Achron is a very interesting concept for a strategy game. If you like seeing entirely new mechanics for games, Achron is definitely something to pick up. However, obvious pitfalls make this game incredibly...tiresome.The Good:
The time mechanics in the game are interesting, and mostly
intuitive. Travelling throughout a 7 minute time period (5-6 minutes behind, 1-2 minutes ahead), you can see things that have happened, and can actually
change the events that have happened. If you have problems with understanding, "What happened with that group?" you can just rewind to see why that occurred. The interface is also intuitive enough so you can understand when some things happen. Movement, orders, and normal actions doesn't deviate from the norm in top-down strategy games, so a player that plays other top-down strategy (Supreme Commander, Command & Conquer, etc.) will not see any kind of problems getting into this game.The Bad:
The interface needs some serious tweaks to understand your actions, and what your actions in the timeline are affecting. Its also extremely hard to tell when your changes are getting propagated to the present when it has nothing to do with unit on unit combat. If you (or another time traveller) jumps back to the past, makes a change, and you (in the future), could see a change that doesn't exactly make sense (such as a building or unit not getting built). While you do have the ability to jump into the past and see the changes why, the user interface incredibly lacks when, why and how things are getting modified.
Pathing in this game is also a joke. Most games, you can just right-click the location and they will path around obstacles. However, in Achron, if you right click on the right side of the map, and in the center is a one-entrance gully, which they have to go to the North or South to avoid, they will enter the gully, and get stuck on the eastern edge of the gully and stop, without trying to repath. Also, groups have hard times keeping together, since formations do not exist. Friendly "nudging" to get out of the way of a building being built, or a tank trying to get through a line of friendly soldiers, does not exist. Even with this garbage pathing, one unit can only have five orders active at one time.
The unit creation queues are also a joke. You can manage it once its in the queue effectively, and the queue is hard to understand, with health bars on the queue for some odd reason. Its hard to tell if something is made for a purpose or not, and the creation of buildings with the wrong unit mentions "at a higher cost," but fails to tell you how much it costs. Also, if you place down one building, that area is not "reserved" for other friendly units to not build buildings on that spot, so you'll run into the issue that you might build where a building is going to go.
The fact that you can't stop Major characters from moving to repair/help build unless they are leagues away annoys me considerably. I can't count the times in which the main characters (that aren't supposed to die) broke formation to heal a front-line unit, and ended up getting killed, requiring me to go back in time to tell them run away.
Teleporters are also really terrible. Rather than teleporting units as close as possible to the specified point, they are teleported anywhere within a 20 block radius from the chosen point, creating problems that units end up on top of impassible terrain, or in the middle of canyons, unable to get out, even with a nearby teleporter.
The game also takes control too early for major objectives, using the simulated "future time" (1-2 minutes in the future) to determine when an objective is finished. Because of this, it causes major characters to die because the computer takes control of the characters and moves them out of formation, requiring you to go back in time to rectify it after the unskippable cutscene ends. Also, unskippable cutscenes (which doesn't pause the game while doing it) in game.The Ugly:
Its evident that they worked on the time-manipulation system for 90% of the time. Maps are built incorrectly; they have impassible 85 degree inclines with textures that resemble a rock formation rather than walls that are textured properly. The large walls, which are blended together with the floor patterns, make the inside of ships and buildings look like outside with just really steep walls.
Voice acting and story, I would say that its really dumb. Okay, that's being generous, the storyline is probably one of the weakest things in the game. Game introduces Tyr, an AI, but people talk to it like a person when it comes out, makes it confusing when Tyr is introduced as an AI later on. When you encounter another AI later on, everyone treats that same type of AI as the enemy, despite Tyr being that same type of AI. Events in the game occur in reasonable order, instead things happen that suit what the storyline needs at that point in time. Even when a chapter switches, which makes you go to another race and control it (ala Starcraft), is disjointed, problematic, anti-climactic and dumb. Character moods are inconsistent, and flat. Voice acting is lifeless, and I find myself skipping cutscenes just so I don't have to listen to characters that I don't care about drone on and on, making me more sleepy than when Ben Stein is talking.Overall:
Achron is a great and new game element into a game that would be great as a concept game, but fails to excite with lackluster AI, UI, Storyline and Voice Acting. 3/10.