This game has been in development for many years and boy, does it show (in a good way!). It SHINES with polish and the excellence and bug-free experience ANY game can have with sufficient, dedicated development time constructively spent by active developers on working out the kinks, improving and optimizing the graphics, ramping up the coolness factor of the bullet streams, increasing the enemies' intelligence and their pathfinding and tactics, increasing the detail of the textures and improving the lighting and gameplay and...
...well, Steel Storm: Burning Retribution (SSBR) has been through the equivalent of many "early access" development cycles without having used early access time.
I believe I first downloaded it on Sourceforge long ago when it was available for Linux and Windows (however, my memory might be lying to me. If I were British, I might have the audacity
(the word, not the software... see the connection I made to where Steel Storm: Burning Retribution might have started? Har.) to suggest that my memory might be telling me porkies.) I learned that "telling porkies" phrase on a German<->English dictionary site and thought it sounded rather amusing at the time when playing it through various online text-to-speech engines.
But I digress. With digression, even.
Back to the point: SSBR is a polished, satisfying game. You might find yourself spending more time playing SSBR than you anticipate.
And that's just the single-player part. I haven't even delved into the multiplayer portion of the game with its collection of multiplayer variants (Edit: I have learned that the number of gamers playing SSBR in multiplayer mode is not as large as might be desired—for whatever reason—and more development time has been spent on making SSBR friendly to single players as a result)
. SSBR is like Unreal Tournament or Quake with modern graphics and mechs and hovertanks instead of humanoids. And limited, rather than infinite, respawns. And double kills, triple kills, quadruple kills, etc. And a LOT of weapons.The View From Above Provides A Great Starting Point:
SSBR is, by default, played while viewing your HoverTank from a top-down, third-person perspective. There's an automap in the corner and a larger toggleable map, but don't give up on it if that's not your cup of tea: the main camera can be positioned anywhere you want near your character (unless the camera options have been altered; I remember on an old build using a primary camera a little above and behind my vehicle with other buttons bound to cameras looking in forward/back/left/right/etc. directions from the POV of my vehicle. I remember lots of clipping errors in that build from many years ago, which was probably using a different engine.) When I played it today (the day I wrote the rough draft of this review, 2015-07-07)
, I noticed no clipping errors at all. Two camera options are available to choose as defaults, but individual features (e.g. speed of camera movement, camera response delay following your having turned or moved your vehicle, angle of camera relative to ground, angle relative to the vehicle, angle relative to a fixed base, etc.)) within those options can be changed, etc.
I don't know if the multiple access-anytime camera angles are possible in the current build, but it would not surprise me. If you like games with lots of options to play with, SSBR can probably help to satisfy you.
If you like playing HoverTank DM/CTF/etc. or the much larger than I remember single-player tutorial and campaign(s), this game is different enough and contains enough similar and different features that it's an enjoyable experience.
By default, SSBR's controls are mapped to keyboard, joystick, X360pad, and mouse. The mappings can be changed at will from the main menu or the in-game pause menu.Blowing Stuff To Smithereens a Visceral Thrill; Finding Goodies After Smoke Clears:
The detailed and varying barrels and crates and bins and boxes and scenery are gloriously destructible. Unless it's a legitimate barrier (for which you will be grateful after you learn they can provide good cover from behind which to snipe turrets and other baddies), it can be destroyed... and what will the destruction leave in its wake? Repair parts to give you more health? An additional vehicle respawn ("life")? A new weapon? or a huge number of parts exploding all over the place, adding only to your score? The number of 'gibs' an exploding item releases can be set to preference.
- SSBR now has trading cards!
- Multiplayer can be co-op or competitive
- Runs on all Steam-supported OSs
- SSBR comes with an integrated editor, allowing the player to create new levels or campaigns