If Only I Had The Foresight To Have Played Another Game
Foresight is a space based real time strategy game that recently released on PC via Steam from developer Strides Interactive. This title was something that had me a bit excited, because I love space RTS games and these days there just aren’t many of them made; any new title in the genre is something I am always eager to dive head first into. Aside from the genre, the other reason I wanted to play this so bad was the creators have made some bold claims about their game. They claim their game is redefining strategy in the way the game operates by having systems in place that allow players to focus less on micromanaging their war machine by automating the processes of many of the more mundane tasks. This is to allow for the player to focus more on their strategy during the more heated parts of a battle. So I really wanted to see for myself if the game was able to deliver on this bold, unique system.
This title does have a few different game modes to choose from: a single player campaign which takes the player through 3 different factions that get 10 missions a piece. There is also a skirmish mode for single player that allows up to 8 AI controlled players to battle in a free for all or on 2 teams, in addition to a multiplayer skirmish which offers the same features. The only way to play against other humans, however, is if you have friends who own the game; the host must give out their IP address manually for the players to find the game in the lobby, though AI players can be added to this mode as well.
Foresight does have all the familiar RTS traits, such as building structures, harvesting resources for money, and cranking out tons of units, but there is also the system I mentioned earlier that the developers lauded — which is the fleet system — designed to help do a lot of the more tedious and mundane tasks for you. This involves recruiting an allied AI officer, who is assigned to a ship that then becomes that fleet’s flagship. This allows for easy grouping and simplifies building and sending units where they’re needed. The fleet commanders will also make requests for ships it thinks it needs from time to time, which the player can decide whether or not to grant. The fleets also serves another purpose as well: Each fleet — including the player’s — has a rather low maximum number of ships it can use so creating multiple fleets up to the maximum of five is the only way to get a whole bunch of units in play. This system is cool once the player gets used to it, and it makes managing things easier.
There are a few big things that really end up holding this game back.
First there is the AI which has a ton of issues; it’s unfortunate, because both sides rely on it. It just isn’t smart enough to do much well. The enemy AI often decides the wrong type of ships for the situation if it builds them at all. There were multiple times I saw it build nothing but one type of light fighter throughout the match which doomed it when the big battle finally happened. Another big AI flaw I experienced numerous times involved my own AI commanded fleet going into combat where it has no targeting priorities and simply blasting anything in front of it — which can be a problem when it decides blasting a building is more important that taking care of ships and turrets around it first. The solution the developers came up with to make the campaign more difficult was not to make the AI smarter; they simply stacked more enemy ships which didn’t really work that well.
The campaign felt very bland, with an awful story made worse by poorly written dialog between characters throughout the game. Most missions in the campaign are very generic: escort this unit here, mine this amount of resources, defend this location, or destroy the enemy’s base. These missions all take place on boring levels that end up having little variety to them. However, Foresight does feature unique and pretty artwork in the opening cut scene, which extends to the rest of the campaign: All of cut-scenes and intermissions throughout the game are beautiful. These gorgeous scenes I think are my favorite parts of the game.
Each playable faction has only a handful of building options such as HQ, resource collectors, ship factories, and turrets and only about 6 different ship types to chose from either which in the end makes this whole thing much less exciting. Such little variety in unit types left me feeling each faction was very similar to each other.
The voice acting is some of the worst I have ever heard in a game. Each time a mission briefing or an in game dialog between characters came up on the screen I cringed. I think the game experience would have been a bit better had the developer used text only instead because the voices were bad enough that it took away from the game as a whole. That unfortunately wasn’t the only issue with the voices however. During combat every single unit no matter whose side is constantly blurting out reports which can get confusing and annoying. Having multiple enemies warning me about their low damage or impending deaths in the heat of battle for the first time made me think it was my units. Another notable sound feature was after finding an enemies base on a level I would be bombarded with a notice that an enemy base had been located and this notice would then go on until the enemy base was destroyed. Many times while playing I simply had to mute the sound altogether because of the culmination of all that together was unbearable to my brain.
Another frustrating thing about this game was there is no menu option which allows for any rebinding of actions to other keys, which is unfortunate because the assigned controls often feel awkward. The game’s tutorial doesn’t do a very good job explaining them, and there is no screen to show you what the controls are, which makes figuring out some things a matter of trial and error.
In the end, this game has some neat ideas but ends up being held back by a lot of different things and feels incomplete and rushed. Perhaps if this came out as an early access title and was much cheaper than it is currently, a lot of my issues with the game may not have been so loud. Unfortunately, this is a final product being sold on Steam for $25. One last thing I have noticed is that the development team seems to very active on the game’s Steam community forums, and appears to be dedicated to listening to players complaints and fixing some of them in future patches. This may make Foresight into something I end up coming back to down the road, but right now, it’s a hard sell.
Final Verdict: 2.5/5
Note: This review was based on retail code provided by the game’s publisher, KISS ltd.