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SteelWar Online
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SteelWar Online

Release Date:  
Publisher:  POPPACE
Developer:  POPPACE
Genre:  Sci-fi, Strategy
Sponsor:

SteelWar Online is a robot-themed MMORTS developed by China-based PopPace for web browsers, and Facebook. The game, which is scheduled to hit the closed beta in the spring of 2012, is set in a vast fantasy universe populated by thousands of computer-controlled troops . There are buildings like Training Hall, research Lab, Bourse, Crystal Deposit, Exploitation Station, and Alchemy Factory.

In SteelWar Online, you can uncover the storytelling plot like that of Star Wars, but you have to read the dialogue.

Although SteelWar Online dubs itself as a Robot-themed browser game, it is, in fact, loosely based on a the true story of Transformers, or MechWarrior Online. It has the conversational gameplay that allows players, especially for strategy fans, to build the Galactic Empire. During the process, players may stumble across the monsters and creatures, and they can team up with other players in the guild or alliance to clear out them.

SteelWar Online has already drawn comparisons to Star Supremacy, Light of Nova, Galaxy Online, and EdgeWorld, which all are created by Chinese guys. We are expecting to its early launch in English.

Review:

It seems that Japan’s robot mania has risen during the past couple years. Not only has it gripped its national lovers, due to the sheer popularity and huge impact of the Gundam franchise, sizable amount of robot-themed anime and games has been pouring into western countries. China-based PopPace has just launched their first mecha-genre simulation webgame – Steal War Online. Upon learning about the brief introduction of the game, and seeing the official screenshot which displays the grid-based isometric tactic map with robot icons, I simultaneously recalled the long-running turn-based robot-themed simulation game Super Robot War. Basically, Steal War Online is the SLG titled game blending tactical combat and city-building simulation, and the characters in the game are loosely based on popular Gundam series.

There are five pilots with their peculiar robots available for choosing from. The pentagon ability diagram indicates the strength and weakness of each character; the “spirit commands”, kinda like the magic spells unique to each pilot, is also introduced. But the character portraits look far from satisfactory. To be honest, the beauty and distinct feature of Japanese anime has taken root into my heart. However, in this game, character designer apparently doesn’t know the conscious use of colors to create hierarchy and balance in a portrait. Contrarily, too much use of same sharp colors gives the character portraits a monotonous look, and the overall image of character is by no means Japanese-style, all of which makes characters design looks just another inferior clone.

After character creation, I was leaded into the tutorial battle map. The game plots seem to unfold over a chronicle sequence of several original Gundam franchise. First scenario revolves around the very first Gundam series from Independence War in UC0079 to Char’s Counter-attack in UC0093, then the battle stage moves to UC0123 when the Gundam F91 plot continues to unfold…Lovers of Super Robot Wars franchises should be familiar with this kind of storytelling that crosses over multiple robot-themed anime. I found the text of conversation cannot arise no more than a little of my interests when I jumped into the game. It should be seriously noted that a lot of games made in China have not been well translated. So, the localization is a great problem here, although there are not many naïve translation errors and there are words which I can understand, however they are usually arranged in a strange order or just come out sounding sort of odd, that I totally got lost. Another thing that let me down is that there’s no tactics or strategies involved in gameplay. In stead of taking turns to assign robots with available commands, you just need to click the desired target at the expense of “AP”, which works same as the “engery” thing in Facebook games, and then the combat animation is played out. Also, it is still far from meeting my expectation. The combat effect is as simple as an easy GIF animation, actions and movements are not controllable by ASDF, two factions attack each other alternatively until either side is destroyed.

Apart from the PvE mode that enables player to relive storylines of original Gundam series, the PvP mode also allows you to compete with others all over the world. When you fulfilled the tutorial missions you will be asked to choose from DC, Geon or Earth Federal Union to stand alongside with. Then you can wage battles against players of the other 2 factions. Success attack may not only allow you to root others, chances are that you may also capture enemy pilots and force them to serve for you. And there’s no more interesting system can be found in city-building mode, but instead, it shows me as a good example of how micro-transaction negatively affects the gameplay.

Overall, the game is a miserable failure from my point of view. Although as robot fans, we all expect that the game will blaze the trail for a new genre as producer promised, but the problems put a very difficult situation in front of the game producer. So I won’t recommend this game to any one.

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