|Multiplayer Demo review
Hardly had a month passed than the second demo version of Fallout Tactics draw the first breath. The punctuality and exactness of Interplay always amazed me. I'm just surprised with the accuracy and the exactness the games by this company come into the shelves of shops. Even the video sample with a gameplay, that has been discussed since the August of 2000, came into being.
The first demo of Fallout Tactics was taken in a very ambiguous way. That must be an Interplay tradition. Just call to your memory how the Baldur's Gate was accepted, what was with the first demo-version of Fallout and many others. Each time, the completed product distinguished from its demo-versions in a breathtaking way with the quality and the depth of elaboration.
The appearance of the second version of Fallout Tactics can be treated as a sign event. After just a thirty minutes of gameplay a had an amazing feeling that a got a new game. There were so many changes, reworks and new stuff that I'm in stuck what to start with...
Let's start with the beginning - with a single-player mode. Developers made a dodge that should be praised. The second demo does not have new maps for a single-player mode. Probably, designers addled their brains for quite a long time in attempts to create something that would allow them to demonstrate all the innovations and to save some time for preparation of the game. With the God's help, developers decided that the most effective way to make a gamer feel the changes is to offer him to play old levels in a new way. It is so for gamers to be able to feel all the depth of the work done. And they have succeeded!
You are now playing the 'new' maps with a much more interest. If in the previous version the first mission could be completed with losses only by a lazy or pained-by-the-Nature person... that now, Fellows, you should make up your minds to the fact that you will be definitely 'had', under all the show program. The time of irons and copper has passed away. Although the AI is not perfect, but it will not be hard to see how clever and 'adult' it has become. For example, your enemy will not let you anymore to force an action at the distance for you prefer. It is not even a merit of AI, but a well debugged interaction of real-time and step-by-step system.
Artificial Reflexes generated into the Intellect. A wounded enemy will not try to run away in panic and hide. Now he is learnt to drop back and make an ambush behind corners. All the actions of the Intellect have become rational. While in close combat computer can shift to the cold steel arms or to make a doublet shot, he will not anymore make a round shots when he is surrounded by his team. And, at long last, he reloads his weapon! Now, we just have to wait until he is able not just to act on a defense but also to advance.
A special attention should be paid to the innovations in the design of the game. A mini-map in the left corner is more detailed now, you can see much more relief details. You can see 'who' and 'where' is located. Enemies are the red dots, your team is white ones, and NPC are blue ones. But the most useful 'breakthrough' of this version seems to be control panel for the step-by-step system with two darling keys 'End Turn' and 'End Combat'. Truly, all the new stuff is the well-forgotten old one!
Developers elaborated the game tactics. Now there is a portrait for each soldier on a control panel. It is not just an esthetic feature, there is an info on it: current health power (HP), level of protection (AC). Although a greenish view of portraits and imprecise picture does not make them too nice. The only thing the designers have forgotten to add is the action points counter (AP). As earlier it is too hard to define how many AP the fighter has if the general quantity of these darling numbers is more then 10. But, similar to Jagged Alliance 2, during the walking you can see, under the cursor, how many AP you need. In the slots for the weapon you can see how many grenades (as well as other projectile arms) have left in your knapsack. Altogether, to describe all the changes (mostly successful) will take about two pages.
The system for choosing the combatants suffered some changes. The soldiers chosen in a distinct team will be lightened with a distinct color. But because of the same coloration and appearance (all have the same type of armor), it is, from time to time, hard to distinguish combatants and their locations. And it is in the CTB mode when any delay is equal to the death. We can just hope that in the final version developers will cover an option to have the tablets with fighters' aliases under their heads.
The system of the combat was changed. There will be at least three modes in Fallout Tactics. An ordinary TB mode was partitioned into Individual and Squad TB. The first one is a simple step-by-step system, while in the second one each side has move with all the team at one time (as in Battle Isle 2). Choosing the combat mode you should bear in your mind the quantity of gamers and the quality of the connection.
A multiplayer game is the most delicious in the Fallout Tactics. The demo-version has only two variants of multiplayer mode - Assault and Skirmish. The first one seems to come from the Unreal, the second is the RTS legacy, like Red Alert and KKnD. But the Tactics developers has not stopped on the simple compilation of distinctions of RTS and TBS net games. BOS system offers you different unique facilities. For example, while in the map you can now define the day time, not just day/night, but different hours of sunset and dawn. Such minutiae tell on the combat tactics, on the level of combatants' perception. The cutest feature for me seems to be the regulation of the 'Friendly Fire'! It means that you can define how much damage your 'brother' will suffer (in Tactics we all seem to be brothers) from a friendly case-shot fired into his back. Frankly speaking, I cannot recover in my memory whether such a feature was used in any other game. For those who love to thick there is a regulator for a speed of AP regeneration in the CTB mode. And accordingly, you may limit a time for a move in the TB mode, and to define the aggregate combat continuance.
For each type of game-mode there is a unique map. In the Skirmish mode everything is awfully easy. You appear in the map, divided into two parts with railway and rusty cisterns. Your aim is to locate and destroy your enemy. The Assault mode has its own map. Here one side takes a defensive position while another one has to find the way to take the enemy's fortress by assault.
But developers do not plan to stop on these two game modes. It is planned to have a cool ten of kinds for multiplayer game mode. Chris Taylor told that there will be 'deathmatch' and 'capture the flag' and a good doze of another good stuff.
The ways of the network game are worthy to be discussed. You can use a local net, modem and the GameSpy Arcade service. The last gives rise to unfavorable criticism. First of all, make sure that you have the latest version of this service client (at the moment when this article is composed it is 1.01b). But it does not solve all the problems. Unfortunately, service of GameSpy is unfriendly and intolerant to firewall and proxy. So, you have to make a hocus-pocus to make it work.
In spite of all the skepticism of previous versions of Fallout funs, CTB, without any controversy, won its right for a place under the sun. But the sky is not that clear as desired. If you own the 33.6 modem do not even try to play with fellows over the ocean - it is as slow as a turtle, maybe just a bit faster... Although, in a ReadMe file it recommended to have a dial-up connection not less than 56K.
If the connection is good a multiplayer mode of Fallout Tactics makes a good impression. It seems to be a unique project that allows to combine the dynamism FPS and thoughtfulness of the strategic games.
I was agreeably surprised that it is not allowed to save progress in any of multiplayer modes in the demo version. Did you like the 'Iron Mode' mode in the Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business? So, try your tactical genius in single-player missions and try to complete the game without any 'saves' and 'loads' - an ocean of adrenalin is guarantied!
Altogether, the multiplayer mode makes a good impression. Hardly one can doubt about Fallout Tactics successful future. But there is another point - how much will the role-playing features be developed. I will not judge beforehand as far as developers did not plan to make stress on the role-playing past of Fallout in the demo-version. But it is quite possible to declare that this game will leave its shiny mark in the game industry, and under the good circumstances in put a start to Tactics series. So, I'll say the same I said about the first version of еру Tactics demo, - the second one definitely worth downloading!
Now, the only we can its to suggest what changes will be made in the game. The next station - its release to the stores shelves. In general, I wish you have more frags and interesting gameplay!
- Yuri Bushin