Aug 15, 2013

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Rivals at War 2084 Review

Rivals at War 2084 Review

RAWcover Many games on the mobile platform have a difficult time embodying the action-packed experience of shooter-genre games typically played via PC or console. When I first saw Rivals at War 2084, I was expecting a multiplayer shooter game that I can play on my iPhone, but I was so wrong. Hothead Games takes the challenge of bringing a shooter to the mobile space and creates something entirely new and exciting for all levels of gamers. I haven’t had the chance to play the original Rivals at War, but the newest title, Rivals at War 2084, does retain the basics of that game. In the Rivals at War series, you manage a team where each member is controlled by AI in battle. It’s an odd idea to take in at first, but it surprisingly works well for a game that you can play on the go. For instance, instead of taking control of the characters like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you watch the chaos unfold in real time. I actually enjoyed watching my AI-controlled team duke it out for the objective. One frustrating part about watching AI-controlled units, though, is their behavior. Sometimes I find my team moving into crossfire or even staying still when the capture zone is obviously free from enemy fire. Other instances, like awkward routes or pauses in movement, make watching the live battles pretty stressful. The default view is third-person and you can pick which of your team members to follow by clicking their name at the bottom of the screen. An optional top-view is available for those that want to see their team’s tendencies from a wider perspective. The gameplay experience is similar to watching a live sports game in which anything could change the direction of the game. This is where Rivals at War 2084′s card system comes into play. ingame Like its predecessor, RaW 2084 revolves around a card system that creates a multitude of possibilities for customization and strategy. When you begin your game, you start off with a team that you can then continue to build and improve on as you gather more and more currency. Booster packs of cards are given through both rewards and the exchange of in-game coins and “bucks.” There are seven different types of cards that you can use that include: Soldier, Skill Perk, Add Skill, Tactic, Patch, Gear and Tour. Each type of card has its own levels of rarity that can cause collectors, like me, to go crazy for these things (unfortunately). Thankfully, it’s quite easy to accumulate coins and “bucks” – for those that aren’t big fans of micro-transaction – which makes it quite balanced in competing with other fellow players. The customization is probably the best part of this game. Cards such as the Soldier and Gear types have random stats that can affect one’s strategy in balancing a team. Choosing between the six different class types can affect how you team maneuvers on the battlefield as well. Scouts, Medics, and Commanders tend to be on the front lines, while Heavy Gunners, Demolishers, and Snipers tend to stay back and rain pain from afar. Aside from that, Tactic cards can assist in each battle. You decide which tactics cards to use (three per battle) before learning who your next opponent is. A nice feature of Rivals at War 2084 is that you can skip the viewing of the battle and go straight to the end screen that shows each team’s stats. If you have ten-plus battles that you need to play to finish an objective, skipping to the end is an easy way to finish those. Games can’t invoke the intensity and excitement of a space skirmish without some great music and sound effects. Rivals at War 2084‘s music fits perfectly with the tone of the game. The sound effects of the weapons, tactical abilities, menus, and voices really create the sense of being at war in space. I would even say it reminds me of the Starship Troopers series or the Terran race from Starcraft.

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Rivals at War 2084 has a few game modes to choose from, including: Quick Battle, Rivals, Campaign, and Star Map. The Star Map is simply the story mode, where you complete objectives from planet to planet. This feature works great for sci-fi games like this, but the battles themselves lack variety. Each battle has a “story” or briefing, but it’s a shuffle through about four or so scenarios. Adding to that, the battles are simply a King of the Hill mode with other online players or random non-user teams every time. King of the Hill is perfectly fine for this genre, but it grows tiresome after a while. One feature that adds to the game’s replay value is the online leader boards. Here you can see how you fare against fellow players through the Campaign mode. You can even challenge a player for a rematch if you’re in for some payback. As you can probably tell so far, though, you need to be online to play this game. The battles go through matchmaking even if it’s with non-user teams. It’s unfortunate, because the times I do want to play mobile games include when I don’t want to use my data or when I’m taking transportation underground. Ultimately, Rivals at War 2084 does a great job of creating an action-packed strategy shooter game for the mobile platform. It’s very simple to pick up for any level player, it’s a beautiful game visually and musically, and the access to high-level cards isn’t too difficult at all, with rewards to be given here and there. It would be nice if the game included more of an in-depth story, improved AI, and if there was an offline mode to test tactics against default bots, but that in particular doesn’t really take away from the game’s primary function – competitive play. With that said, Rivals at War 2084  is onto something here and I can’t wait to see what they think up next for mobile gaming.

Rivals at War 2048
Platform: iPhone 4 (reviewed)/4S/3S & 5, iPad, iPod touch 3rd/4th/5th Gen, Android devices
Genre: Strategy
Release Date: July 18, 2013
Developer: Hothead Games Inc
Publisher: Hothead Games Inc
ESRB Rating: 12+
MSRP: Free


7.5