|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Black Sea Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Got Game Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (Multiple Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Hero units present a bit of a catch 22. They can quickly turn the tide of battle with their unique attack and support powers, but losing any of them causes you to fail instantly. The main problem is they'll often be front-and-center in a battle, and it can be tough to keep them alive in the moments where you turn a corner and the fog lifts to reveal a swarm of powerful opponents right on top of you. High-tailing it back to a safe distance doesn't even always work in such instances. This is extremely frustrating when it happens within sight of the final objective for the lengthy level you've just spent a lot of time muscling through. The other issue is it takes an excruciatingly long time for a heroes' ability-powering mana points to recharge. Spend them all in one battle and you just might have to park your forces in a safe zone of the map corner and sit around for 10 minutes or more twiddling your thumbs while it recharges.
All-told, the campaign has a few interesting moments, but it certainly isn't the real star of the show. WorldShift clearly has a strong multiplayer focus and was designed with online battles in mind. You can't even play the main game without logging into the main server and setting up an online profile. Multiplayer matches give you more control over picking your starting units, and you can capture a sole mineral resource that lets you deploy additional troops from you main headquarters. There are some fun options to explore here, including tackling co-op missions.
A large chunk of the strategic options at your disposal in these online matches are voided by just how easy it is to quickly create a small swarm of weak units and just charge down your opponents before they know what hit them. More powerful units may be mightier, but they require a lot of resources and time to create - time that you'll never get to see because you've just been trounced by a squadron of low-level ankle biters. The online multiplayer is also diminished by the fact there's just not a lot of people playing the game. Sure, you might find a match if you wait around a while, but it's pretty slim pickings.
All of this is such a shame, because WorldShift is really a beautiful game with an intriguing premise. The levels are packed with interesting scenery, and the lighting and special effects are truly impressive. With a little better balance and some additional tweaking, this could have been a really memorable real-time strategy title.
CCC Staff Contributor