There’s something that’s oddly satisfying about firing up Act of Aggression for the first time. An immediate sense of nostalgia fills the air as you’re overwhelmed with scenes that are highly reminiscent of another great RTS franchise. Moving past the introduction and into the actual game itself, it’s apparent that Act of Aggression isn’t betting its success solely on those sentimental feels either.
Don’t shy away from an Act of Aggression.
The single-player campaign is a work of art. The slightly silly narrative is tightly woven together a storyline that’s at once familiar, yet very refreshing. You can partake in both sides of the story too, choosing one of the two factions that each have slightly similar missions, though a very different feel to them. You start off slowly enough, gradually given a larger arsenal and more complex objectives as you get used to the controls. Every RTS I’ve ever played seems to have differed just enough in how they’re controlled to always have been thrown off, so the gradual indoctrination into the specifics is much appreciated.
The action starts immediately when you start either side, consisting of Chimera, a fictional international special operations group, or the Cartel, a fictionalized secret criminal organization. As the Chimera you’re given command of a small group of soldiers and given the task of quickly ambushing and attempting to capture a high profile criminal. There’s a sense of immediacy as soon as you begin. You have to make it to the car, lest you lose your target. But thankfully, there is no time limit on these first missions, nor are enemies swarming you. It definitely eases you into the game slowly.
The story takes you through a complex twist and turn of events surrounding the Cartel and their bid for power. The missions become increasingly more complex, but as the scope of your missions increase, so too do your resources. You start off with a handful and end up quickly able to command a sizable army with multitudes of different futuristic vehicles and fun units. The maps themselves become ever larger in each scenario, opening up strategic options just by virtue of being able to now outflank in new ways. But the story itself is a little silly, and it doesn’t exactly present you with anything new you haven’t seen in an RTS. But that’s not what this is about, either.
Resource gathering is there but isn’t quite what you might be used to. There is no rush to find them, nor do they fill up very quickly either. Supply vehicles take their good time to get to the base to offload their raw materials so you can use them. In one level in particular, it was nerve-wracking as I had to wait for what seemed like years just to be able to build a defense turret. Only to have it destroyed two seconds later by an onslaught of helicopters. The suspense was glorious though, positively fantastic. I enjoyed it and wasn’t the least bit mad when my precious resources were destroyed and I lost the mission.
The fun really begins with the skirmishes you can play either solo or with friends. The scale is absolutely massive and while the random resource placement is never convenient, it challenges in a lot of different ways. This is where the foundation of Act of Aggression lies. Massive battles with some fantastically rendered warfare between hundreds of vehicles and soldiers.
Some minuscule problems do show up, however. The opposing AI didn’t seem to want to expand beyond the initial resources, meaning that it was incredibly easy to win the match, almost too easy. That didn’t persist every time, however, but it happened a few times while playing large 4 AI player skirmishes. Generally, however, it was a bug and glitch free experience.
Overall Act of Aggression presents us with an exemplary example of the RTS genre. It’s a revival of something that’s been somewhat dormant recently. It’s fun to zoom into the well modeled units and the battles have the potential to be massive, and incredibly enjoyable.
You can find Act of Aggression on Steam for $38.24. Users there seem to agree that it’s a revival of the RTS with a very positive reception thus far.