Confrontation is a tactical RPG developed exclusively for the PC by Cyanide and published by dtp and Focus Home Interactive. It's loosely based upon a popular tabletop game with the same name. Only the scenario including the world Aarklash have been taken over - all game mechanics are new. We've had the opportunity to play a beta build for a couple of hours.
Cyanide tries to find a niche for Confrontation by drastically simplifying a couple of standard RPG
elements, which automatically puts the focus on the remaining full scale ingredients. It's too early to say if this approach will be successful, but one thing is clear: Confrontation is not a faceless clone. This game takes a radical approach, but without going all the way.
Naturally the core of a tactical RPG is combat. Confrontation offers a solid collection of well-known mechanics combined in an attractive way. Combat is RT with a four character party, generally against smallish groups, pausable at any time. While the game is paused the player has full control. He can carefully examine everything, plan the next phase of the encounter and fill his party's command queues. The party formation can be configured, dead comrades resurrected for a certain time depending on stats. Primary and secondary weapons can easily be switched with a single keystroke.
Spells are sorted into six color coded groups, for example red damage spells and blue anti-magic spells. The number of spells is relatively small – as is the number of useless spells. In the ca. 3 hours long preview version, magic left a good impression - it blended nicely into the combat flow, looked relatively spectacular and had a significant influence on the outcome.
Exploration is not really a factor, it seems. So far everything was nearly on rails, even outside the dungeons. The quests I've seen were rather simple too: a story excuse for going from A to B and a
couple of switch combos for doors in other map areas. The enemies were pretty interesting though. Different types showed clearly different behaviour, making new tactics necessary. The reward for killing an enemy is only XP - Cyanide decided to remove the whole looting aspect almost completely. You only find upgrades for your gear in a few select places on every map, plus bandages here and there, and that's it.
Character development is standard stuff and more than adequate for a game which doesn't pretend to be a full fledged RPG.
Confrontation concentrates on pausable tactical RT combat and moves everything distracting out of the combat flow's way. As the descriptions above show, the game offers quite a solid amount of control to the player – if he wants it. If he doesn't, the fight automatically kicks in. It does a pretty good job, so it is an option to do the hard work manually and leave the mop up to the PC. The AI acts aggressively. Only rarely did a party member wait longer than ca. a second to choose a target and hit it with something. No need for endless clicking.
Confrontation focuses on pausable tactical RT combat and moves everything distracting out of the combat
flow's way. As the descriptions above show, the game offers quite a solid amount of control to the player. Of course Confrontation cannot compete on tactical depth with the TB classics, but a healthy dose of options should make it deeper than most other recent party RPGs, not to speak about action-RPGs.
I think the simplifications are a double edged sword. On the one hand the player no longer has to waste endless hours sorting through loot - I found this refreshing after playing the new Jagged Alliance for 80 hours - or doing fetch quests. The latter is somewhat compensated by long written and voiced level introductions advancing the story. On the other hand, these omissions make Confrontation's gameplay range much smaller. In combination with the - at least in the preview copy - nearly linear level structure Confrontation is reduced to a tactical dungeon crawler. Combat has a nice flow, the lack of interruptions and the relaxed pace provide a refreshing experience. But is this enough to entertain through a 30 hours campaign or will the elements left behind make themselves felt? We'll have to wait for the full game to find out.
Developer: Cyanide Studios
SP/MP: Single + MP
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2012-04-05
· Publisher: Focus Interactive
Germany, Austria & Switzerland
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2012-04-05
· Publisher: dtp