PREVIEW: Ashes of the Singularity

Status: Early Access

Developer: Oxide Games, Stardock Entertainment

Publisher: Stardock Entertainment

Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)

Release date: 31st March 2016

Type: Single-Player, Multi-player

I had and I still have great expectations from Ashes of the Singularity. Real-time strategy game set in the, I assume, distant future.  This is a game with big potential to bring back RTS genre or at least part of it, to its golden ages.

The game is currently in the Early Access or to be more accurate, it’s in the second third of beta 1 (at least was at the time of writing this preview). Ashes of the Singularity is built-in the first native 64-bit real-time strategy game engine called, Nitrous engine. With this engine, developers are able to make  maps of unprecedented size and detail, show thousands of the units on the screen and very smart AI. Even though the game doesn’t have the story, it is based on the Singularity. The Singularity is a theory of the future development of humans and AI. As our minds become increasingly augmented by artificial enhancements, there will come a point where the un-augmented human brain can no longer comprehend the advancements being made.

The reasons from the above paragraph motivated me to ask the developers to give me the copy of the game, so I can try it. Ashes of the Singularity can bring back good old memories and bring back RTS genre where it belongs. The game can even improve the genre and hopefully force or motivate other developers to start developing similar strategy games or even better strategy games. If AOTS succeeds, then we can already talk about the comeback of the genre. I will not spend whole this preview, talking about RTS genre, but I wanted to bring closer, this game and what potential it has to you.

As in every strategy game, same is here: you start with the main base and one worker. There are two materials to collect at the moment: metal and radioactive material. Logistics is the number of how many units you can have and Quanta is some kind of in game currency I would say, because with quanta you upgrade your buildings and you can call in the Orbital Support. Those are four most important things in the game. As you progress, you will unlock more buildings, conquer more power generators and you will need more radioactive material than metal in the end. The only problem is that there are far more power generators with metal than with radioactive material. You have the resource, production, defense and orbital types of the buildings. We all know for what are resource buildings used, production type of buildings is where you build the army. There are about 10 units available at the moment for you to construct and lead them to the battle. You have at least one unit for each purpose in the game. If you want quick attack, slower-powerfull attack, scout enemies, explore the map and many more. The game has diversity and I like a lot.

Buildings are another story in this game. Why? Well each building is upgradeable, production upgrades, combat upgrades and plus each building has the orbital abilities. Basically you can choose any building in the game, choose the ability and attack the enemy or help your units. It’s something like when you choose the hero and use his special ability on the enemy team. As I said, there is so much diversity in this game and because of it, this is very hard and for some people it could be very complex strategy game. The harder difficulty you put, the more “smarter” and “creative” you will need to be. After playing few matches on beginner difficulty, I’ve decided to change it to the easy difficulty and you can already notice how opponents are more aggressive and smarter.

For now, game offers single-player and multiplayer mode. By single-player mode I mean the skirmish. You can play against one or up to five opponents on 20 different maps, each designed for specific number of players. There are four options with which you can change the game a little bit. You can hide or expose the map, choose how much points will be needed for the victory, will there be neutral defenders and will the starting positions be default or random. Two factions are available at the moment: PHC and Subcrate. To be honest I didn’t notice any huge difference between two factions or some advantages, for now they are pretty much the same. Only units and buildings are differently designed. I was able to play and test the multiplayer mode, but there aren’t a lot of players, at least when I was playing. I assume there are far more players over the weekend, but I must say I am a little bit disappointed that this game doesn’t have a bigger playerbase. The reason why might this game isn’t so popular is that you need a little bit more powerful PC and even if you meet the requirements, you will still have some problems, because of the game’s not good optimization.

I’ve written more in this preview than I have written in some reviews. It really depends on how the game is: good or bad, simple or complicated, story or no story. Ashes of the Singularity is big, a little bit complex, good game and it’s an attempt to get back RTS genre where it belongs. There are a lot of contents to be added in the future and I think that Ashes of the Singularity can be only better game. If you like RTS games, then you should consider getting this game, even if it’s in early access. Support the developer and the game, because this is a brave attempt and I think a success.


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