Street Fighting Men: Iron Grip: Warlord Demo

By Kieron Gillen on November 8th, 2008 at 8:42 pm.

BAMBAMBAMBAM

I noticed the Iron Grip: Warlord demo has gone live, weighing in at about 400Mb or so. Now, we’ve mentioned Isotx regarding their game manager/mod-updater thing CrosuS, but bar a name-check, I didn’t really pay any attention to this. I’ve been playing it solo for half an hour and it initially appears to fit into the Left 4 Dead co-op Zeitgeist particularly well. It’s basically Co-op Counterstrike with splashes of Team Fortress 2 meets Tower Defence. A brief overview, some initial tips and assorted thoughts beneath the cut…

You and your friend (computer controlled or fellow humans) play as The Atelian Militia trying to defend their settlements against waves of soldiers from the enormous Confederacy. They enormously outnumber you and as you progress increasingly impressive engines of war fill out their ranks – I managed to survive as far as an enormous spider-legged walker tank which chewed us up constantly. The Militia have two advantages, and taking advantages of both require you to spend cash. Firstly, you can upgrade your weapons and stats, improving your survival chances. Secondly, you can press “G” and skip to a top down RTS mode where you can throw down turrets, supply centres and traps.

Game continues until one side or the other’s morale runs out – its rate of deplenishment can be increased by the Confederacy destroying the Militia’s stronghold (Which can be rebuilt for money) or assassinating the Confederacy’s officer when he eventually turns up.

In other words, you spend your time running around, trying to maintain a defensive line and thin out the opposition’s ranks at choke points (lobbing Molotov cocktails is an agreeable street-fighting tactic which really works) and working out what to spend your cash on. And it’s compelling enough that I’m going to try and talk other RPS guys into giving it a shot, as it differs from Left 4 Dead by being totally rock hard in single player with bots. As in, I’m getting annihilated.

(If you want to play, the best thing I’ve worked out is spending your initial cash on a light machine gun and a bazooka-thing. The former is needed to replace the basic totally-useless musket, and the latter essential when the tanks turn up – and if you don’t have the cash to buy it at that point, you’re basically screwed. I have no idea if it’s good tactics for winning – as I haven’t – but at least it keeps you alive when you figure out what’s going on)

It differs from Left 4 Dead in another obvious way – it (perhaps understandably) lacks the polish which Valve bring to table. My most regular annoyance is that when switching to weapons, it works on a Half-life-esque repeated press of numbers to skip between those in the same category. Which is fine, but when a single press of three – the general weapons – will bring up the aforementioned useless musket, it makes quick responses to enemy threats somewhat tiresome. Having the better guns appear on the first click would be a clear improvement. Equally, graphically it’s not exactly cutting edge either – which is a hard thing to critique an indie game of, but when you go first person and a realistic look, it becomes a small issue. Still – it’s totally fictional, and I’m quietly impressed by the world-building inherent in it. It kind of recalls a magicless The Red Star.

That a primarily multiplayer game had me trying with bots repeatedly when I’m starving and should be going downstairs to bully my lady into finally watching The Killer does suggest there’s something there. If I manage to get the RPS crew to go in en masse and it impresses us, I’ll post more. Until then, the demo’s here, and if it takes your fancy you can unlock the game for $24.95.

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19 Comments »

  1. Heliocentric says:

    A major problem with tower defence games (except those with counter op player determined lurks) is that its about learning the pattern. When the stealth units show up, when the immune units.

    God forbid you depended on a maze when the fliers show up.

    In counter op the game suffers from exponential growth as a method of balancing, but an action game might avoid the number grind.

    Will try it.

  2. evulhotdog says:

    So basically this game has the same concept as Savage (or savage 2 for that matter) in the way that its an FPS and a RTS at the same time. That game was fun, I look forward to this one also. I had saw it on fileplanet and was contemplating downloading it, but never did. Now I will for sure.

  3. Senethro says:

    I keep nearly trying them out, but being the reactionary and fearful man I am, their obligatory download manager puts me off.

    Obligatory! The nerve!

    So uhhh, is Crosus not actually that bad then? I can’t tell from reading about it here or on their site (which seams to be partially offline).

  4. Ridge says:

    Just so you know, Senethro, you don’t have to use Crosus to download the demo or to play the game. I did both without downloading Crosus.

    I played the demo and got hooked enough to decide to support the indie company that made the game. Easy ordering of the full version without Crosus as well.

    Have fun everyone!

  5. Erlam says:

    Going to try to hook my friends on this – reminds me of Quake 3 and Tribes combined.

    I haven’t tried the RTS mode much — I was mostly discovering that:
    A) The Machine Gun has a grenade you can launch that, as far as I can tell, does as much damage as the rocket launcher. Also, it’s on an MG so… yeah.
    B) The musket, while initially not great, is fucking fantastic at sniping. If you’re good at sniping in FPS’, Don’t bother buying the sniper rifle. Save the money and just use the musket.
    C) You can’t ‘throw’ landmines. This WILL become an issue when you’re looking off a bridge to a tank below, and throw a mine right… onto the ledge.
    D) The shotgun kinda sucks. I like the SMG more.
    E) Get health regen as quick as you can.

