Achron Review

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Achron Review

Achron will probably be the most unique RTS you'll play this year. The implementation of free-form time manipulation really takes the genre in some new and interesting directions, but only if you're willing to work through some flaws.

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"If the mere promise of true time travel gameplay intrigues you and your forgiving enough to overlook other areas than Archon is worth a look."

Inner Grammar Nazi: MUST; KILL; REVIEWER.

Sorry, but the whole "your" and "you're" thing is a pet peeve of mine; a pet peeve the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Edit: oops, almost forgot; friend of mine talked me about this game about a week ago, interesting idea, but too bug-ridden to pay 30€ for it. I'll be passing on this one.

Am I the only one that wanted to grab him and say "That's not how the damn game's name is pronounced have you seen a single video of the game before!?"

More on topic I found out about the game a while ago and I think it looks pretty awesome. With luck the developers will release some patches to fix pathfinding issues.

I don't normally play RTSs but the time travel mechanic looks really neat. If it was $15 I'd snatch this up now, but at $35 I think I'll wait a bit.

so what platform is this on? I'mm assuming pc but it doesn't say at the end of the review

kalt_13:
so what platform is this on? I'mm assuming pc but it doesn't say at the end of the review

Yes, it's a PC only title.

Sounds interesting, and it deals with one issue I've always had with RTS games where a couple of misclicks or bad reads early on can essentially doom you to lose the battle even if it takes an hour for that result to roll around.

Hmm. So it's finally finished. I've been following this for some time, and it's certainly an impressive technical achievement...
Good to hear it more or less works as a game idea too. Though it's disappointing about the lack of polish.

slycne:
There was one aspect to time travel that I found rather vexing though. If you go back in time, your units will continue to follow your orders as they are given in the future unless you use the undo command to clear them, which requires you to select the unit and then select on the timeline where you want commands deleted from. Maybe I'm not seeing the broader picture, but when all I want to do is keep my hero unit from dying by moving him slightly away from the front line, it would be so much more intuitive if he simply ignored future orders once I started commanding him in the past.

That sounds like it would have unforseen consequences. Also, since issuing orders in the past takes chronoenergy, imagine the headache that would result if you just want to tweak an order slightly, but delete a huge chain of commands instead...

Maybe the probability of needing to make a minor adjustment to a complex set of orders is lower than that of changing the orders altogether, but having to re-enter a huge number of orders all over again sounds pretty nasty.

Especially if each order issued costs you chronoenergy in the process.

Still, I guess it sounds like there should at least be a command to cancel 'existing' orders (They're technically orders that haven't been issued right? Or am I confusing things here? Time travel will do that. XD)

Sounds interesting but the AI pathfinding bit puts me off a bit. If changing past orders costs a resource per command having to spend more to deal with shoddy AI is a major problem.

Personally, I've decided to call Chrono Energy "Time Juice" instead.

So, instead of pressing the quick safe button I'll be pressing the reverse time button.By the looks of it, there is no point in this mechanic.

Keltzar:
Am I the only one that wanted to grab him and say "That's not how the damn game's name is pronounced have you seen a single video of the game before!?"

No, you definitely are not. I just want to smack him.

fi6eka:
So, instead of pressing the quick safe button I'll be pressing the reverse time button.By the looks of it, there is no point in this mechanic.

image

You cant exactly do a grandfather paradox with a quicksave button.

It sounds very interesting and worth looking into, but am I the only one (no, probably not obviously) that felt the maps looks very...boring? Not so much a graphics issue, but that I don't even see anything there at all. Just...empty space. This is the first time I've heard of the game so maybe I'm missing something.

Keltzar:
Am I the only one that wanted to grab him and say "That's not how the damn game's name is pronounced have you seen a single video of the game before!?"

More on topic I found out about the game a while ago and I think it looks pretty awesome. With luck the developers will release some patches to fix pathfinding issues.

So how is it pronounced? I didn't know of this game until know and I would also pronounce it ah-kron without further instruction based on its spelling.

Ups....forum hiccup made me double post. Sorry.

shiajun:

Keltzar:
Am I the only one that wanted to grab him and say "That's not how the damn game's name is pronounced have you seen a single video of the game before!?"

More on topic I found out about the game a while ago and I think it looks pretty awesome. With luck the developers will release some patches to fix pathfinding issues.

