Fenrakk Xeme   New York, New York, United States
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- he/him
- plays a lot of videogames
- argues way too often over way too many things
- anti-fascism is necessary for democracy
- ちょっと日本語が話せます
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58 Hours played
My problems with the campaign are fairly different from a lot of other people's. The latest patch went a long way to addressing a lot of issues, but the devs are evidently insistent on a super-punishing Ironman style of campaign, and the lack of changes addressing that is why I have to vote down.

To be clear, They Are Billions is a very fun game. The core gameplay of clearing out a map while building up a colony and maintaining your defenses, sustaining waves, etc. is compelling and fairly unique. In terms of core mechanics, the biggest complaint I would have is that there's a lot of bizarre rules you need to learn about how houses can be placed next to each other. Building space comes at a premium, so you're encouraged to make the best use of all of it, but even dozens of hours in I feel regularly confused about why I can or can't place a house somewhere.

But in my years of experience, no RTS game can survive just by being a good RTS game; it lives or dies on the campaign, and judging by the reviews, TAB seems to be no exception. I mentioned my complaints are a little different from most: the common consensus of reviewers seems to be that the campaign lacks variety, as well as story progression. I would actually defend the game on these fronts: aside from the three distinct mission types in the campaign, each individual mission also feels distinct and memorable. There's a mission set around a large lake, a mission with a single chokepoint, a mission where the goal is to maximize your gold income... I could recall pretty much every campaign mission I've played so far, which I consider an accomplishment. I would argue that the gameplay that remains consistent across every map - clearing the map, building up walls, etc - are the core mechanics of the game, and it's unfair to demand the developers make drastic changes to that. As for story progression, while there's no excess of Command-and-Conquer style cutscenes before and after and during every mission, there's a nice blurb for every mission you take, and the tactical missions in particular each adds a newspaper passage telling a piece of how the world became the way it is. I personally felt that this was sufficient.

However, the biggest problems with the campaign are in its structure. As mentioned, the latest patch addressed a lot of the criticisms, allowing you to save your campaign state, not locking in tech choices until you complete a mission, and - astonishingly- allowing you to replay missions. (I'm not sure how this was overlooked - and you still can't replay the zombie horde missions, so it's still not all missions). However, there are other frustrating mechanics that have been left in: the game actually keeps track of how many times you've *failed* a mission, and reduces your score for that level based on how many defeats you've had. I cannot convey how baffling this mechanic is for a game like this. Levels are extremely long, often taking an hour or more, and can fail at any time with a single mistake or oversight. The developers effectively expect players to succeed in every mission on the first try, and punishes them if they don't. On top of that, while you can save your campaign state on the overworld map, you still can't save or load in the middle of a mission - and in fact, they've made an additional change that now autosaves the game if you alt+F4. With this change, I have to conclude that the developers are committed to this hyper-punishing (and extremely time-wasting!) design, which is completely and utterly out of place for this game.

The game does not benefit in any way by punishing players for not playing absolutely perfectly. Imagine if a game like Civlization reduced your campaign score based on how many campaigns you've failed up until then. That wouldn't even be close to how absurd the mechanic is in TAB - every single level is designed with a unique gimmick, which is what makes them so memorable in the first place. What compelled the developers to design a campaign around gimmicks, and then punish players for experimenting? It's a contradiction that fascinates me in its audacity.

If you read the positive points of my review and decided to purchase the game, great! I do really wish I could give the game a positive review. And in my mind, it would be so easy to earn that thumbs up from me - just give up on this commitment of punishing players for no discernible reason. Allowing saving/loading during missions would probably be enough, though I also want to see that defeat counter scrapped like the terrible idea that it is. But as it stands, this game does not respect the players' time, and I struggle to find sympathy for games that don't respect my time.
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Himeros_✨ Dec 24, 2020 @ 2:08am 
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Himeros_✨ Dec 24, 2020 @ 2:08am 

Himeros_✨ Dec 25, 2019 @ 2:36am 
Claris Mar 23, 2019 @ 2:49pm 
Himeros_✨ Dec 24, 2018 @ 7:15am 
Samantha Aug 23, 2018 @ 5:12am 
Yo I trade my pudge arcana for any 10 Dota2 loading screens - if you want send me trade offer, I will accept