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Cristian   Bucuresti, Romania
 
 
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Review Showcase
9.8 Hours played
Introduction
Freedom always has a price, right? More often than not, liberators and opressors blur the lines of clear defined morality whilst leaving behind a trail of dead and countless victims which the almighty global powers have labelled as “collateral damage”. Just follow the money, the catalyst and equalizer of any conflict. It’s refreshing to see Ndemic Creations back in the saddle. Their previous project and Steam debut was an original take on reaching world domination through bioharadous means. While Plague Inc allowed players to revel in a purely evil perspective, the title I shall review today attempts a more balanced approach to solving a seemingly perpetual issue: How does a nation recover from being an inherently corrupt war zone? The billion dollar question which has marked the second half of the 20th Century and it sadly still does today.

Story
Rebel Inc: Escalation is a political simulator at its heart. It won’t bore you with too many details in regards to underhanded practices or raw deals which mark the actual murky world of global politics. Instead this game proposes a hands-on operation in which you’re being entrusted a nation’s immediate future without noticeable oversight. No one shall hold your proverbial leash yet don’t mistake lack of supervision as the start of an easy campaign. Things will take a turn for the worse before you even have time to schedule free elections. That is, if you intend to at all. There are several methods you can tackle on your path towards re-establishing order in a war-torn fictional country. One extreme does lead to several bitter compromises while the other shall respond to violence with ultraviolence. Between them, you are at liberty to improvise.

Names for places or people are obviously out of the question. General terms are being used when necessary while for the most part, you’ll have to use your imagination if you really wish to pinpoint your efforts at a real life location of former or ongoing conflict. I shall refrain from any comments regarding the current state of affairs in contemporary conflict zones, they’re on nearly all continents and represent cultural, religious and economic issues which this humble simulation does not intend to portray or dare claim to offer as a viable solution. The several maps offered in the Early Access release, represent a wide variety of terrain, climate and scenery. Rebels might operate similarly, yet they still have to adapt to their surroundings. Flushing them out won’t be easy or pleasant. But it must be done.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1902851929

The heavy burden of assuming control over both the actions and their consequences, is one aspect I enjoyed in this game. Nothing is black or white, there are too many shades of grey at play here. Civilians are always the true victims of any war. They’re also the ones which have to pick up the pieces after the fighting has stopped, even temporarily. Rebuilding a nation takes more than just determination and funding while goodwill alone means nothing if you lack the cash. Players shall take control of an administrator of a certain professional background which is chosen upon starting the mission. Bonuses and maluses apply while the general population shall be hard to convince at all times. The urgency of rallying the people into an organized force willing to help rebuild their country, is your main focus even once you’ll be under siege from internal or external foes seeking to undermine your efforts.

Graphics
My money’s on Unity. It powered Plague Inc: Evolved as the PC version of the Plague Inc mobile game operating through a proprietary method. I have no complaints in Rebel Inc’s case as it scaled perfectly to my native resolution while featuring no glitches or crashes. The game itself is highly unlikely to cause any performance issues even if played through a low-end laptop. You’ll be “staring” at a set of 3D maps which incorporate 2D elements as well. Grand strategy never was about eye candy, but I won’t deny that it certainly helps if its complex details manage to be conveyed in a considerably more pleasant manner than an interactive spreadsheet. Picture Rebel Inc: Escalation as the commander’s perspective in any military shooter of your choice. The boots on the ground do the dirty work, yet someone still has to plan out the following moves and deal with the ensuing political fallout.

Audio
Sound assets were found to be lacking in diversity as well as general use. There’s not enough voice acting and the Early Access version doesn’t feature the planned “TV station talk shows”, which may spice things up while simulating the on-going efforts of your humanitarian or military endeavours. The soundtrack was adequate yet nothing out of the ordinary. There’s plenty of room for improvement and I do hope that shall be the case by the time Rebel Inc releases its final version.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1902852114

Gameplay
Back to our war at home or abroad, the gameplay is obviously the main attraction in this title. The story is as factional and open ended as it had to be in order to avoid offending anyone. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be on a constant offensive against these titular rebels which resist change, whether we’re talking of implementing democracy, women’s rights or shifting from an agrarian society towards an industrialised one. Invariably each operation whose codename you can pick, starts in 2002 and may end well into the 2020s depending on the scenario and overall difficulty setting. An organized campaign or story mode has yet to be released in my reviewed version, but the missions themselves feature five distinct maps which offer a bird’s eye view over a certain recovering nation. Steppes, deserts, river crossings or mountain ranges offer their own challenges in both sustained development and potential counter-terrorist measures.

I know that one’s terrorist can be another’s freedom fighter. Yet targeting civilians in order to further your goals against an opposing armed force, is still called terror by any other name. As administrator, you’ll gain access to both councilors and a steady income which shall be used to speed up the nation’s recovery towards peacetime prosperity. Before that, you have a civil war on your hands. Rebels shall take up arms and become a constant threat until you’ve either negociated peace and benefits in their favor or utterly vanquished them. If the annihilation of any form of resistance is your goal, know that you’ll have to deal with a literal war of attrition. Popular support is what ensures your continued success, so if you lose your popularity rating, it’s game over. Rolling out initiatives will build up trust with the people you’re there to help, don’t forget that. Blowing your budget on military investments alone, is a surefire way of losing the mission.

Verdict
The game’s complexity is not something which should deter strategy beginners. Tutorial missions are helpful and the title is very enjoyable if you’re even remotely interested in geopolitics. Lots of references to the UN or NATO and their struggles against terror groups bankrolled by “mysterious foreign powers”. To each their own, I am looking forward to Rebel Inc fully blossoming after its departure from an Early Access state.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1904216920

Strong Points
+ Pleasant graphics.
+ Steam Achievements & Trading Cards.
+ Complex simulation with contemporary themes.

Weak Points
- Limited sound effects and assets.
- Early Access, work in progress.

Rating 75/100

This review was submitted for Casual Game Reviews through the generous contribution of gt4
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Divide et Impera is a total overhaul of Rome 2 that seeks to provide a challenging, historically authentic, realistic experience of the ancient world and warfare. Almost all aspects of the game have been overhauled, including hundreds of custom units and t
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DΣƘΔƤΔƬΔƬΣ'∏ Oct 21 @ 7:16pm 
:deathfinger:
__"Hαρρч Ocтσвεя! Mч Fяιεиd!"__
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Pretorians Oct 9 @ 1:51am 
+ReP. GooD TRaDeR!
Awakeneer Oct 7 @ 8:07am 
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Have an awesome day!
BlackThug Sep 21 @ 8:39am 
:heartg: Have a nice week
mark_wr Covenant Sep 16 @ 11:50am 
I enjoyed and appreciated your review of "Father´s Island". :kiddiamond:
Gaffi Sep 9 @ 6:46am 
Adding for "sizeable game collection"