Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.
Those who have played the original Battle Supremacy will tell you that while the game had some design flaws and annoyances, it proved to be competent in other areas to still be considered an “okay” tank combat experience. That same verdict can be applied to the sequel, “Battle Supremacy: Ground Assault (BS:GA)”. This time, the developers made changes to address the issues in the previous game, while simultaneously butchering some elements that made the original fun.
There are four main game modes in BS:GA; Campaign, Drills, Custom Matches and Multiplayer. Campaign consists of fourteen story missions that last around five to ten minutes each. Drills is a series of levels that give players a single objective to accomplish (e.g. escort, defend, intercept, stand off). Multiplayer provides a handful of pvp maps and game modes, such as Deathmatch, Team DeathMatch, as well as some more interesting modes like King Of The Hill, Capture The Flag and Last Man Standing. Finally, Custom Matches is basically Multiplayer Mode with bots.
The campaign mode this time around is much shorter compared to its predecessor. It tells a cliche fictional tale about a future where AI has determined that the best way to save humanity was by killing all humans. As I sat through the introduction of the first mission, I could have sworn that the story was ripped straight out of the Terminator movies, except the Terminators are tanks.
The gameplay outside the confines of the campaign has been improved significantly. Instead of occasionally guessing whether you’re shooting from the appropriate angle to damage your enemy, players will now see a colored outline around the enemy they’re aiming at, which indicates the effectiveness of their shots (red for full penetration, yellow for partial, and white for ineffective). There is also a new aim assist feature, and your view automatically zooms in a bit when your crosshairs are on an enemy. To top it all off, the damage you take will now be shown physically on your tank, which helps to add an extra layer of immersion. All of these features make for a smoother experience, but unfortunately, it doesn’t stop the campaign from feeling broken.
For some mind boggling reason, there is a lot of freezing in all of the campaign missions (it’s not a power demanding game). Every time there’s an update to the story, a wave of enemies are killed or a new enemy spawns, the game will freeze for about three seconds. This happens quite frequently. On any given ten minute long mission, I’d experience ten or more freezes. The other issue is that I can choose to contribute next to nothing to the fight, and I’ll still complete my missions, due to how strong my computer controlled allies are. The shortness of the missions also means that protecting your teammates and conserving your own health is much less of a priority, whereas in the original game, the campaign missions were much longer and consisted of more intricate scenarios that required you to be on your toes.
These problems (albeit less frequent) carry over to the drills mode too, which are basically bite size campaign missions with a single objective and no story narrative. To sum it up, Campaign and Drills Mode are not the best that BS:GA has to offer.
For me, custom matches with bots was where the game shined (I would say the same for online multiplayer, but I could not find a single human player to play with at the time of this review), and thankfully, there are no freezing issues here.
In custom matches, players can play the same modes and maps that they can in online multiplayer. But I would recommend sticking to King Of The Hill and Capture The Flag modes when playing against bots. Because bots are seemingly programmed to reach their objective via the shortest route possible, they are highly exploitable in standard team deathmatch variants, where the red and blue teams spawn from their respective bases. All I had to do was sit outside their normal route and snipe them from a distance. The enemy tanks never once tried to shoot back at me, as they were too preoccupied with clashing with my bot teammates.
In King Of The Hill mode, the goal is to score points by occupying an area on the map indicated by a blue circle, and killing any enemies you find within it. This mode compensates for the limited AI, because everyone is forced to go to one small location on the map to do battle. This made for some intense fights.
Capture The Flag is similar to King Of The Hill, except there are three locations to capture. Bots do fairly well here, but I did notice that they almost always rushed the closest capture point first, before expanding to the other areas. This made things a bit predictable.
I’m assuming that if you can find a few human players to play with, multiplayer would be even more enjoyable than playing with bots in custom matches.
The one major element that makes BS:GA stand out from its predecessor, is the addition of a tank building/ rpg/ looting mechanic. Regardless of what modes you choose to play, at the end of every match, you will have the option to choose two out of five cards. These cards can give you all kinds of new parts, such as treads, bodies, turrets, cannons, missiles, mines, mortars and radars. These parts are categorized in an rpg fashion, with white being a common item, green uncommon, blue rare, and purple as super rare.
The more you play, the better your chances are of finding parts that will improve your stats and make your tank deadlier. You can choose to build your tank into whatever class you want. Do you prefer something slow but can take a lot of damage, or do you like something more vulnerable that is also quick and deadly? It’s all up to you. If that’s not enough, you can also modify the appearance of your tanks with a myriad of patterns and colors.
BS:GA has an equal amount of hits as there are misses. Campaign and Drills Mode are almost unplayable with how often the game freezes, and even if that was fixed with a patch, I don’t think these modes are interesting enough to hold many people’s attention. The lacking presentation, uninspired gameplay and generic storylines simply won’t cut it anymore. However, the developers struck a gold mine when they implemented the new customization/rpg looting system. This, plus the custom matches/ multiplayer modes will be what keeps players coming back for more. If Atypical Games includes this customization/rpg looting system in their sequel, and put all their efforts into making an excellent online/offline multiplayer game (e.g offer split screen support, make bots smarter, add a tournament mode, leaderboards and/or a survival mode, allow local multiplayer to connect with people online, etc), the next Battle Supremacy could be a big hit.
Battle Supremacy: Ground Assault earns a rating of 6.8/10.
Special thanks to Atypical Games for the review copy.