Test Your Might #1: Roaring Synapses #i - Mid Day Crisis

by Indiana… on Friday, 18 March 2011

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The Beta:
Frozen Synapse is sneaking its way out of beta with the last major hurdle, single player, being shaped as I write this; so before anything changes too much I thought I'd give you an overview of the changes to the game…

The Changes: Many and welcome, but first I'd like to show you some quick games I played against the AI…

Apologies about the slight one sidedness of the skirmishes; not ego boosting on my part, simply the best of games I played crashed—but more on that later.

As you can see the main feature of this latest patch, the AI, is very good; using its LOS—line of sight— and positioning effectively, as one might expect, but even on the standard difficulty setting the strategy and the tactics are pleasingly organic and solid. I say that not in the vague way of congratulations you get for the AI of most competitive multiplayer games; for simply not collapsing before the end of the match against a decent player, but as a genuine compliment… the AI is 'good'.

With standard difficulty, level 2, representing strong beginner to average intermediate: the maximum difficulty level —4— represents a strong challenge, being able to beat top 5 players 30% of the time but this efficacy is so far untested on my part due to time limitations and some crashes.

The Good:

The new skirmish generator:A solid addition to the game, offering a myriad of options for those who don't want to play online—or can't— the variance you can create is great but the ease in which you can do so is exemplary, with the ease of sharing settings a nice feature… here are the ones I used for that map


Less but better.

The new AI: For the aforementioned reasons; being able to play with rockets is nice to until you see just how good the AI is with them.

The GUI: The graphic user interface is one of those integral features in a game that is often often overlooked due to being well not "sexy" enough—GUI just isn't fly. An evolution not a revolution but the small additions like the new 'check' feature (in which your uni quickly sweeps any areas they haven't recently looked at before returning to their original facing) or the intuitive layering of plans really change the way you play—just look at how often I use it 'check'— and highlight the attention to detail of the team but also their great community integration.

The patches: The speed patches come out and issues are fixed is great much like the ease of communicating your problems to the team, but issues are issues which leads us to…

The Bad:

Stability: As I mentioned earlier isn't great, an issue which is especially aggravating given the tendency to crash whilst submitting a turn; an issue I'd anecdotally say has got worse—hence the lack of level 4 AI testing. However the patching is as mentioned fast and efficacious, and the game a beta.

Sound: _ensnare's_ work on the music and sound is currently squandered, as it is often broken, however a patch is currently being worked on so these are minor niggles.

The Summary: A ferociously playable game with manifest ambition and potential, currently smoothing off the last few rough edges: well worth buying at this early stage.

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