The Gamespot review of this game completely missed the mark... Strategy and RPG fans, dont miss this great game!
robertleva wrote this review on .
I didnt bother sticking up for the prequel to this game, UFO: Aftershock, because I had to fight the much hated Starforce tooth and nail every time I wanted to play. Now, however, Starforce is gone and Altar has only improved on the already solid formula that is UFO.
UFO: Afterlight is essentially a turn based strategy game in which you pit your team of Space Marines against hordes of alien bad guys determined to obliterate the human race once and for all. The plotline picks up right where UFO: AS left off. We lost the battle for Earth, and the scattered remains of humanity have to make a new home on Mars, with the help of some of the more "humane" aliens that felt sorry for us after they hijacked our planet.
The game consists of two main parts: The strategic game is where you manage your base and territories, research and manufacture new technologies and interact with alien factions. They have streamlined this portion of the game a lot by making it so you only have one base to manage and you dont have to store up certain quantities of metal or other resources. For example if you have two metal mines you are at resource level 2 for that particular resource and you can manufacture as many items as you want, so long as the items dont require anything other than level 2 of metal. This is a huge improvement over past UFO games where you had to constantly wait to build up resources to make new weapons or armor etc. That part of the game wasnt fun, just tedious, and it wont be missed.
The other side of the game is where you will be spending the vast majority of your time, the tactical missions. This is where your team of futuristic Navy Seals will actually do battle. You have complete control over you squad, and while this is essentially a turn based game it wont feel like it because of the brilliant interface and gameplay. You will issue commands to your squad while the action is paused, then unpause the game and watch them move out, if anything happens that makes you want to change their plan you can repause the game at any time to issue new orders. You can also adjust the game speed to suit your taste, slow motion for those tough battles, and double time for when you just want to move your whole team across an empty map.
The equipment that you have researched and manufactured in the strategic side of the game will greatly affect your combat tactics. There are many different types of damage, physical, projectile, acid, and incindiary just to name a few, and you will need to learn which aliens are vulnerable to which types to be successful. As your technologies improve your battle tactics must adapt to take advatage. For example, you may want sneak your dual sword wielding close combat specialist near the horde of baddies so you can get a clear view of the terrain and relay enemy locations back to the rest of the team. Then have your snipers take out enough bad guys from a distance that your melee units can just mop up the edges.. There are as many paths to victory here as there are players of the game, its all up to you, the game certainly has enough depth in this department for even the most meticulous micro-manager.
Some of you may be wondering why I recommended this game to any RPG fan. Well, having played many RPGs I feel that this particular series has distilled everything I like about RPGs and taken out all the fluff. You will spend a lot of time equipping your squad with new gear you find on the battlefield or manufacture, as well as leveling up your team, just like in an RPG.
You will be forced to decide which team members you want focusing on long range, and assign ability points accordingly. You will also need some healers, some close combatants, and of course some hybrids. The best part is its all up to you. You are given a blank slate of units and you can customize them however you want! There is a ton of depth in this aspect of the game and its tons of fun. The tactical missions are basically like your random battles in an RPG, though some of these fights can last for a long time. The strategic game is like the overworld in an RPG where you advance the plotline. The plot is very interesting and detailed by the way. The only difference between this game and a standard RPG is that near ridiculous level of control you have over the game.
The last aspect of this game I want to touch on is the fact that is is completely customizable though the use of user created mods. I cant believe the Gamespot reviewer complained about the difficulty being all over the place and then not even mention the fact that the large fanbase has modded just about everything you could want in the game already. All you have to do is download the appropriate mod. Personally,I like a very difficult game, so I played through the game once on default, then I downloaded a mod that completely overhauls the game and increases the difficulty drastically. Instead of missions with 8-9 enemies now I have 30-40 to deal with. Needless to say I had to completely rework my tactics both in and out of combat just to stand a chance! But wow what a blast and talk about replay value! Zelda's second quest has nothing on this game!
Overall I think this is a fantastic game, and the definitely the best one in the series to date. This series has a large fanbase so Im sure that there will be more titles to come, but I had to chime in here and give the game the kind of review it deserves. I normally put a lot of weight into Gamespot reviews, and I have purchased games in the past based solely off the reviews here. Usually they get it right, but not this time. Give this game, and series, a chance guys, you wont regret it!