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Article: Game: Time of Defiance Video Review

By Admin on 2005-04-28 14:12:58
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MMORTS.COM Time of Defiance Video Review
TimeDownload & PlayFormatGet Player
04:38320x240 (10.7M) 160x120 (1.4M)Windows MediaGet Windows Media Player
04:38320x240 (11.8M) 160x120 (1.1M)Real MediaRealPlayer Plus

If you're looking for an online RTS game, Time of Defiance is a game of empire building and resource management which is more strategy and real-time than players of fast paced single player RTS games are likely used to. The pacing of Time of Defiance with its 15 minute building times and hour plus transit times means that strategies play out over days rather than minutes, and the one to four week games just don't seem long enough. The advantage of the slower pace is that you can play for ten minutes, check your empire's status, get that fleet of ships building, then go back to work.

The disadvantage for those of us in the A.D.D. crowd is that the action can be frustratingly slow. When you see enemy ships coming towards your base, you probably have 20 minutes before they arrive, but with the long build times for defences, there's nothing really much to do other than sit and wait. If one of your ships detects an enemy ship you might like to destroy, chances are good it will get away long before one of your armed ships can catch it.

Still, Time of Defiance is oddly addicting. I found myself checking in on the game a few times throughout the day to see how my pioneer ships were doing and if anyone had been attacking my empire. The game continues to play on its own while you are offline, so base defences are key. Each time you go online you get a summary of the action you?ve missed. I'd often go on, chat for a few minutes with the other players that were on, find out where they were from, get the latest gossip, then go off again. In the evening while watching TV with the family, I'd leave the game running and check on it during commercials. Occasionally I'd disappear into the game for an hour, leaving my wife wondering what happened to me.

Graphics in the game are reminiscent of Homeworld with a 360 degree camera view, low poly spaceship models, better looking islands and beautiful background vistas, particularly around sunset in the game's day-night cycle. Whoever does the skyboxes at NiCE really has a gift. While the graphics are just alright, there are spots of inspiration. All the coal-burning ships leave a cloud of black smoke in their wake which gave me a good laugh.

Sound was a little disappointing. When you get in close to bases and ships, the sounds are on short repeating loops that are sort of annoying. I didn't notice any use of my surround speakers.

Networking in the game worked pretty well and it uses a surprisingly small amount of bandwidth. I got disconnected twice in a week of play, not too surprising given the servers are in England and I'm in Canada. Getting reconnected is quick and painless. I also noticed the occasional bit of warping for ships and missiles. Since the position of ships doesn't really affect the gameplay that much, it would be nice if the developers would smooth out the warps. Another minor annoyance is the file version checker that runs every single time you start the game and runs through all 650+ files in the game package. I don?t want to wait for that.

The game's tutorial will get you going with the basics of the game, but the minimalist documentation may leave you wondering what exactly to do with all the units available. Each unit has a help page but they are pretty short and don't give much hint to the benefits and drawbacks of each unit. The online documentation isn't much more helpful and this game really cries out for an in-depth strategy guide.

You're going to spend a lot of your time playing with the empire view. It gives you an overall view of your empire and lets you see what you own, their status, and lets you plan your conquest of the 16,000,000 square kilometres of Nespanona. Zooming out on the map will really give you a sense of the scale of the world in this game. Nespanona is large.

When you start playing you get a base and some money. I was sort of disappointed that I didn't see another player for the first 6 days, then all of a sudden there were several, all looking to gut my fledgling little empire and I found myself wanting to be alone in my little corner of the universe again.

The camera in the game is annoying. I spent a lot of time fiddling with it trying to get it to give me the angle on the action that I wanted. I found that if it is too low the camera often gets stuck on islands like a whale on a beach. Ships are blowing up, but you just... can't... get... to see them. Only after I did some additional reading after my first game ended did I find out that you can alt-click on an object to centre the camera on it. If you focus the camera on a moving ship it won't always follow it, the camera just stays in place until it disappears into a speck in the distance.

The other players in the game are generally friendly and helpful to beginners, other than the odd one who got a little touchy when I blew up their outposts. I spent some online time chatting with House of Andromeda, who has been playing Time of Defiance for roughly 3 years and he was the leading player in the game I was playing. He gave me a peek at some of the things you can accomplish if you know how. In just five short days he built a spectacular fleet of battle platforms (you do not want to see these coming at your base) as well as a giant quantum net for moving resources around his empire. Until I chatted with him, I had no idea I even wanted a QNet.

Time of Defiance is definitely worth taking for a spin. They offer a week of free play, then it is about ten bucks a month. The game is updated regularly with new features and content.

In the end, after my base was obliterated, I was happy to get in my lone remaining pioneer ship and head off into the sunset to start anew at conquering Nespanona. Look out House of Andromeda! I'm gunning for you!

Publisher: Nicely Crafted Entertainment Ltd.
Game Website:
Price: ?5.00/month, ?25.00/6 months, ?40.00/year
Version: 4.818
Review Date: April 28, 2005

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