Dec 19, 2015This game shows a highly innovative, I'd even say genius mechanic of time travel in a real-time strategy - something no one has done before or since (up to 2015). In short, you can give orders to units in the past and in the future, and there are "update waves" which travel at about 3x faster than normal time. Also you can teleport units across the battlefield with teleporters and into theThis game shows a highly innovative, I'd even say genius mechanic of time travel in a real-time strategy - something no one has done before or since (up to 2015). In short, you can give orders to units in the past and in the future, and there are "update waves" which travel at about 3x faster than normal time. Also you can teleport units across the battlefield with teleporters and into the past/future with chronoporters. So, basically, you can do tricks by sending units into the past to help their older doubles and so on - use your imagination. This sounds like an amazing game decades ahead of its time, but sadly its poorly designed tutorial and heavily scripted missions will turn off most players and make them drop the game in frustration. I heard good things about multiplayer but you won't find anyone thru the lobby, only thru forums of this game's fans, which are in short supply.
I could endure only the demo and 3 missions, even restarted the game and played them once again to understand the mechanics better. And though I did understand how this game works with some effort, I doubt many gamers even would.
Too many units are introduced too fast. The tutorial popups ask you to do stuff but don't let you do it before you press OK which actually hides the instructions about what you need to do. The scripted events take control off from you unexpectedly, place new units and give orders to other units, creating even more confusion than the already complex time-traveling system. While the control is taken away from you, characters are talking and the battle goes on. This feels like a nuthouse. Sometimes you aren't even sure if what has just happened is a bug, a scripted event or a game mechanic in action.
I found the story trashy, though if you have nostalgic feelings for Star Wars (I don't), you may find it ok, as even the main character has the name "Luke". The 2D art is amateurish and, together with this Star Wars-like setting gives this game a "trashy" feel, like it was a school project done by teenagers - while the ingenuous combat system of this game deserved so much more. The 3D units are hard to tell from each other. The ground is covered with big uniform textures taken from some free online libraries, with strange lighting and huge, almost unit-sized bumps and long black shades in which smaller units get lost. The huge low-polygonal terrain objects look ugly next to tiny, much more detailed units. The air units hover so high above that you can't see where exactly they are located in relation to ground units (and their shades are shifted) - and where you need to bring your anti-air units so that they could fire at those air units. The controls are clumsy, the GUI is poor, with too few tips. The music is pretty good though.
The game introduces an interesting mechanic of grouping units with hierarchies of command - which also allows you to save on orders while giving orders in the past or the future (the number of orders you can give is limited by "chronoenergy"). But hierarichies don't work well, as units following a leader don't have a fixed formation, tend to spread and walk in ever expanding crowds which leads to edge units getting killed with no one helping them because the rest of the formation is out of range and won't come to assist other units in the formation.
Save files get corrupted and don't load, so if you fail (e.g. in the very first mission 8+ marines must survive in a fight which comes unexpectedly) you may have to restart the whole mission. Missions are long and heavily scripted, sometimes the instructions are given while you are busy fighting and fail to concentrate.
Voice acting is amateurish and lifeless, as if the actors were bored/annoyed with the story as much as I did. When you click on the timeline (an innovative tool to show the battlefield's states up to 5 mins ago and after), it takes the game 1-2 seconds to load the state of the battlefield at that time point which makes the whole thing feel clumsy, especially when you are already stressed by struggling with this complex game and its heavily script-influenced mission objectives.
Btw I bought the game some time in 2014 and it had all graphics glitched on my laptop (AMD Radeon HD 7670M video card), but it finally ran on my new desktop computer which has GeForce GTX 970. I think the devs need to try a Kickstarter campaign to get funding for Achron 2 and make a proper game on the same concept this time.… Expand
Aug 31, 2011Quick Info:
If all you like to do is playing skirmish and single player, then Achron is a very clear NO BUY for you. The Campaign, while actually having an interesting story, is heinously and VERY effectively murdering any fun you might have had. The skirmish AI is incapable of dealing with any player on a pure rts level, add in time travel and it goes under like the titanic. However,Quick Info:
If all you like to do is playing skirmish and single player, then Achron is a very clear NO BUY for you. The Campaign, while actually having an interesting story, is heinously and VERY effectively murdering any fun you might have had. The skirmish AI is incapable of dealing with any player on a pure rts level, add in time travel and it goes under like the titanic. However, if you like to play with friends this game makes for wonderful evening of cursing, laughter, mind-screws and many WTF moments. Achron is a multi player game. Its only truly fun when you have a human opponent to screw over via time travel. Its very enjoyable to see your scams create successful outcomes. Many a Doctor Evil lolathons ensued when i played Achron 4 vs 4 with friends. However be warned that due to the, lackluster rest of the game, the population of people to play with ad hock via On-line match-ups might be close to non existent, making matchmaking on the Achron forums a necessity.
However, if you have even one friend willing to play with you, you can experience some insane moments of fun and laughter as the two of you try to reconstruct just what the hell happened right now and how to profit from it.
I give this game a solid 7 because while graphics and single player are seriously lacking, the core game play which is manipulation of events and time travel works surprisingly well. Yes it requires work to get into and the developers at Hazardous Software have their work cut out upgrading the UI and the infos you get on your units (like.. what orders did i gave when?) - not to mention path finding.
Achron clearly shows a possible direction for future rts and strategy games in general.
Achron will not be a huge hit, but it may very well be the granddaddy of a new breed of time travel games where time travel is not a scripted mess (singularity, we look at you) and does not take the form of a simple rewind.
Portal + time travel anyone?… Expand
Sep 16, 2011Injecting dynamic time travel into a real-time strategy game is a risky, ambitious move. Though it takes a lot of effort, experimentation, and agonizing in order to use the time travel mechanics effectively, Hazardous Software manages to pull it off. The problem is the rest of the game suffers from design flaws and technical issues, making Achron feel like an RTS relic.
PC GamerSep 13, 2011When it comes to RTS design fundamentals, Achron is frustratingly primitive, which depreciates its brilliant twist. [Nov 2011, p.81]