So how is it pronounced? I didn't know of this game until know and I would also pronounce it ah-kron without further instruction based on its spelling.

If I remember correctly from the developer's videos, it's ay-kron. The name comes from "achronal", which means "not chronal", so it's pronounced similarly to words like "asymmetric". Or something.

I read on the forums that there's an upcoming patch which will fix up the pathfinding, although I'd wait for the demo to see how much it helps.

Well it sounds like a clever use of time-travel as a gameplay mechanic to me.

Keltzar:
More on topic I found out about the game a while ago and I think it looks pretty awesome. With luck the developers will release some patches to fix pathfinding issues.

BabySinclair:
Sounds interesting but the AI pathfinding bit puts me off a bit. If changing past orders costs a resource per command having to spend more to deal with shoddy AI is a major problem.

In fact, the next patch (Due this monday) is set to address these issues very directly.

Also, for those worried about bugs, this game is being regularly patched, so bugs and interface problems will decrease as time goes on.

Dr. Pepper Unlimited:
It sounds very interesting and worth looking into, but am I the only one (no, probably not obviously) that felt the maps looks very...boring? Not so much a graphics issue, but that I don't even see anything there at all. Just...empty space. This is the first time I've heard of the game so maybe I'm missing something.

In the video, or in the actual game. If you are just seeing black space then that's probably a graphics driver issue. Go to the Achron Tech Support Forum if this is the case. If it's in the video, then search YouTube for videos, as those will have maps with stuff in them.

CrystalShadow:
That sounds like it would have unforseen consequences. Also, since issuing orders in the past takes chronoenergy, imagine the headache that would result if you just want to tweak an order slightly, but delete a huge chain of commands instead...

This would be especially problematic with production, as any time you'd want to tweak a production order in the past, or add one because you had accidentally floated resources, you'd have to redo your entire set of production orders for that building.

Triple post, sorry.

Triple post, sorry

Sorry for the double post. It keeps switching back between 11 and 21 replies to this thread. Wonder if a time manipulationg mechanic in effect. So I'm going to go back in time and delete this post before it gets posted. =p

Good review on a game that I heard about awhile ago and was hoping for better.

There is a logical problem I'm having. Generally, when one goes back in time, how it is handled in most stories is that one embarks on new time-branch, where actions in the new past can re-write the future. So the Terminator goes back in time to kill Sarah Connor so John Connor isn't born and in this re-worked timeline the human resistance is not commanded as successfully.

Whether the original time-line continues or is suddenly erased based on the revised past varies by the story. In Star Trek, alternate timelines have a tendency to co-exist. In most other stories, the new timeline erases the old, like Terminator, or Red Alert 3 when they kill Einstein. Either one could be represented in an RTS but it looks like Achron does something different.

Fearzone:
Whether the original time-line continues or is suddenly erased based on the revised past varies by the story. In Star Trek, alternate timelines have a tendency to co-exist. In most other stories, the new timeline erases the old, like Terminator, or Red Alert 3 when they kill Einstein. Either one could be represented in an RTS but it looks like Achron does something different.

Don't think about the areas on the timeline as different timelines. That tends to obfuscate understanding. It's the same timeline, but past events will eventually override future events. It's just that your memory (as an Achron) of what could have happened stays intact.

^^I'm glad to see you are on it. It makes me more likely to buy the game.

Shadowfury333:

In the video, or in the actual game. If you are just seeing black space then that's probably a graphics driver issue. Go to the Achron Tech Support Forum if this is the case. If it's in the video, then search YouTube for videos, as those will have maps with stuff in them.

I was just referring to the review video. I don't actually own the game yet.

Rauten:
"If the mere promise of true time travel gameplay intrigues you and your forgiving enough to overlook other areas than Archon is worth a look."

Inner Grammar Nazi: MUST; KILL; REVIEWER.

Sorry, but the whole "your" and "you're" thing is a pet peeve of mine; a pet peeve the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Edit: oops, almost forgot; friend of mine talked me about this game about a week ago, interesting idea, but too bug-ridden to pay 30€ for it. I'll be passing on this one.

Your inner Grammar Nazi notices that and yet the tagline; "The most unique RTS..." manages to slip under the radar? Better take that thing in for an MOT.

