|Krush, Kill, n Destroy 2: Krossfire (c) Beam Software|
Real-time strategy games are a dime a dozen these days. It takes something incredibly original to stand out - otherwise they go in the a) junkpile b) trashpile c) recycle bin (if they're lucky) or d) the discount bin at the store, where no one'll ever buy it again. Incidentally, KKND2 is an RTS game; however, I would not attach it to the 'dime-a-dozen' category. Nor does it, frankly, in my opinion, go into the one in a million class [and believe me that I mean million - that is close to how many RTSs there are around these days - only 3D shooters have more clones :)]. The original KKND was original in certain ways, as per its fans - I have not had the experience of playing it, therefore I am unable to judge it based on the previous experience. But anyway, to the review.
Graphics: 14 / 20
The graphics are relatively uneventful. The units are somewhat personality-less, except for the Systech who, when walking northwards looks exactly like Homer [Simpson, duh]. Incidentally, he happens to be the tech guy who fixes things - such as plants. Irony? Maybe. The flying units look relatively neat - but then again, it's fairly easy to make a cool air unit - just copy the B-2, the SR-71 or the F-22. Or, mix all of the above. Whatever. The terrain is varied, with lots of toxic waste which looks kind of neat, with dead cars in it and stuff. Reminds you of Fallout... but then again, this is not completely relevant.
Sound: 7 / 15
I was not impressed with the unit sounds. Let me rephrase. I was NOT impressed with the unit sounds. Um. I won't rephrase, but you get the point. Not only I don't like _what_ they say, I don't like HOW they say it. Plus, they all say it the same way - for example, a juggernaut uses the same voice as a bomber as a kamikaze as a laser rifleman as a rocketeer as a ... well, whatever. And too often they tend to say 'What the hell?' when you give them commands, which I find positively annoying. If a unit wants to smart mouth me, I don't want it to be a peon - I want it to be a unit important enough for me to actually CARE about it - and I positively do NOT about some infantry guy. It's okay when Carriers tell you you will be relieved of command if you keep procrastinating in StarCraft, but that's original and cool - it's no longer cool in KKND2, it's annoying. Did they copy Z? I don't know, it's been too long - I frankly don't remember - if you do, email me :).
Gameplay: 21 / 25
KKND2 has the gameplay of a decent RTS. You build a base, upgrade your technologies, then swarm your enemy, and a) kill him b) he kills you. I am absolutely sure there are strategies you can follow, and ways of defeating the enemy of which I am not aware of, so please don't flame me about that - virtually any (well-designed) game has different ways of doing things. However, I tried skirmishing the computer, and I was NOT impressed - perhaps after getting my butt kicked unexpectedly by the StarCraft AI the first couple of times I played it. The computer was kind enough to let me build a fully developed, advanced base - and imagine my surprise when I flew over to attack him with a couple of bombers and found him chock-full of units that were just sitting there! That was NOT impressive. (Those of you who've done level design for StarCraft, you'll understand what I mean when I say Use Map Settings and the computer AI). Anyway, that was just unacceptable - it only came to attack me once, and it was not funny how easily I crushed his attack, with almost no losses and/or any significantly advanced units. Another neat thing is the research, which I did not fully figure out, but it looks immensely powerful - just the AMOUNT of stuff you can research is quite daunting - and has a certain attractive thing about it... makes you want to research... research... um, wait, snap out of it, NOW.
Fun Factor: 14 / 20
It depends how much you are into this kind of games. If you absolutely need the best and cannot stay with the middle of the pack, you might wish to skip on this one. I doubt it could possibly reach the sophistication level of StarCraft, or, much less, Total Annihilation. However, there are certainly the original fans of KKND, who will most probably love this one - and not only because it's the sequel - just because it's a fairly decent RTS.
Multiplayer Play: 3 / 5
I was unfortunately unable to find a partner for this one, for everyone I knew was either busy playing StarCraft, Unreal, or hanging out 'somewhere other than home', if you know what I mean. The computer AI, frankly, sucked, so I cannot help but give it a middle rating - it could very well be much better.
Packaging: 5 / 5
HiD did a very neat thing which impressed me with its simplicity - knowing the music was way too big to release it, they MP3'd all of it, which brought it down to a manageable size. Too bad the game can't play MP3's, otherwise you could actually LEAVE them as MP3's... but they thoughtfully provided you with a registered decoder, and a batch file to run to decode the files. Good job.
