A Year of Rain E3 Preview
Real Time Strategy games aren’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. These days an RTS often involves half a dozen resources, massive battles of epic proportions, and a competitive scene that requires you to click at nearly inhuman speeds. At E3 this year I had the chance to go hands-on with Daedalic’s A Year of Rain and was pleasantly surprised. As soon as the game began I was taken back over fifteen years to all the time I sank into the iconic StarCraft as I sat face to face with a unique UI that felt modern despite its hypnotically nostalgic effect.
The game is built entirely around the concept of teamwork and smaller battles with every encounter designed for 2v2 combat. Much like the legendary RTS from Blizzard, A Year of Rain also features three unique factions in the House of Rupah (humans), the Wild Outcasts (a variety of creatures) and the Restless Undead (well… undead) I teamed up with one of the developers to take on another dev and visiting guest and right out of the gate as the match begins the game asks you to select your role for the match. Choosing tank gives you a huge buff to the damage you can take, choosing healer lets your units regen health etc. Whatever you pick helps determine your role in the coming battle and I noticed how effective these perks were in the following minutes.
Those of you familiar with RTS games might be used to the massive battles that crash games and rip the match with lag, but that won’t happen due to A Year of Rain’s lower unit counter. Instead of unlocking up to 200 units and flooding your base with pylons/supply depots/etc the game offers a modest yet sizable 80 unit max, reinforcing the need to be strategic and intelligent with your combat. Of course, at the start of the game, you’ll also get to select from one of three heroes: a super unit with extra abilities to lead into battle. Having these vital heroes that buff your army are a huge feature to help turn the tide of battle and while it’s a small change, it feels fantastic in combat.
Of course, you can expect the usual tropes: building bases, mining two materials, unlocking skills and upgrades through the tech tree, as well as lookout towers on the map that will show you the surrounding area when near. Graphically speaking, this game is beautiful and it’s hard to imagine it isn’t quite yet ready to hit storefronts. Every animation felt smooth, the textures and environment were lively and vibrant, and I experienced no frame rate issues or bugs the entire time. The devs have assured me A Year of Rain will feature roughly 30 missions in the campaign, the standard 2v2 skirmish, as well as a mode in which two players have full access to their base building mechanics and the other two are super-powered hero units in a unique battle for survival.
Playing A Year of Rain was natural, easy, and enjoyable. It’s catered to RTS gamers more like me who want to enjoy the battle and not be bogged down with insane amounts of clicks per second, yet it is still just as accessible to those competitive RTS players as well. This game already feels polished and I can’t imagine how much better the final product is going to be, but I sure can’t wait to find out. Got any other questions about A Year of Rain? Be sure to check out their official website, or message us on Facebook, Twitter, or the Comments section below, and don’t forget to keep it locked to COGconnected for all things gaming.