Somewhere between Call of Duty and Microsoft’s Age or Empires lies Eximius: Seize the Frontline. A first person shooter that with the push of a button becomes a real time strategy game.
Like Call of Duty it’s a first person shooter where you run through the streets of a war torn city in full military gear with fully automatic weapons shooting at bullet sponge enemies. Like Microsoft’s Age of Empires it is a real time strategy game where you must collect resources, train and deploy soldiers, build barracks and place defensive measures to protect your base. Unlike Call of Duty and Microsoft’s Age of Empires, Eximius: Seize the Frontline doesn’t do either of these particularly well.
The tutorial takes you through the basics of gun play, team movement and base building, but leaves a lot of questions left unanswered as the tutorial is currently incomplete. It does not cover which structures do what, The finer points of unit control or the rules of the only game mode currently available. For a seasoned real time strategy player these things will come as second nature. However for someone new to the genre it may be frustrating trying to figure out how to spawn a tank or generate more resources like power.
The current single player mode titled “offline skirmish” is a capture point game where you must capture and hold specific points on the map. Either by doing so yourself or sending in your troops. There are four generals which can capture points and resources for you. You can assign troops to them for added fire power or if left alone they will run carelessly into the sights of the enemy team. Couple this with simultaneously collecting resources, building barracks and defense turrets and you’ll find there is hardly time to play in the first person mode.
Online play is the same game mode but instead of having AI officers you and your team will fill the roles of both general and officers. Making things easier or harder depending on the cooperation of your team. Playing as the commander its your job to direct your real life officers in capturing points, or staying behind to defend what you already have. You can play the role entirely in RTS mode using the in game chat to direct your real life officers. While building up the base to provide AI soldiers and resources required to take down the enemy team. As an officer you will be bound to first person mode taking orders from the commander. Capturing control points, resources and defending the base against enemy advances.
Though the game really begins to shine in multiplayer. Its nearly impossible to find anyone to play with as the game typically only sees about 10 players a day. Gun play feels sloppy and non precise. Even after playing with my mouse sensitivity settings I found myself often over shooting my target. Making moving targets particularly difficult to hit. And quick head shots nearly impossible. Though over time I grew a little more accustom to the gun play I still found it difficult to react quickly in an emergency situation.
At the strategy end of the game everything seems pretty straight forward. Build some barracks, train some soldiers. You can place turrets around the map to defend points of interest and assign units to yourself or other generals. Its difficult to tell if your troops are doing well in battle or properly utilizing cover while in RTS mode as their tiny little sprites are covered up by icons that represent the type of soldier they are. As well as not being able to see the enemy unless your team sees the enemy. Making it even more difficult to know if the path ahead is clear to move forward. This adds realism to the game but creates chaos as you command your troops to move forward only to be met by an enemy squad just on the other side of a bus.
You can choose from 2 factions to play as. The Axeron Corporation (AXR) is a private research company turned militarized security contractor. Believed to be withholding technology that could spread peace across the land. And the Global Security Force (GSF) a peace keeping organization assembled after the “great war” whose goal is to reconstruct civilization across the nation. Of course the game tells you none of this. I had to go to the steam page to gather this information. There is no story narrative, no quests or goals, no indication as to why these two organizations are at war or what happened to the world they’re fighting in.
There are 3 maps available to play and each one is unique and quite pretty. Over grown vegetation dilapidated cars and tall sky scrapers frame out the battle field giving you ample spots to hide or several routes to cover as you move into the enemy territory.