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Have you ever wanted to sit in your office while filling out paperwork and conquering the whole world at the same time?! Well, now you can! Battle Dawn is a browser based strategy game developed by Tacticsoft. It uses a turn based system that allows players to manage their cities and resources casually without the stress of playing a real time strategy game. The game allows you to form alliances, create enemies, lay waste to other user-created fortresses, and build your own into a magnificent powerhouse. I’m sure you’re all thinking that this sounds like a fun and easy game that you would casually play in your spare time, but is it as good as it sounds? Or does this browser game need a whole new direction? Find out in my Battle Dawn review below!
I think it’s a good idea to start things off by discussing the visual aspects of the game, because it’s usually where gamers get most of their impressions. From the first glance I unfortunately knew that the game’s graphics would not, could not, ever impress me. That’s not to say that the visuals are bad. Before I begin to tear into the game’s visuals, it’s very interesting to consider that the game has three selectable themes to play the game in: Mars, Earth and Medieval. Said themes don’t actually change the gameplay at all, but rather the unit names and background locations. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The entire game is built in Macromedia Flash, which will entitle it to some mercy points considering the game doesn’t use any three dimensional models. The game is entirely designed with 2-D artwork and sprite built icons. After glancing at the game’s map screen for a mere second I found it safe to say that the background art of the game (which is the majority of the scenery) has set its standards below the average MMO. The game’s visuals are only going to receive a mediocre grade for many reasons.
For starters, the scenery is very boring and bland. You spend most of your time in the game just staring at the green, yellow or white blotches on your map. These massive blocks of poorly textured land represent either grass, desert, or some sort of mountains. There is no diversity within the landscapes, and you will find that the same blotchy trash is everywhere you look. Is this a bad thing? Well it’s not very appealing, that’s for sure. I suppose it’s not so bad, because aside from these bland landscapes, there are actually relatively well done sprite images of all the fortresses and structures featured on the world map. These cute little buildings are EVERYWHERE. In fact, there are so many of these fortresses and camps that they almost cover up the landscape entirely. So, for all those dedicated players that like to build a ton of outposts, you guys/gals get brownie points.
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As for the game’s other minor sights to see; the menu is laid out fine, all the buttons and icons look good and the interface in general looks as pretty as it needs to be. In other words, it gets the job done. Here is my biggest problem. Despite what I’ve said, I don’t have any kind of real issues with the game’s visuals. I understand that this isn’t what the game’s about. Yes, the land needs some work and I’ve stressed that, but nothing looks any more ridiculous than the avatars players can create for themselves. I’m going to throw a picture of one up just so you can grasp what I’m talking about.
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I want you to try and tell me that you’ve seen something scarier than that guy! The picture above is actually what my in-game avatar looks like, and trust me: I tried to make him look presentable.
Let’s move on to something a little more important; the gameplay. At first glance, this game appears to be a general MMORTS. That’s what the official screenshots portray. But it’s not an RTS. This entire game is based on what Tacticsoft calls the tick system. Depending on what server you join, a tick may represent 1 or 2 hours. If you haven’t already guessed, this game is a turn based strategy game. You can do whatever you want with your units and structures, whenever you want, but in order for the game to progress and your units to move onwards, an hour in real time must pass. This completely removes all ambitions to play Battle Dawn. In an hour’s time, I’ve already gone and played another game, gone out to the bar, had a drink, come home, and caught the end of a show that was on. This is may be an exaggeration, but honestly there’s definitely plenty to do in an hour’s time. After all that waiting, do they really expect me to remember to go back and check my Battle Dawn progress? I think not. Although I suppose it’s not all bad. This tick system does give you wiggle room when setting up base defenses and counter attacks.
So the game doesn’t have a lot of actual game time, but what about its features? The game allows you to place a single main fortress and construct smaller outposts around it for the purposes of upgrading and transporting. Outposts can also be used to build such things as silos and radar towers. Each of these structures is granted its own unique abilities and strategic advantages. Players are capable of upgrading and building bigger and better structures to support your main city. These structures can provide you with things from gold farming to energy enhancements. Every structure is necessary to building a bigger and better army. A minor problem I had when I first started building (during the tutorial segment), was that you’re not given detailed instructions on how to place your main fortress. The only instructions your given is to just “place it” , but the way it’s laid out leads you to believe that you have to place it on a grayed (or empty looking) outpost. However these are actually just conquered player outposts. At a first glance, there was absolutely no way I was supposed to know this. I successfully wasted my first 5 minutes of game time trying to figure out how to place a city. I finally decided to try clicking on an open land patch. This was so obvious yet so well hidden.
