Fans of the real-time strategy genre, especially the Command & Conquer series, would have been all perked up after seeing the debut of Tempest Rising at the THQ Nordic Showcase recently. Having seen the game in action at Gamescom 2022, we are happy to report that Tempest Rising is indeed an RTS to watch out for, bringing a modern sheen to classic tenets of the genre in satisfying ways.
Set in an alternate timeline where nuclear war has devastated the planet leading to the occurrence of Tempest, which is a powerful energy source, a fight for control breaks out between the Global Defense Forces (GDF) and the Tempest Dynasty. If you are getting the Tiberium Sun vibe from Tempest Rising, it is certainly a key inspiration. There’s also a mysterious third faction that will rear its head in the two campaigns, as well as being playable in Skirmish, so there are still some secrets to unravel.
Our demo begins with the classic implementation of status reports and a briefing by higher command, where FMV cut scenes of old have been replaced by in-engine assets taking action, all while looking mighty fine even at this early stage. It was important to the teams at Slipgate Ironworks and 3D Realms to maintain a throughline to the forebears in the genre, but with added twists.
One of those is the inclusion of dialogue options, but not in the Mass Effect style. Rather, these optional conversations help flesh out the world, and as you meet more characters or unlock more upgrades and Specialists using Requisition points earned, there is more to learn and know about the world of Tempest Rising.
Once the battle begins, it will feel instantly familiar for those into unit-to-unit combat and base building. Obviously, the GDF and the Tempest Dynasty will play differently, with the team keen on asymmetry to give players more ways to play in Tempest Rising. For example, while the GDF relies on the traditional refinery and harvester relationship, the Tempest Dynasty utilises a mobile refinery that can move around and deploy drones to harvest the Tempest instead.
The developers also stressed that they are trying to ensure all of the units in the game remain viable no matter what stage of the conflict you might find yourself in. That will certainly be tested as players seek out the meta, but based on the variety of units in the first level, no human, vehicle, or building is truly safe.
The addition of call-in abilities helps spice things up in encounters, and each mission will likely feature some side objectives that can give players certain advantages if they choose to pursue them. This could be in the form of more units, or a powerful air strike to clear the field. Completing these also earns the aforementioned Requisition points, which feed into the customisation system found in Tempest Rising.
Before each mission begins, you will have the option to outfit your army, including unlocking Specialists that are great at particular jobs, but are still vulnerable. These characters will become available to talk to during briefings, but more importantly, tweak the way you play based on their functions. While we didn’t see them in action, it will certainly add more replayability to Tempest Rising in each of the 15-mission campaigns for the GDF and Tempest Dynasty.
Although the RTS genre has not been particularly popular in recent times, Slipgate Ironworks and 3D Realms are hellbent on changing the conversation with Tempest Rising. From familiar explosive red barrels to iterating on classic formulas, there is already a nice balance that will entice genre veterans but also welcome new players into the fold. The game will not launch until 2023, and we are definitely eager to find out more.
Jake is a full-time trophy hunter and achievement gatherer on consoles, and part-time Steam Sale victim. He has a thing for Batman and awesome statues, and running out of space for both. Send help.
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