I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a huge fan of Real Time Strategy games – not the traditional ones anyway. I enjoy the Dawn of War series and the Shogun series, but never really got into Starcraft. Tryst, an indie developed PC RTS game, is very reminiscent of Starcraft in it’s gameplay concepts. Designed to be a fast-paced, competitive multiplayer experience, Tryst is pretty obviously influenced by Blizzard’s award winning series of games. But does it have what it takes to develop its own following?
To put it simply: things aren’t looking too hot. If you’ve played Starcraft or a similar RTS style game before, you’ll be comfortable jumping in with Tryst. It’s pretty much standard RTS fare. You utilize engineer units to construct buildings, harvest resources and build up your army to clear the mission’s objectives. The single-player campaign is short. You are given five campaign missions, each can be cleared between 30 minutes to an hour, assuming you don’t have any issues with the difficulty, which can be unfairly brutal at times. Each mission puts the player in a position to make choices that will affect your gameplay experience further down the line.
Your armies are upgradable through the Augmented Research Mechanism, or A.R.M. system, which gives you a tree of ability bonuses and alterations that you can pick and choose to customize your armies to your liking. For example you could choose ti give your medics an additional 30 health or a small movement speed boost. Upgrading your buildings allows you to choose stronger perks further down the tree.
The campaign is pretty forgettable. The characters and story are boring. The cut-scenes are a slap in the face too because you cannot skip them no matter how many times you’ve seen them. They’re also a potential threat because they happen in real time, and should a patrolling squad of enemies wander in during a cut-scene, hopefully some of your units respond. Otherwise they have free-reign to completely trash your army without any interference from the player. The campaign missions are basically a primer for learning how to play the game anyway. However the brutal, arguably unfair difficulty is an issue with some of these missions. Look, I’m fairly competent with video games. When it comes to RTS games, I’d go so far as to say I suck. But you know what alleviates suckage? Being able to select an easier difficulty. This game does not have that option and it blows my mind.
There was an instance during one of the missions where I’m walking along with my squad after being dropped off by a ship. I have no way of making any more units at this time, I’m just supposed to keep moving along until I can get to an abandoned base. So I just cautiously make my way into the fog of war when suddenly two enemy turrets are uncovered. They start firing at my troops and before I can even react to whats happening several of my soldiers and one of my mechs have been killed. By the time I’m finished clearing them out, I’m down to a handful of troops. I now have to somehow make it all the way across an enemy infested map to get to a base so I can attempt to rebuild.
After restarting that mission probably more than 20 times, I was finally able to make it to the base I was supposed to get to with the three characters I was forced to keep alive. Having to try one part over and over more then 20 times definitely killed any desire I have to keep playing. I had to take a break and cool off due to frustration. I tried again later and after a few more losses I was finally able to beat that mission with some sheer dumb luck. Tryst is designed for hardcore competitive RTS gamers to the point that they’ve alienated newbie RTS players. It’s incredibly frustrating and sure to drive away people wanting to learn.
Speaking of competitive, you probably want to know how the multiplayer is. Unfortunately, I don’t have a flipping clue. I tried to get into a multiplayer match several times, but no one is playing. At one point I hopped in the multiplayer lobby and saw one 1 vs. 1 match in progress and one other AFK person in the lobby. I just jumped in now while writing this review and there is currently one AFK person in the lobby other than myself. I would have liked to at least try and provide insight on the multiplayer experience but that requires other people to actually be playing the game. Pretty sad considering this is a new release. The developer/publisher BlueGiant Interactive priced the game at $24.99 and to me that seems like a pretty ballsy move for a studio that most people haven’t heard of. I feel like this price point will probably hurt the growth of a community.
In the end, Tryst is technically a game. It boots up and runs fine. Units go where you tell them to go. There is just nothing that stands out about it other than the frustrating difficulty in the campaign. I’ve played for a few hours and I couldn’t tell you anything about the campaign other than “I built some bases and armies and told my guys to shoot those guys.” The graphics are alright, the sound effects and voice acting are alright. There is just nothing about it that makes it more than “alright”. The focus of Tryst was clearly in the multiplayer department. Unfortunately, no one wants to play.
[+ It Works] [+It Looks/Plays/Sounds Decent] [-Campaign Difficulty Can Be Brutal] [-No difficulty settings] [- No one is playing online] [-Nothing Memorable About Story or Gameplay] [-Price a Bit Steep for What It Is]