Overall Impression: 7 / 10
I was not terribly disappointed, nor was it a title to write home about. I did not particularly love it or hate it, but I'm keeping an open mind about it - and given some time, I could maybe even get to like it. Then on second thought, I could get to hate it, then regret the wasted time - so I better not try.
The Good: some units look cool, you only manage one resource (oil), research options are extremely advanced.
The Bad: units look kind of similar, take way too long to build and are fairly uneventful; the oil tankers are SLOW (read this: S-L-O-W); annoying sound effects; research options and construction options may be TOO deep for certain people; terrains look too similar (it's NOT [entirely] my fault the screenshots look VERY similar).
In short: A decent RTS, which kind of overuses the Mortal Kombat use of 'K' in the title (_K_rush, _K_ill, Destroy 2: _K_rossfire); though it does not measure up to the likes of Total Annihilation (and yes, the ever-present StarCraft) it still has its niche in the bottomless well of RTSs (i.e., while others fall right down to the bottom, this one hangs somewhere in the upper middle). Hm, now where'd I get that imagery. If you're a die-hard RTS fan, you may wish to check it out; it, however, may be a bit too complicated for a beginner without the manual *cough*.
Overall Rating: 71 / 100
Ugh. Strategy games are so numerous nowadays, it takes a truly unique and well done game to stand out above the crowd. KKND2 doesn't do this, in fact it stands at about the crotch level compared to most other games.
There is no excuse for graphics like these if this game is meant to compete head to head with the other strategy games. Put up against Starcraft and TA, and even Dark Colony and Dark Reign, these graphics are unacceptable. Although some of the actual sprites for the buildings and units are kinda decent (not a patch on TA's polygonal units/buildings, or even Starcraft's lovely sprite based units), they are all animated poory. The units are REALLY small (if you thought Starcraft had small unit, check out some of the ones in this game; the soldiers are like 2 pixels tall), and they just slide across the screen with a "walking" animation. It just looks bad. Many of the units are just poor ripoffs from other games, they are almost impossible to see, and some are just totally cartoony, and impossible to take seriously. The buildings look ok, but they are hard to figure out the function, as the look of the building sometimes doesn't obviously reflect its function. For instance, a research center is topped with a huge satellite dish, so it looks like a radar/communications building. Weapons look weak and tiny, it doesn't feel like you are actually doing much damage at all. The terrain looks OK, but even though it has hills and stuff, it feels and looks very flat and 2d. Graphically, this game barely competes with the newer strategy games.
Sound is mediocre, it isn't absolutely terrible, but it definitely doesn't compete with the better strategy games. Sound FX are standard, music isn't present, and the voices of the units are pretty bad. They say things like "What the hell?" and other phrases that don't really make sense and don't fit the game. There is a certain amount of attitude that works, like in Starcraft, but acknowledgments like "What the hell?" just don't make sense. Nothing much else to say about sound. It doesn't help the game, it doesn't hinder the game.
Gameplay is, compared to any of the new real time strategy games like Starcraft or TA (the obvious comparisons), bad. The units are unimaginative, the missions are unoriginal and very plain, and there are no unique or impressive features. This game is missing all the critical elements to good gameplay. On the plus side, there are the 3 different races/species, so the gameplay is slightly different depending on who you play as. On the minus side, the gameplay is BAD, no matter who you play as. Due to the lack of good units/buildings, the strategy you employ is very limited. This game is also missing the fleshed out upgrade system, and other strategy game features that should be standard in any product coming onto the market now. The lack of units is probably the most glaring problem. Unlike TA, with its dozens of units, or Starcraft with the highly adaptable units, where there is always a "best unit" for the job, and all units can work in different situations, the units in KKND2 just seem like random vehicles/units that have little strategy value. I also can't get over the fact that the missions are just boring. There is no plot progression, the missions are just attached together in any which way. I thought that sort of progression was left back in the early strategy games. The mission objectives have absolutely no originality or fun factor to them. They basically consist of "destroy the opposition". There are no sabotage missions, no timed missions, there is no real reason to be playing the levels. I think the only time somebody can have fun with this game is if they haven't played any of the other strategy games out there, and this is their first experience. Everybody else will compare this to their favorite game and go "geez this is just no fun at all".
Multiplayer is like single player, due to the unoriginal and un-varied units, the strategy value is weak, and therefore the entire gameplay is weak. There is only so much you can do with such limited resources/buildings/units. Compared to Starcraft, which I personally feel is the pinnacle of strategy multiplayer, this is just completely blah. I couldn't play for very long because I started to nod off halfway through.
Graphics: 13 / 20
Overall Rating: 65 / 100