    Pretty fun, but I played for 30 minutes and neither team had really put a dent in the others morale, and they had only made it to my base once.

  6. muscrat says:

    I have been a huge fan of the original Iron Grip HL2 mod, and I have fingers crossed that this will be as equally as fun at lans…

  7. TychoCelchuuu says:

    This is pretty fun, at least from the single player. I imagine it’s even better with some friends. The musket is nowhere near useless; two damage upgrades and it kills everyone in one shot. And evilhutdog, this is a little different from Savage, which itself is similar to Natural Selection, the HL mod, which of course follows from Battlezone, which I think was the first RTS/FPS…

  8. muscrat says:

    ok impressions.

    Its pretty different to the HL2 iron grip mod, surprisingly.
    The resistance side now feels alot like playing tower defense, than the guerilla warfare in the HL2 mod.
    Its fun, however I did rather the original mods focus on the resistance being highly mobile, rather than bunkering down.

    Its MUCH faster. The quake 3 like speed is kind of bizzare, especially compared to the much slower pace of the first. Same with having no deployables (from what I have seen) its odd.

    Though all in all its a pretty cool game, Ive enjoyed playing the demo, and id like to put it through a LAN acid test soon, up against its mod predacessor. Never the less id consider buying it in the near future.

  9. Melf_Himself says:

    This game is really hard. Or I really suck. Maybe both. Good fast paced action though.

    Die confederate scum!

  10. StalinsGhost says:

    I remember being interested in this one years ago when it started as a mod. Definitely going to give it a try.

  11. Eschatos says:

    The original HL2 mod was pretty terrible, but this looks a lot better.

  12. jph wacheski says:

    I gave this a quick go and it is very cool! a nice mix of gameplay elements and an interesting and consistant art style,. going to explore the demo,. and may even buy this, as I do enjoy strategy/building/action hybrid type game play,. and this is a cheap-ish one.

  13. Gurrah says:

    Thansk RPS, looks like we have ourselves a little gem here. Oh and btw. there are a lot of demo servers online, I just played a match with 5 others and it was a lot of fun. I am thinking of buying this one.

  14. Dain says:

    I do miss the overwhelming force of troopers being commanded by another player (Which was the main point of the mod) but this is fun too! Just hope they do get to go back to that original concept of RTS commander vs. FPS players.. so much potential there.. on the other hand, network problems and tank pathfinding which were the main problems with the old mod are gone (mainly due to the enemy being an AI I guess)

  15. Erlam says:

    I beat it on easy in about 5 minutes, but it took about 30 minutes on hard.

    The problem is that you have to basically hunt down the enemy officers, who will stay in the most bizarre places. I’m not sure how the enemy morale can be ‘raised’ by a guy hiding behind a table at the far edge of the level.

    Good game to unwind to though.

  16. Tom says:

    Iron Grip: Warlord isn’t a continuation of the HL2 mod Iron Grip: The Oppression, it’s a totally separate game, set in a different area of the Iron Grip world, just to clarify. Also, my impression is that it’s an excellent game for bursts of frentic arcade action, at a very reasonable price.

  17. Dain says:

    Yes, but still I hope if this a success they get to go back and have another look at The Oppression.. possibly develop that into another fun Indie game. At least the premise of FPSvs.RTS

    I agree that it’s a lot of fun… played it a lot last night.. there is something deeply satisfying about defending something.. makes a change from the normal “run around like a nutter” brand of FPS gaming as you and your allies stand on a bridge pouring machine gun fire down into the hordes below..

  18. mbp says:

    Ok first off I love this game but the difficulty level in “single player mode” is extreme. I can top the table in multi-player mode but I still haven’t managed to win a single player campaign on medium difficulty. Tips please???

    PS If you aren’t using RTS mode you are missing out big time. The support station (regen health and ammo) is a must.

  19. Peanut says:

    I haven’t played Hard mode yet, Easy is too easy for me, and if you don’t know what you’re doing Medium will crush you, but the best formula for medium mode is to build some machine guns at the start just to delay them, you go out in front and kill as many as you can for power, and then buy a grenade launcher machine gun and a rocket launcher, then stack the damage boosting stats as much as possible. Not only will you take out tanks in two rockets but you will reload faster, also makes the musket more useful (kill in one shot and much faster reload). As soon as you see a vehicle on the map, run to it and kill it with your awesomely powered rocket launcher (and place a supply station near your stronghold for health and ammo). Also learning to bunny hop in this is extremely useful for mobility (although I hope they remove it in a patch because it makes it a little too easy to get around).

    The spider tanks take about 3-5 hits with the upgraded rocket launcher however, they’re tough bastards.

    Also if you can, shoot officers with your rocket launcher, should be a one hit kill on direct hit (any damage boosting level).

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