As someone that has made a few mods and maps for RTS games I have lived the dream of editing my own faction and tinkering with units but now with Forged battalion that “tinkering” becomes the precursor to each match you play.
Forged Battalion acts upon a idea that has been around for a while but has never become as popular as expected, Look at AOEII online,Rise of nations (R.I.P) but once again I have high hopes as I enjoyed the two now mentioned titles but they died sad confusing deaths.
I’ll admit my eyes glazed over when the story of rise of nations started to scroll up the screen as I have played so many real time strategy games I know the theme tunes, wrote the theme tunes and sang the theme tunes. What I really wanted was to design some tanks and the game wastes no time explaining the tech tree and unit builder and then sending you to battle.A match starts with your command center screen with the UI feeling like Command and conquer meets StarCraft and the enhance this feeling the first thing you do is build a power plant but instead of it building in the menu then shooting out the ground at your command it builds where you place it (Red alert 3 soviet style). Another throw back to command and conquer is the fact that building more than one production structure speeds up your creation on that type of unit instead of allowing you to create multiple at once.
Each game you play earns you tech points; these are spent on unlocking Customizations, hulls and weapons for you units and turrets. With the tree currently having seventy modules to unlock with some of my favourites being the heavy tracked hull, flame throwers and plasma weapons.
One thing that comes to mind about letting a player design troops in a RTS and that is balance, and rightfully so the genre is about strategy winning the day not my numbers are bigger this isn’t an RPG after all. With balance comes restrictions and rules, Units customized with better weapons and utility’s gain tech levels and need extra structures to have been built to allow there creation in game this is normal, The units cost and build time are also effected by fancier tech. This works really well, I found myself understanding very quickly that having a handful of low tech units for a variety of roles was important with each factory supporting four blueprints (Barracks, Light factory, Heavy factory, Airport). I currently have two cheap infantry for engaging The four units types (Infantry, light, heavy, Air) with my anti-structure forces been on tank and drone chassis. Along with my end game unit being the beefiest tank and drones my research can muster.
The fact I have tweaked my units in a way that allows me to go into each match with this play style is fun, I know if I see a strong anti-infantry presence early that I need to set up some static defence that I have customized to deal with threats my early forces struggle with and then tech up to my nicer tanks using my infantry to scout and harass instead of going for straight up engagements if my opponent doesn’t commit to enough anti-infantry forces they have to put money into static defence and give up map control allowing me to play greedy and get harvesting more money to get my large units fielded.
While this battle plan sounds great it is in no way perfect, thanks in part to forged battalion currently having a problem with game pace and resource flow (Feeling rushed and having all the money or no money) but we are in early access so I’m looking forward to myself and the soon to form community helping balance and pace the game. This is one to watch and even now one to play.