Age of Darkness: Final Stand Steam Early Access Report (Launch)
Disclosure: This Age of Darkness: Final Stand Steam Early Access Report is based off of a copy of the game provide for free.
Age of Darkness: Final Stand, developed by PlaySide. recently entered Steam Early Access and I had no real expectations of what the experience was going to be. This is a survival RTS strategy game that is certainly different than any other RTS I’ve played. The goal is to defend your Keep from waves of Nightmares (enemies) in large quantities by building your base’s defenses and controlling a hero and building an army in a day/night cycle. You have to survive the Death Night, which is the phase after a certain amount of in-game day/night cycles until darkness sets in and the Nightmares start attacking. Unlike RTS games like Age of Empires or StarCraft, you don’t control the villagers or workers directly, instead you command villagers through each building’s interface to use or gather resources for the building selected. One of the more confusing aspects of Age of Darkness that I’m trying to get used to is how to manage supply and food, as the systems used in the game are a little different than the tradional RTS. A disappointing omission is that it currently doesn’t have a walkthrough tutorial and only a text tutorial in the menu. A lot of me learning the game was trial and error, but I did get better as I played more.
The game is a rogue-like experience because each map is randomly generated and one of the more frustrating experiences is how tight your starting position is, especially for a new player. The game is always requiring new buildings to tech up, but also just naturally to survive by building walls and towers. The problem is the buildings take up way too much space, so expanding early and having a plan is the best choice. The hero is probably one of the more interesting elements of this game so far, but right now in Early Access only one hero is available, Edwin, Wielder of the Flame. Two more heroes will eventually be available. I really like that the heroes level up and get skill points to put in a skill tree with choices of how to mold your character. Edwin is a melee hero, so one of his abilities that unlocks at a certain level is one that adds fire to his sword for a period of time. The game really does a great job of making heroes feel powerful and incentivizes you to keep them alive, otherwise you have to wait a while to resurrect or pay a price. Each Death Night gives a buff to the enemies of some kind, but if you survive the wave of Nightmares you get a Blessing that you can choose out of three choices that buffs you in similar way for that current match. Each set of days brings harder enemies and in much larger quantities. The farthest I got in my experience so far was day 15, when I failed holding off 2,000 Nightmares and I got destroyed.
Each game that I played felt different because I was learning the systems, but also the map layouts were not the same, The game’s best features right now are probably the dark visuals and some of the sound effects. I can definitely see myself playing a lot more of this because this is just the beginning of something much bigger.
Age of Darkness: Final Stand is expected to be in Steam Early Access for at least a year.
My Version 1.0 Wishlist:
- A Walkthrough Tutorial
- More Space in Starting Positions