst the clouds in pursuit of a magical artefact from a forgotten culture. Playing as either Goliath, John or Susie you are solely responsible for you travelling island and controlling all the weapons and facilities on it. As you progress through the game your character becomes more skilled and can create better weapons etc., by combining the artefacts, for your island.
For the most part you're travelling on your island. Occasionally you will have to disembark from your island to collect new artefacts, solve a few puzzles but for the most part you're on your island. The gameplay feels like it's asking you to do too much at times. You have to navigate the island, do the repairs, fire the weapons etc. It's a bit like being an overworked mother who has to run around getting everything done in hardly no time at all. The gameplay could have really been improved if you could have hired intelligent assistants or crew to operate the various types of machinery. Later in the game some devices can be automated but the ability of the AI to control the various weapons etc., is questionable and rest assured it doesn't do half the job you could do. You'll frequently be involved in battles and have facilities destroyed. These can always be rebuilt. However if you lose your watchtower, the main facility and responsible for moving your island, then it's will be game over.
Graphically the game is very good indeed. The clouds look realistic. The trees sway with the wind and terrain textures are first class. In fact the weather and magical effects that are in the game as a whole are brilliant. As you would expect there is a price to be paid for this graphical extravaganza and at the maximum resolution (a rather low 1024x768) the framerate can be quite choppy even on a high specification PC. However if you drop the detail to medium instead of high then the framerate becomes very smooth indeed.
There is good news for deaf gamers as Project Nomads is fully subtitled. Everything is subtitled by default and the text is very clear and easy to read. Pressing F2 will bring up your objectives should you forget what you're supposed to be doing. There are no problems at all for deaf gamers as the game is very visual and text messages show up when you are under attack etc. It's very pleasing to see that a very useful manual has been included with the game. The manual covers all the information that you need to know and provides some very useful tips. CDV have also included a Quick Reference card that gives you all the keyboard controls for the gun tower, aircraft, character and building. As you are learning the game this card will prove to be an invaluable aid.
Project Nomads is a bold experiment and one that almost comes off. The main problem with the game is that sometimes there just seems too much with having to control everything to get the best results and the action does get repetitive. Although multiplayer is available it doesn't seem to function at the moment, at least in terms of playing on the Internet anyway and this will prove a disappointment to some. Still this is one the most original games of this year and is worth a go if you fancy something unconventional.
Overall Game Rating: 7.3/10 Too much to do at times. It's also a shame that the multiplayer side of the game isn't functional.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems at all for deaf gamers.