Space...It's a great place to send convicted felons, go places where no man has gone before and... Oh yeah get into a war with an alien race. That last one being the premise of "Tryst", BlueGiant Interactive's newest Real-Time Strategy for PC. At first, this futuristic title felt very familiar but soon revealed that it is far different than I expected it to be.
The story follows Oliver Petrovich, an Overseer of the mining of a powerful compound known as Lohun on the planet Ishtonia IV. War has just erupted on this planet co-inhabited by the 5th generation descendants of convicted criminals used as cheap labor by a corporately controlled World Government and a race of sentient metal aliens known as the Zali. Oliver, complete with Russian accent, is unwilling thrown into a war and with the aid of an equally reluctant human Rebel Aeryn Ozarr, must find out what sparked the war.
If you've ever played an RTS in your life, StarCraft II being the closest example, then Tryst will be a breeze to pick up on as far as gameplay. If not there are several video tutorials, courtesy of the developers, to aid the newcomers into the action. This is a very nice and welcome touch to get players up to speed instead of getting instantly trounced inside of five minutes by the game or another real player online. Truth be told is that Tryst isnít all that hard though it does have its moments. What is hard however is the player choices you have to make in the campaignís short run.
Unlike most RTSís out there you have to make choices throughout each of the gameís five levels. Often this will happen several times in one level. Iím all for choices in games as it makes the experience more worthwhile and invested in. For instance, you are given the option to keep a critically important power generator running or repair a radio tower to call for backup at one point. At first, the choices may seem obvious, but that can be grossly deceiving, so choice wisely.
These choices do come with some consequences, but the folks at BlueGiant have that covered with the Augmentation Research Mechanism game mechanic. A.R.M for short does two things for the player. The first is that it allows for customizable loadouts on each of your units. Each unit has their own unique upgrades that can enhance their natural abilities. The second thing it does is make the disadvantages caused by your choices a little less painful. It may not completely save your bacon but with a little skill it will help even the odds.
In my experiences with RTSís you spend a good deal of time navigating across expansive and often rugged terrain. Usually itís just a means to extend the experience and throw as many enemy forces in your path as possible. While that last part still holds true, the environment plays a more important role. The maps you fight on are full of choke points to spell your doom, but the terrain and manmade structures like barricades and bunkers make excellent cover. It also gives your units an often much needed stat modifier.
Tryst may have a single player experience but its main attraction and focus is in its two multiplayer modes; Skirmish and Multiplayer. Skirmish is where you can test you skills with up to 8 people or by yourself and 7 AI opponents in 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4 combat locally. If you want to kick it up a notch you can play with up to 8 people in the multiplayer mode over the internet. Thankfully you can get this game via Steam in a 4 pack ($60) for a little intense "friendly" competitive action. There are 5 maps to choose from varying in size and allowed players.
Graphically, Tryst features a nice crisp interface that is easy to read and navigate with controls that feel smooth and responsive. Design wise all the units are easy to tell apart and the environment looks pretty good. There were a few areas that seemed a little unpolished but for the most part Tryst looks sharp. The motion comic style presentation of the background story while informative came off a little lacking featuring minimal movement in body movements. The audio however isn't too bad as far as the music and sound effects go. The only part I didn't really like was the Russian voice actors. Everyone in the game is Russian which wouldn't be so bad if the game took place there. If there is a World Government then it would stand to reason that there would be some variation in the voices.
Tryst has only been out for a week now, and I can see this one gaining a little popularity for a few reasons. One, itís easy to play and despite only having five maps there is apparently the potential for future DLC allowing for hours of RTS battles with friends both locally and online. The game is retailing for $25 bucks on Steam right now for its core version as well as a slightly more expensive version that will give you access to all future DLC down the road, which is nice. If you like StarCraft II and want to try something a little unique than I would definitely grab a few buddies and give Tryst a try.