Besieger E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

This fantasy-based real-time strategy game is about the building and tearing down of defenses.

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The building and tearing down of walls is the idea behind Besieger, a fantasy-based real-time strategy game from Russian developer Primal Software. As in most real-time strategy games, you'll be tasked with gathering resources, expanding your base, and constructing an army with which to sweep the enemy off the map. But where Besieger takes an interesting twist is in the elaborate fortifications that you and your enemies can build. You'll have to lay siege to them in order to win while you also defend your own fortifications, hence the name of the game.

Besieger is set in a mythical feudal world, where the Vikings and the Cimmerians (an ancient people who inhabited the area of modern-day Russia) live in peaceful coexistence. That is, until the Cimmerians suddenly launch a war of aggression on their neighbors. You'll command both sides over the course of the game to determine the outcome of the war. Both sides feature more than 40 buildings and 20 units.

The graphics engine is similar to the one found in Primal's action role-playing game I of the Dragon. As such, it's capable of rendering gigantic levels. And while there are only 12 levels in the game, each is large enough to feature multiple objectives and missions. Another feature of the graphics engine is that it's capable of deforming the terrain in real time, which means you can use magic spells to literally reshape the land, raising and leveling mountains at will. Everything in the game is destructible, as well, and you can burn down forests and raze villages.

Besieging castles and fortified areas will be the highlight of the game. You can use heroes and powerful military units to breach enemy defenses, and you can even go around them if you have access to the appropriate flying units. Besieger will support up to 16 players in multiplay, and modes will include deathmatch and capture the flag.

Primal Software is wrapping up the localization of the game for the North American audience, and it should ship by the summer.

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