Guest Author - James Shea
Designed to be an RTS that was accessible for console audiences, Stormrise overall presents one of the most frustrating and irritating command interfaces adapted for any strategy game. It's further let down by its bland designs and story, but ultimately both of those failings pale in comparison to how terrible the gameplay is.
The game is a fairly conventional RTS by a lot of standards - you command units of space marines or rebels with occasional vehicles or mechs. The game uses the "whip" system - you hold down the right mouse button, move it in the direction of the unit you wish to select, and release. The camera then snaps to that unit; orders are issued using the left mouse button. It works about as well as it sounds - even with a (really terrible) tactical overview map, the fact that you can't zoom in or out makes getting a complete tactical picture nearly impossible, and you're forced to fight the awkward viewpoint to try to get your units to cover.
This is compounded by the fact that it means you have to give units orders one at a time. Considering that fights in this game are determined almost entirely by firepower (and a few lame cover mechanics), this is a bit of a problem. When you throw in fairly standard RTS unit numbers, it swells up to be nearly unplayable. The "direct units from a close-in viewpoint" system was difficult to use in Full Spectrum Warrior, but in a game like this - with fairly huge numbers of units - it's ultimately just an exercise in slow-paced frustration. You can't even use any real tactics or anything; all you're doing is moving units forward one at a time instead of as a group.
The graphics are fairly nice, though the whole basic concept (space marines versus hooded rebels) is bland and boring. The camera has a sort of neat shakycam effect when following infantry units, but that only serves to point out how frustrating the controls and view are. The sound isn't great, and the voice acting is mediocre at best. Ultimately not even hardcore sci-fi or strategy fans should touch this game - it's just not good at anything.