Storm Rising Up From the Sea
Innovation is always a double edged sword when it comes to game design. New innovations can mean expanding your audience, introducing new gamers to a brand new genre and making a whole lot of money – this would be the case with Halo proving that console shooters can be done well and be enjoyable. However, in the case of something like Stormrise, the innovation walks that incredibly fine line between being ridiculous and being an incredible work of genius.
To backpedal a little bit, Stormrise is Sega’s latest and greatest RTS. It touts brand new gameplay capabilities as well as a new and interesting storyline – of course, only one of these is true. Stormrise is a weird kind of experience – it almost demands that you be as “into” the game as the developers were when they originally conceived of it.
The reality of Stormrise is that it truly is unique when it comes to a control scheme. Rather than an RTS like Halo Wars that is really a PC RTS ported over to the console, Stormrise takes you away from the omniscient point of view you typically enjoy and brings the action down to a more personal level, almost like a third-person shooter.
This is where the game gets interesting, because you’ll have to issue tactical commands as more of a general on the battlefield as opposed to a mighty overlord floating high and safe above the clouds. The game is complicated when it comes to the gameplay, but the steep learning curve is well worth the effort because a good tactical approach to a situation is more fun than your traditional RTS experience.
Of course, the lack of information is disturbing – you’ll find yourself mysteriously losing units and having to practically play with the manual open in order to remember which units are which and how everything is going on the battlefield.
Also, rather than giving you an exciting new experience, most maps will give you the same old hackneyed scenario – the enemies on one side of the map and you on the other side. This gets old rather quickly, but it still keeps it fresh for the duration of the game as long as you don’t think about it too much.
Games like Killzone 2 and the like try to wow you with their graphics – this is the exact opposite case with Stormrise – it will pit you against ugly-looking enemies that sort of look reminiscent of the locusts from Gears of War. As a matter of fact, the spider-looking creatures might as well be the Corpsers directly from Gears – it’s rather eerie and just feels more like stealing the ideas from another company than anything else.
The sound design also fails to impress, but significantly less than the graphics do. From up close, the textures look fuzzy and lo-res, which are two things you never want out of a next generation title.