Written by Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Real Time Strategy games have always had a huge influence on the video game industry. When you think back of perhaps the two most popular RTS games, Warcraft and Age of Empires, you can tell why exactly these two games have been so important. Both games were very popular in their own times, and both have had major influence in later game development in one way or another. But in the last few years, or perhaps even longer, the real time strategy genre has had a drought. It’s simply not the most popular competitive genre around anymore, and real time strategy games are more shifted into MMO-like games or single-player campaigns. Beside Starcraft, there hasn’t really been a very successful competitive strategy game to steal the spotlight. Forged Battalion hopes to change all this and has recently released its own take of the strategy genre, with plenty of focus on the competitive game mode.
Both Warcraft and Starcraft have had such a major influence for a while now, and are still at the top of the genre. Despite both games being of age now, their status in the industry is nothing to make fun of and I have always thought that both games were the golden standards of what games need to be. They have very smooth gameplay, with an interesting story and setting in the mix, and in my eyes there is nothing that could go wrong, unless you mess up with one of these layers of foundation of a successful strategy game. When I threw myself into the first game of Forged Battalion, I was immediately reminded why exactly the gameplay is so very important for a competitive strategy game.
Bluntly said, the game looks and plays exactly like the latest Starcraft 2 series, perhaps the most popular RTS game of these days. Despite their player struggles at times, Starcraft 2 is still immensely popular among strategy fans. Forged Battalion almost feels like I am playing some sort of expansion or addition to Starcraft 2. The gameplay is just as smooth and simple, but the foundation is a little easier to understand. In Forged Battalion there are no multiple races that you can choose between. Every side has the exact same class, but each individual unit can be changed outside of the game with the help of the Tech Tree and the Faction Creator.
In the Tech Tree you can unlock more additions for your units to pimp them out to your liking and style of play, making each composition of ‘factions’ different for each individual player. Each unit can have a different weapon, that has a different damage impact depending on what the unit is dealing damage to. By playing around you can definitely tweak to what works the best for you. Even though I am never a huge fan of rewarding veterans over newer players, it does give this game an extra element to play around with, and to slowly teach you the game further into knowing your units. Since most units are still relatively the same, but are mostly just different depending on their weapon, you don’t really get surprised too much when facing other players.
By playing you will be given research points, these can then be used to unlock things on the tech tree. When unlocked you are able to create new units with the additions of your choice that you can then build in every game.
But why exactly does this game remind me a lot of Starcraft? Well that’s easy. Not only does this game has the minerals feature of Starcraft, the whole interface and feel of the game is very similar to that of Starcraft 2. While the game does its best of being its own unique thing, you can find a lot of elements that have had an important role in other RTS games, mainly just Starcraft 2. You start out with three Harvesters that mine minerals for you. These minerals can be found near your Command Center, and with the addition of a Refinery you can mine them quicker and get more harvesters. When buying the refinery, other buildings open up like the Barracks and Factory. Both of these open up the availability of the Comm Center which then open sup what you can consider late game units or the highest tier units: the Heavy Vehicle Factory and Aircraft Factory. So systematically you need to progress as fast as you can while still trying to outsmart your opponent with your tech and units production. Units also look and feel very similar to Starcraft 2. Now I know there isn’t a lot of room to play around when it comes to strategy games, and I know that most games that usually do try to do their own thing usually do not get as big as they hope to be, so this is all said in a very positive way, because the Starcraft 2 method seems to have worked well, and I personally am a big fan of this particular style and feel of playing.
Conclusion: Great So Far
Solid game, but since it looks so very similar to other strategy games, it begs the question of what its place in the industry/genre can be.
This gets us to the question: Is Forged Battalion a game that we can look back at in ten years time, and say it added to the foundations of the strategy genre? The answer is No, not really. This isn’t really meant in a negative way, while Forged Battalion is a very fun game, and I really hope its player numbers start to increase a lot more. Forged Battalion is nothing but a reskin of games we have seen before, with the addition of a tech tree that allows the player some customization. While the basic foundations of Forged Battalion are proven to be rock solid, it does beg the question of why exactly you should play this game in the first place, and not its already proven successful older brothers? This is a question I really do not have an answer to. While Forged Battalion is a very solid and fun game, it really doesn’t add anything new to the strategy genre and ‘Faction Creator’ isn’t enough of a reason to change games like these.