Throughout this weekend I’ve spent a number of hours on one of Paradox Interactive’s new games, Impire. For those who don’t know, Impire is a dungeon-building RTS where the player takes on the role of “Baal-Abaddon”, a demon from the pit. Summoned by an incompetent warlock, you are tasked to aid in his dreams of revenge and the destruction of Ardania, the kingdom you have been summoned to. Firstly, I’ll start off with saying I have watched/read other reviews which were very critical about Impire; before I played the game. So I started out playing this game with a bad bias already in mind.
At the start, the other reviews seemed to have nailed describing the game; I found it annoying, difficult and frustrating to get to grips with Impire. However, before giving up I decided to throw a couple more hours into the game to make sure I wasn’t just repetiting other critics. What I found was that Impire, as with many other Paradox games, has a surprisingly long learning curve. The longer I played the more I found that many of the complaints other reviewers had were resolved by spending more hours in-game. I’m not saying that Impire is perfect, but Paradox Interactive tends to make the player have to commit and really work out their games.
Starting up the first level in campaign, I was reassured to find that the in-game graphics were fairly good. The dark, torch lit corridors and rooms give a really good vibe that draws you into the game. Also, every single room has incredible detail and a lot of work put into it. While I know that some people had issues with the pre-set rooms and not being able to customize them, I didn’t really find this a problem as every room had had a lot of work put into it and in the end was just well done.
Although the in-game graphics were good the campaign cinmatics aren’t up to scratch. There were a lot of rough edges that reminded me of a warcraft 3 cinematic except that the characters in Impire can’t seem to open their mouths. This could have definitly been better as the animations for the units in-game are very polished. The unit animations were generally quite good and the combat effects were great to watch. Also the dialogue and unit speech is pretty amusing all throughout the game as Impire takes a very cynical and sarcastic view on itself and pull jokes all the time.
A problem a lot of people had with this game was the A.I which directly ties in with the squad mechanics. In Impire, the players’ main control over their units is through squads. Squads are comprised out of 4 units and lets the player to quickly teleport and command these squads to where they are needed most. However, there is the catch that the player can only create a maximum of 5 squads which left any other units created after that to “wonder” (more like stand still) by themselves. The issue many people have with the A.I is that the level of micro-management is incredible, they have to always direct units to attack something otherwise the units just stand still doing nothing. This, coupled with the ladders, made it extremely annoying to handle. Ladders are a game mechanic which caused a lot of grief by allowing alternative entrances into the dungeon other than the main entry. If they were not destoryed fast enough they let “heroes” invade from several areas at once. This caused a lot of frustration because it became a mad rush to teleport squads around your dungeon in an attempt to defend it.
The amount of complaints that units don’t patrol or don’t do anything from reviewers and gamers alike is amoung the top issues with the game. While messing around in the squad menu I was lucky enough to stumble upon an option menu which let me set squads on patrols, guard duty or to follow Baal. This resolves so many issues with the game play that is astonishing that it isn’t covered in the tutorial. By selecting the patrol option squads will roam your dungeon attacking any intruders and destorying any ladders they happen across.Without knowing the patrol option for squads, the game was basically you having to drop everything at the first sound of enemies or ladders. Even though you can only have a max of 5 squads they can easily defend your dungeon when they are constantly patrolling.
Right now the skirmish/multiplayer is limited because 1) multiplayer is still in beta and 2) skirmish doesn’t have any enemy A.I. It’s pretty baffling to have a fully released game which has multiplayer still in beta and no A.I for skirmish. However the Cyanide dev team is hard at work in improving the multiplayer stability and have been throwing out patches since the games’ launch. While I think this should have been addressed before the game was released, it’s reassuring to see the dev team constantly updating Impire.
Resource management in this game takes a little getting used to. While you can constantly collect food from the Mushroom chamber, if you want to expand your army (unlock the 5 squads/better units) you need to get tressure and materials. To get these other 2 resources you need to send squads to raid areas on the world map. This is essentially how you collect the other resources (although you can get them by killing heroes) and so you need to find a balance between sending out raids and keeping squads behind to defend your base. I’m pretty neutral about the resource system, I like the idea of raiding nearby towns and farms for your resources but for me there isn’t enough interaction or effect for raiding them other than a cooldown timer. I think there could have been a lot more done with it, for example the more you raid the more heroes get attracted to your dungeon, or maybe even let you take over the towns as resource generators until it’s taken back.
Overall I think that Impire has a lot of potential. There have been a lot of issues with the game and I agree that this game could be so much more. While there is definitly room for improvement, keep in mind the dev team has been constantly putting up patches to fix bugs and expand the game. The Cyanide team is really listening to the players feedback and I think Impire has a bright future. While things can definitly be expanded on, such as the world map, this game has a lot of good ideas and gameplay which will hopefully push it forward; once the multiplayer is stable there will be plenty of fun in crushing other players and proving yourself the ultimate dungeon master.
If you think you may enjoy this game check out the Impire Demo.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Review Copy Info: RealGamerNewz.com received an Impire review code from the publisher Paradox Entertainment for the purposes of the single and multiplayer sections of this review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Sam Chia on 20130320 and was last modified on 20130320 .