Darkwind War on Wheels Review: Turn Based Road Rage Anyone?
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
I'm a big fan of Twisted Metal from back in the hay day of the PlayStation. Ever since then that game became a personal benchmark in terms of car-violence themed games. With that in mind, I never really thought that there would come a time where a decent turn-based game like this would turn up.
Turn Based Car Game You Say?
Yes, you read it right. Darkwind is a turn-based car war game MMO. It has all the elements that can make any fan of carmageddon (I'm not referring to the old pc game mind you) blush with excitement all wrapped in glorious turn-based gameplay.
The Turn (orders phase)
The really cool thing about the game is that the turn-based system really works in Darkwind. Though it may sound odd, the gameplay added a little sense of excitement that you wouldn't expect in a car themed game. Turns out the game doesn't need to be in real time to experience that excitement.
How It Works
Regardless of any gimmicks a game has, you still need to drive in a car game. That rule still stands in Darkwind. Of course, the normal terms of "driving" are set-aside in Darkwind due to the nature of its gameplay. You still get to drive your car, but you are given "freeze" moments to decide how you want to steer your car. When I say freeze, what I mean is time stops in the game to give you a chance to decide on what direction you steer your car into.
Strategic manouvring required
What I liked about this system is that everyone who's in the match is synchronized with the server. This keeps things interesting especially when the match is picking up. I liked the fact that this kind of gameplay system gives you enough time to do things you could only wish to do if the game was played in real time. In fact there are moments where a well placed move during the planning stage can seal the whole match in favor of the underdog.
Actually the game feels like a fast paced- car version of a Trading Card Game. This feeling is mainly brought upon by two things:the first is of course the freeze time moments where players get to choose their actions. This reminds me of those moments where players get to decide on what course of action they need to take based on their opponents moves.The second is the "stages" a player has to go through while in actual combat or race. The game has three stages in the actual gameplay, you have order, action and fire stages and it happens in a blur right after the orders have been done. This reminds me of the situations in card games where you prepare for your moves and then attack in the end.
Other Things In Between
Another notable feature the game has is its physics engine. For a turn-based game every bounce and jump your car does feels authentic. The damages to the vehicle you are using are also visible during game play, which adds color to the whole car carnage feel.
Heavy damage to the vehicles
The game also delivers the post-apocalyptic atmosphere both on the tracks where you get to race and the car designs. They seem to be lifted directly from a Mad Max films so you really can't blame me if I kind of expected to see Mel Gibson come out after the race.
Even with the game physics being as cool as they are, I really can't ignore the fact that the game has a very dated graphics engine in terms of its character sprites. Thankfully the character sprites don't look like polygon blocks but they do remind me of very old plastic toys. Of course you won't be seeing them very often because you'll be glued to the various things you can do in the game.
If you're a person who doesn't have much patience in time consuming games then I suggest that you don't try Darkwind. The game really takes a lot of your time. Joining an event takes a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the place of the event in the event line. You can jump in an event even if it's still ongoing however more often than not you can only watch.
Cockpit information at the corner of your screen
I haven't even started on the time it takes to finish an event you happen to join. In one race I was able to watch a TV show while the race is still ongoing. To emphasize this point, I was in fact, leisurely getting off my pc chair and casually walking towards the TV to watch and I never missed a single preparation moment (or if I did I never realized it).
If you have tons of time on your hands and you want to burn it having fun, then Darkwind is the game for you.
Undeniably Darkwind is in fact a league on its own in terms of interest building and gameplay. However the game's limitations are also brought upon by its strength. The game is not just for anyone to play and in fact I can go as far as labeling the game as a niche game. However, the title doesn't bring justice to the amount of fun I had while I was playing the game.
The mix of innovation and a good physics engine makes Darkwind a game you can enjoy immensely, however to be able to enjoy the game fully, you must have a lot of time in your hands or you'd only graze what Darkwind has to offer.
- Innovative combat system
- Easy to install and download
- If you have problems you can either go to the wiki page or ask the people on the game lobby.
- It takes time to do things
- Battles take forever to finish
- Character graphics isn't too hot looking.