And being an idiot, I bought it. 800 MS points, or roughly four thousand Australian pesos, for a game I already own. I was sucked in by the promise of Advanced Levels (they didn't mention they were the same levels, but harder) and by big new Commander Units (they didn't mention these units were only for online play, which requires an eighty-dollar Gold account to access).
It looks great, but has some bugs and exhibits all the hallmarks of a product rushed to completion. For every great new feature added, there's some annoying little thing that they could have sorted with just a little more effort. Here's a brief summary, which I'll no doubt be updating.
- You can highlight the Zone of Control for all units on both teams with a button press.
- You can view the range of movement and attack of your units with a button press.
- You can speed up the battle and movement sequences.
- Colour blind players are given icons to represent unit affiliations. I know people who will benefit from this.
- You can't use the analogue stick for unit selection. Instead, it's used for map scrolling, and you're forced to use the execrable d-pad to mis-select units and targets.
- You can't tell without clicking first which units can come out of a factory.
- The process for moving a unit is click to select, move cursor and click, and finally click to confirm. If you want to attack, it's select, move, select target, confirm. If you reflexively click/move/click, you lose your attack option, and there's no undo.
- When set to FAST, the computer instantly selects his units, but slowly moves the cursor to their new location, and the units instantly move. Why can't it instantly move the cursor? Argh!
- If you select medium combat speed, the next time you load the game the combat's still fast but the info graphics are slow, so the combat's over before the action-obscuring info boxes are cleared. WTF.
- No new levels. No new levels!! What the fuck, guys?
The good is really good, it makes a game that's a little obtuse to the new players much more approachable. Unfortunately it's not quite finished, and it's a little annoying for it. The thing is though, it's one of the best hex strategy games ever made, with simple but real strategy setting it apart from the stats-heavy military sims or the attrition-fest that is Nintendo's Advance Wars.
I'm not holding my breath for a patch or updated release, but I'm going to hope for one all the same.
Now, back to it.