Isotope 244 have been secretly hunkered down in their development labs for the past 18 months or so to bring us Machines at War 3, an exciting real time strategy game boasting a challenging 21 mission campaign, online multiplayer, and last but not least – random map skirmishes to boot!
We recently got our hands on the beta version and took their game out for a spin. The first thing that the game reminded us of was both Total Annihilation and Red Alert (the very first version). Machines at War 3 comes with a detailed tutorial that helps break the ice for the more casual player. Once you graduate from boot camp, you will be more than well equipped to try out the game in one of the offered game modes.
In the campaign, you play as a commander who is aided by a spunky officer named Samantha Vice. She assists you in several missions trying to solve the mystery of why your country’s secret research team named the Omicron Initiative has disappeared. In these diverse missions you will target long range artillery guns, navigate stealth subs, defend bases with tower defenses, launch ICBMs, and build giant mega units capable of obliterating dozens of units. Missions are rated on finishing time and whether you complete a bonus objective. You can even return to previously played missions to increase your rating and discover secret side missions.
Besides the campaign, you can test your mettle in online multiplayer with up to three other recruits. For single players, there is a random map system where you pit your skills against the game’s AI. When starting a random map you can adjust many options to create a unique match, from defining the units that are available at the start of a game to the victory condition.
According to the developer, Machines at War 3 goes above and beyond with over 130 units to build and research. To help manage this large assortment of machines they are classified into three tiers, with only first tier units being made available at the start. The game’s interface further divides units into categories based on their role such as engineering, buildings, and defense. This interface makes units easy to find and deploy in the heat of battle.
Later in a match after reaching the second tier of units you can build labs to research numerous technologies. These grant special abilities like being able to see your enemies unit types or upgrade your current units.
In the third tier the game’s full arsenal of machines is at your disposal. It features a full complement of infantry, tanks, artillery, aircraft, subs, ships, hovercraft, ICBMs, and the most destructive machines called mega units. These huge heavy hitting armaments are only available after finding and mining special resource nodes. If control of a node is lost while building a mega unit, production is halted adding an interesting layer of conflict and strategy to the game.
What can we say? The beta version looks pretty decent and the game play is quite cool. This game also successfully brought us back many fond memories of our favorite RTSes from the past, and it plays as well as they did – often way better than the likes of Total Annihilation and Red Alert.
Look out for Machines at War 3, coming soon in the second quarter of 2013.