Sephychu:

Your inner Grammar Nazi notices that and yet the tagline; "The most unique RTS..." manages to slip under the radar? Better take that thing in for an MOT.

Well, my inner grammar nazi is, I'm afraid, far from perfect, even more if we consider that my native tongue is spanish.
That and I didn't pay too much attention to the review; that "your/you're" was easy to spot because it was part of that TL;DR-like ending they call "Recommendation".

P.S. What is wrong with "The most unique"? No, I'm serious, I don't know, and I want to.

I'm guessing the idea is that you can be unique or you can't be. It means one-of-a-kind so most unique doesn't make much sense.

Most original would though and to be honest most people would understand that you're quantifying it's unique aspects for a total unique score. Understood properly unique wouldn't be a very useful word

EDIT: On the other hand, the mess of the Justin Clouse line at the end would properly require the most urgent attention

Keltzar:
Am I the only one that wanted to grab him and say "That's not how the damn game's name is pronounced have you seen a single video of the game before!?"

More on topic I found out about the game a while ago and I think it looks pretty awesome. With luck the developers will release some patches to fix pathfinding issues.

You're far from the only one, I was reaching for my screen... he's even played the single player where one of the characters talks about becoming an Achron. It's pronounced "Ay-kron".

Aside from that; I've played though the beta (by preordering, you got access to it). The pathing can be somewhat iffy, but it's good to hear they're working on a patch for it. I know the developer posted sometime that creating a pathfinding routine is quite difficult, particularly with adding additional logic for the game's one melee unit.

The voice acting hasn't bothered me at all, but perhaps I've lowered my expectations slightly. Same story with the cutscenes: this isn't a devloper with access to legions of artists and renderers. Same story with the graphics, and that represents an optimization of system resources. It may look like it's from one generation ago, but it takes a pretty strong computer to keep going. In essence, as each timewave is moving the game is playing itself several times simultaneously. If you want that kind of functionality, you're going to melt computers if you try to get the latest cutting edge in graphics.

Shadowfury333:
snip

Sup, dude? Didn't know you floated around the Escapist forums too.

This Shadowfury333 gentleman casts Achron games on Youtube if you want to take a look at it in multiplayer action.

Also, TO HELL WITH THESE CAPTCHAS. I have to refresh the fucking things so many times to get one I can read...

Love "time line", because it's designed to look like an audio time line! amazing! the "amp" of damage in battle looking like the "red wave" amp! cool!

but you know... we all had been using this system long ago since the beginning of dune2 ... it's called "save and load"!!~~~ lol but i suppose this "save load, 'next' style" is cooler eh?

that's why when the movie "next" came out, and I watched it... I was like... WOW! it's like FPS game with "F9" (quick load) in real life...

The graphics look horrible beyond all measure.
They had a prototype a year back and then I thought it was just prototype placeholder graphics, but now...
I understand it`s a indie developer but for fuck sake Starcraft looked better than this.

*reads archon,stops video and plays Starcraft*

fi6eka:
So, instead of pressing the quick safe button I'll be pressing the reverse time button.By the looks of it, there is no point in this mechanic.

This is exactly it, it seems you transfer not your units but the entire game backwards, meaning you just restore the game back, nothing is changed, you simply have information about enemy placement.

Now what really would be interesting is you with a few units go against a bigger force, where the timeline stays present and only your units go back in time, repairing getting out of danger, so basically just like a chronosphere.

I don't know if the reviewer even listens to his own words, he complains about games like sands of time..when you got the very same mechanic right here, it just rewinds time, giving you another shot, its not like you can send your enemy's units back in time so you can walk past them or something.

For me its rather pretentiousness to claim that this is new and innovative, if this is, as another commenter said, simply a way to skip over saves.

You can transfer units back (or forward) in time. It's a more advanced tech (usually 8-12 minutes into an MP game), but you can do it. You can also attack in ways to mess up your opponent's knowledge. For example, attacking with a bunch of units, then undoing it once a timewave has passed by the attack, meaning the opponent thinks they are under attack when it has been cancelled.

As well, for production, you can jump across the timeline to set production orders every half-minute or so on the timeline (i.e. set production, jump forward 30-60 seconds, repeat).

Unfortunately, these are things you only really see come to form in multiplayer. If you want to play multiplayer and have the game, then come to #achron on irc.coldfront.net, and there will be people who will play.

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