Verfasst: 8. August 2014
Very disappointing, even at the price as it's so close to being at least decent but the UI quirks and design decisions really add up to something subpar.
And the premise looks so good at first: a combination of the SNES game Metal Marines with the missile and mining focus of Fragile Allegiance, two great tastes that should go great together but just falls short of those expectations. Like Metal Marines, you play on your own little square of the world and your opponent settles on another, and you attack each other by launching surgical strikes, and like Fragile Allegiance, you make most of your cash and weapons through the refining of minerals. It's not quite as in-depth as either, but on paper it at least seems like it SHOULD be an interesting streamlining of those two games.
But it isn't. In Fragile Allegiance, complicated though it was, at least had more interesting decisions: resources were limited and prone to boom and bust cycles when sold on the open or black market, so you really did have to question whether it was worth making a mega-missile or selling the ore and allocating those funds someplace else. When an asteroid went dry, would you keep it as a population center for passive income? A heavily-defended storage facility to funnel all your materials into? A giant industrial complex that shipped in things from elsewhere and put out fleets and nukes? Or would you just strap a giant engine on it and ram it into a rival corp's colony?
In Direct Hit, there's none of that. You just make missiles, launch recon warheads to find what you're looking for, and then slam more damaging rockets into them. I would've loved to have seen if the full tech tree offered anything more interesting, but for whatever reason there's no customizable skirmish mode whatsoever for you to play with and see everything right off the bat.
Not that I would've had the patience to stick with it anyway because of the ridiculous interface and design decisions Polynetix has made. For one thing, buildings can't be rotated at all. In most games this wouldn't be a problem but every structure has one or more power-connection points that need to be attached to your settlement's power grid. If you want to set up your windmill farms vertically then too bad. You also can't click and drag when placing buildings, each must be placed with an individual click. Constructed builds can be demolished but not moved, which immediately becomes a pain since you start every map by having to place your dropship, but you can set it down and end up covering a convenient patch of ore; all of a sudden a field of handy metallium becomes unobtainium because you've inadvertently blocked your own access to it. It would've been such an easy fix to just make the dropship a kind of do-it-all building (which it already sort of is since it handles trade and provides some power) that can maybe mine at a slower rate than refineries, but they didn't think to do that.
The research is really nothing special and has a pretty silly tier to it where building your first lab unlocks military tech, but you need a second one to research economics. Why not just let me choose either one right off the bat and then I can make the decision to make another lab if I want to speed things up? I don't even get a new, different-looking econ lab to make things more interesting. Though, that's probably appropriate since seemingly all the econ techs are just boring "you now do this plus whatever percent better" rather than anything cool. There's also no easily-glanced-at percentage bar on the main screen to show how far along your research has progressed, you have to look into the science menu every time.
And the combat system itself might've been passable but, once again, the UI cripples it. The way it works is you have access to two kinds of silos: AMLs, which shoot down incoming missiles, and CMLs, which launch them at your opponent. Whenever an enemy launches something at you, the garbled, barely-intelligible robot announcer lets you know, and you then have to click on the radar menu and then on any of the available AML missile buttons to launch them at the incoming rockets. There's no automation; you can't just stock up on interceptors and tell the computer how many missiles you want to launch at each incoming attack, you HAVE to micromanage. I can only imagine how irritating this would get in the later missions against a more tenacious AI.
Attacking isn't so hot either: you make the missiles in a factory, and they're equally distributed to each CML. I never figured out how to shift inventories between different silos as they can each hold up to like ten missiles, and once a rocket's been prepped for launch, you CANNOT switch them out for another until it's been fired. But most egregious of all with this is that you load rockets and set their targets on the same menu... but despite there being a giant "MISSILE READY" button on the bottom right of the screen, you DON'T click that to launch it. Instead, you have to click to another tab in the radar/rocket menu and launch it from there. Keeping in mind this same screen contains a list of every rocket you launch, which would be fine were it not for the fact that the list DOESN'T SCROLL AT ALL, forcing you to manually click on every previously shot rocket since your ready-to-launch ones are near the bottom of the list, which causes the screen to switch over to the opponent's view and forces you to go back to the rocket menu and clear the other past launches one by one. You can't even right-click to dismiss them without snapping your view to the impact site. It's like a window back to 1997 strategy-sim gaming, only even games like Fragile Allegiance and MoO2 had some elegance to their controls despite being far more complex.
It almost could've been something sorta-simple-yet-decent, an alright super-budget title to waste an afternoon or two on, but it just ends up being a dud thanks to several design screwups. Not recommended.