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Once you have a base that’s well on its way to being bigger and more powerful, the game does pick up a little bit. I did enjoy making units and creating ships for them to be carried in. It’s also quite enjoyable to check back on the game every now and then to see how close your units are to your enemies base. As for the units available for construction, the game’s website boasts that there are a total of 27 units available to use. This doesn’t seem to be true. In Battle Dawn you are capable of creating a soldier, light vehicle, or a heavy vehicle. Now as far as I’m concerned, those are the only three available units to build and utilize. The reason behind the game stating that there are 27 units available for play, is because you are able to give your units 1 of 3 weapons plus an additional 1 of 3 upgrades. There are a possible 27 combinations of weapons and abilities. This is very cool and all but it also creates another major problem I have with Battle Dawn’s units.
There is no diversity to the game’s available forces. I want to see air ships and siege weapons. I want to see bomb strikes and artillery cannons. But as much as I would love to see all these things, the game lacks interesting units preventing Battle Dawn from actually thriving. Yes, you can create missile silos and use them as power weapons and such, but it would be nice to see a little more effort put into some of the more common units. Don’t get me wrong, changing the stats of your soldiers is great! But even if just a few more weapons and abilities were introduced, it would add some more depth to the unit customization which would be awesome! Other than the lack of available and diverse forces, I can say that each of the units definitely work well. There are units that overpower some and others to counter those oncoming forces. The game is well balanced, and I do like that the tick system provides the player with some time to prepare for an attack. Another important aspect to the unit creation is the spy. The spy plays a very important role once you have acquired the resources and structures to create one. I have to say, I did like toying around with my own secret agent. The spy is capable of infiltrating enemy bases and revealing what kind of defenses they might have in place. This allows you to create an effective task force that will easily crush your foe without him or her having the time to rebuttal against your massive counter army.
This is all sounds fine and dandy, yet it all still gets narrowed down to one key factor. There isn’t much to do in the game. Like I mentioned before, this game is meant to be played in your spare time at work. This is not a “World of Warcraft” type game that you can play for hours on end. I doubt this is even the type of game that you could play for 20 minutes straight. Once you’re done making some moves and building some units, the game comes to a halt. This gives you the time to go off and walk your dog for a couple hours before anything remotely enjoyable can happen. Even IF you happen to witness or take part in some action, it’s not as if the game is real time, so an enemy attack isn’t really life threatening nor is it exciting.
I’m sure you can all make a guess as to what I’m going to say regarding the game’s audio, and you’re actually probably wrong. This is where Battle Dawn shines its brightest. The audio in this game is surprisingly phenomenal. The game’s audio resembles a sort of Starcraft theme mixed in with some hardcore Red Alert metal music. I actually logged onto the game one day just so I could play the music in the background while doing other things on my computer. Not only is the music great but for some absolutely random reason, some of the game’s tracks include quotes from movies. Who doesn’t like conquering the globe with Samuel Jackson yelling, “Oh I’m sorry, did I break your concentration?” in the background. The audio in this game is just plain enjoyable. It sets a good hardcore feel to the game (without the hardcore aspect being present), and it really gets you pumped up to start a full out war.
Don’t count on it.
All in all, Battle Dawn is a very, VERY casual game. It lacks in the way of units and actual time spent playing the game. It provides the player with a moderate amount of unit customization (making up the game’s roster of units), as well as structural upgrades for your major city and outposts. Building up your fortress is a fun and entertaining time waster that will absolutely please the average powerhungry gamer. Unfortunately, Battle Dawn will not offer much in the visual aspect of things. However, it makes up for the fact with its kick-ass soundtrack that will get you jacked up and ready to take on the world. I recommend Battle Dawn to any and all casual gamers with some spare time and a sharp wit for strategies. For anyone who can’t wait to begin their global conquest, click here to visit the official Battle Dawn website.
Battle Dawn gets a solid 6.5/10.