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Confrontation

The Age of Rag’narok has begun. A war has erupted between the Akkylannians and the Scorpion, between light and dark, for control over Aarklash. But, somewhere behind the front lines bizarre experiments are being performed. An elite squad of Griffins is sent into battle, deep into Syharhalna territory into the laboratories where the alchemists of Dirz manufacture their clone armies. On paper that’s a load of gibberish, and not even the foreboding narrator that delivers each line, laden with references to this other world, can grant the story of Confrontation enough sense to care about its situation or characters.

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The characters are nothing more than puppets meant to be pushed along the winding dungeon trail from the beginning to the end of every mission. They have no depth. Sure, they enjoy shouting responses when ordered to move, but these responses are usually delivered poorly and written to match. Hearing “Forward!” and “For Merin!” or “My armor protects me!” over and over again is tiresome. It’s also the only time any of the plethora of characters you command are granted voice, a situation that gives them, as characters written in a story, less depth than the characters of Duke Nukem Forever.

Now then, that’s not to say that a game can be overloaded by strange terminology and boring characters and not be considered excellent. There are plenty of games with gibberish cluttering up their stories (see Metal Gear Solid) and plenty of games with boring characters (see Rainbow Six: Las Vegas) that are amazing games despite their shortcomings. This is not the case for Confrontation.

On the surface the presentation of the game borrows heavily from Warcraft 3, from the way that units move and attack, to the way abilities are used. A better way of comparing it would be to Dragon Age: Origins. Battles are fought in real-time with a pause button that allows the time to dole out orders to the members of the squad, without having to worry about things like finding them in the mess of the battle before they die. Missions play out via lengthy dungeon crawls, forcing the squad to slowly battle their way through to the finish.

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All of this is done while battling the terrible AI that guides the squad through the narrow hallways. There is something of a pattern that the squad is meant to move in. There is a leader, the unit marked at the top right corner, who moves in front. All units marked below the leader are meant to move behind. Bad pathing frequently forces you to maneuver the squad around until it’s faced the right way. Is one of your squad members blocked from approaching the enemy? Sorry, that kid is way too dumb to think of walking around the squadmate standing next to him.

There are attempts made to avail the repetition that clogs this crawler. New types of units with different abilities spring up to fight. As the story continues new factions, including wolfen and orcs, seek to put a stop to your happy trail. Only these new units are just as lackluster as the previous, and these new factions do little more than swap the color palate.

Confrontation is an unfortunate mess of a game, cluttering enough junk to prevent whatever good that lies within from shining through. The customization that it allots is overshadowed by repetitive battles and scenery. Characters exist entirely to act as parts of the squad and resonate to nothing more, participating in a story whose desire to muddle itself up in its own fiction only showcases how impressive the voice actor that narrated it was. Try saying out loud, without failing, that the Akkylannians must find and defeat the mecasyatis clones unleashed upon Syharhalna. Not an easy task.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

Gentle persuasion

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