We are used to that basically spin-offs go to some famous AAA-class game series. But it turns out, and indie developers are not alien to these traditions. Here, for example, studio Ironward released Solstice Chronicles: MIA - a branch to its command isometric action The Red Solstice in 2015. Here, the authors tried to introduce new elements of game mechanics - but did they get it and work the way it was planned?
Action Solstice Chronicles: MIA unfolds in the same universe - on the colonized Mars, where people fled the Earth, escaping from the zombie virus epidemic. We are playing for the Marine, the only mercenary who was left alive in a dead colony, behind the front line.
Yes, you did not misinterpret - if The Red Solstice was a team tactical action, where up to eight fighters, including in a cooperative, could fight in one unit, then the Solstice Chronicles: MIA reminds Alien Shooter , where one hero solo, and crowds of his reptiles besiege him . The only assistant to our Marine - a kind of chatty drone, supporting us with more or less successful jokes and special skills (about them - a little later).
Together they have to pass more than two dozen missions - the Marine tries to survive, to save an important employee of the Elysium Corporation and find a cure for the virus, and the drone keeps his secret mission in mind. In general, the plot is served here and is perceived a little more interesting than in the first game - this is due to the rollers on the engine, and the ironic chatter of the drone.
Nevertheless, the tasks at all levels are approximately the same and linear - go from point A to point B, simultaneously destroy crowds of monsters, activate or deactivate something, open, find, save, protect during the allotted time and so on.
Some variation in the passage, more precisely, in how and what you will deal with enemies, provides a choice of class at the start. Here they are four, not eight, as in The Red Solstice . Sturmovik, demolitionist, fender and terminator - each has unique abilities and weapons, both basic and additional. And in general, the fighting style for everyone is really different.
As compensation for the reduction in the number of classes, the authors changed and expanded the "pumping" and customization of the character. You can develop at once on three branches of skills - general, class and skills of the drone. Also, the more often you shoot from a certain type of weapon, the faster the mastery of possession increases. And even before the mission, they are allowed to change the "gun" and select an active skill, replacing, for example, grenades with the opportunity to put the turret.
However, the authors wanted not just to expand the role system. "Our team wants to find a new approach to shooters with a view from above," they wrote in the announcements and eventually introduced into the Solstice Chronicles: MIA such a notion as the threat level. The danger scale affects damage to large monsters and shows how many enemies can attack the player simultaneously at a given moment. Than the level of threat is higher (scale ales), the more monsters and the hotter at the level. It also happens that the opponents are even more than allowed by the level of threat - this happens as a result of special, for example, plot, script events. Killing monsters, we reduce the danger.
Also, this can be affected by applying different skills of the drone. For example, the ability "Provocation" first lures out all enemies in the area, and then reduces the threat level. The "Protection" program not only creates a force field around the Marine, kills small and slows down large monsters, but also leads to the appearance of new enemies - this, accordingly, reduces the red scale.
On the other hand, the Intelligence skill, when the drone brings the ammunition found in the vicinity to the player, first-aid kits and various other useful items, on the contrary, increases the threat - the enemies immediately rush to us from all sides. The same gun games with "Bombing" - the explosion of the bomb when the program is restarted, again drives the danger scale into the red zone.
All this sort of allows us to control and determine the pace of the game ourselves, increasing or decreasing the number and strength of opponents on the level. In some situations this really works, but not in all. In fact, almost every skill of the drone somehow increases for a while the "spawn" of monsters, turning the passage into constant shooting in all directions.
At the same time, the appearance of a mechanical assistant and an extended system of "pumping" (and "pumping" for one passage can be done almost completely and across all branches) made the game a little more "casual". No, it's still hot, dynamic and dangerous here, especially when mini- and maxi-bosses come out against us, but to say about Solstice Chronicles: MIA , that it does not forgive mistakes, as it was in the original, is no longer possible.
It is gratifying, of course, that the authors of the highly successful The Red Solstice did not rest on their laurels, but decided to Solstice Chronicles: MIA to experiment with mechanics, simultaneously improving the graphics, management and story feed. However, not all new gameplay elements now work as planned, in something the game has become a little more simple, there are less tactics and classes. And there is no full-fledged multiplayer yet - only a local cooperative for two for one computer. And yet fans of dynamic action in the spirit of Alien Shooter simply have no right to skip the game - there are more pluses in it than minuses.
Pros:dynamic battles; extended role-playing system; interesting mechanics with a threat level; non-trivial skills and humor of the drone; Improved graphics, control and story feed.
Cons: not all new gameplay elements work; the complexity has somewhat decreased; there is no full-fledged multiplayer and Russian localization.