Just over two years ago, Siegecraft Commander was rumoured for Xbox One, with a few early screenshots doing the rounds nothing materialised, and you’ll find numerous articles on the internet of fans looking for something similar on the Xbox One.
Finally prayers are being answered, because Siegecraft is here.
Siegecraft Commander is a tower defence game, where towers are linked to your base, known as the Keep, starting off you’ll have limited options such as building an outpost to expand your defences.
Using a catapult system, you fire to where the outpost will be built and as long as there’s no obstructions, you’ll quickly have your fully functional outpost. From here you continue to expand with a garrison, armoury or library which are then capable of producing a further range of towers such as the barracks, airship launcher or long-range trebuchet.
You’ve also got the choice of going straight for the kill by launching projectiles such as TNT or boombah pots to attack an opposing tower directly.
There’s a variety of gameplay options on offer, whether it’s the pre-defined campaign tasks set over 2 campaigns each consisting of 8 levels, or multiplayer where you can play local or online with the same real-time action from the campaign, or for a more methodical approach you can try out turn-based gameplay giving each played a set amount of time per move.
It’s worth pointing out, that while some of the earlier campaign levels might be finished in ten or fifteen minutes, you’ll soon be forced to slow down, calculating your web of towers as you approach the enemies which will soon enough be surrounding your base. It’s common to be playing a game for half an hour, or even an hour especially in a close online battle, and on one occasion I was so careful and calculating that it took me nearly two hours to complete one game.
This obviously gives some major longevity to the title, even at an average of 30 minutes per mission, that’s 8 hours of gameplay from single player alone and as good as you think you might be, there’s a welcome challenge as you progress further meaning the later levels are likely to pass the hour mark. Online gives you greater freedom, with the added reward of levelling up your commander to reward trait points that can be spent on subtle abilities which aren’t game breaking but will give experienced players more of an advantage. There’s four commanders in total, two from each the warring factions (Knights of Freemoi and the Tribe of Hurtrad).
With each having their own skill tree, there’s every reason to try each to see which better benefits your play style before embarking on unlocking all of their respective skills. There’s also cross network play (which can be toggled off) meaning you can play against PC players too, however their mouse and keyboard controls might leave a unlevel playing field so newcomers might be best turning that off initially. Saying that controls work well, but the accuracy of a mouse will also beat the analogue stick for firing towers and projectiles.
The two factions are distinguishable by colour, but also by the style of their towers and the names, though their actions are the same, tnt and boombah are both a tower destroying projectile, and the war camp is exactly the same as the knight’s armoury but while they perform the same, there’s a pleasant visual difference.
Possibly part-due to the success of titles like Clash of Clans, Siegecraft Commander follows a similar beefy animated art direction, with characters sporting a cartoon like appearance with bold lines and vibrant colours, the sharp visuals continue throughout the game. Everything looks good, but there’s not an immense level of detail, things could look better, but when you’ve got an intricate web of towers, you’ll be thankful for the clear open fields to expand in to.
Audio is one area that could have seen some improvement, the tower actions sound good enough, but it’s often drowned out by the background music, which while appropriate soon left me heading to the options to turn it down slightly.
Also there’s no voice acting, narration for the campaigns are done via a book presentation and it sadly feels like a missed opportunity to make us care more for or against the two factions who are going to such lengths to destroy each other.
Siegecraft remains a pretty unique game, there’s tower defense games, but few that so effectively merge true RTS elements, if this sounds like your cup of tea, then you’re in for a treat, and likely to find many hours of gameplay, however if your more an all-out-action nut, then the tactical positioning of your towers will soon become a chore and your enjoyment of the game will diminish before the campaigns do.
Overall its great value for tower defense or RTS fans, and well worth consideration if you’re looking for a change of pace.
There’s a few issues, some might nag at the graphics or sound, others may complain that the analogue system isn’t the most accurate for precise tower positioning, but its a fun and engrossing game that will definitely have it’s fans.