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RTSFPS Executive Assault Out On Steam Early Access

Executive Assault screenshot

It must be very lonely, being a corporate executive. You sit in your expansive office, alone with your thoughts, largely focused on acquisitions and gross revenue and profit margins and double mocha frappuccinos and flipcharts and the like.

Executive Assault [official site] goes one further, because as far as I can tell you don’t even have human playthings employees to boss about, giving you for a brief fleeting moment the joy of human contact. Nope, it’s just you. You and your army of robots.

Executive Assault launched on Steam Early Access this week. It’s a one-man project and clearly a labour of love, since it’s been in continued development by Robert Hesketh since a Kickstarter campaign fell short of its target. I’ve a few preliminary thoughts on the game – not a formal review, just my initial reaction to playing the game for an hour. But first, a video in which gigantic robots are gigantic, exploding things explode, and a couple of executives discuss their origins on the Unity asset store (probably).

The FPS bits feel largely optional. At the moment the mouse sensitivity is pretty extreme and can’t, I think, be tweaked. As an RTS, though, it’s pretty good fun. I’ve played a few skirmish matches versus the AI, all of which I lost, and that was despite the AI’s strategy following the classic C&C approach of “walk individual soldiers toward the nearest guard tower or pillbox”.

There’s a lot to manage even in the early game: power levels, researching new structures and unit upgrades, collecting special resources to boost research or power, designing units and optimising defences, stringing power grids across the map to access new resource extractors… it’s a bit overwhelming in that “I just started playing a new RTS” way. There’s loads I’ve not even seen yet, including mega-units that look like Supreme Commander’s experimentals, internal structure defences to protect your executive from robot assassination squads, and whole swathes of the tech tree and unit design options.

At present I suspect that the AI would be a doddle to beat if I knew the game better and could counter their really basic strategies, and I’ve not played online so can’t comment on how that performs. There are plenty of rough edges, too, and it’s far from the prettiest thing in the world, but as of right now it’s playable, it’s fun, and I feel like it’s tugging on the bits of my brain I’d expect a good RTS to tug.

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Who am I?

Shaun Green

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Writes music, book and film reviews at www.nostalgiaforinfinity.com. Writes about videogames at www.arcadianrhythms.com. Plays guitar in www.wrecktheplacefantastic.co.uk. Occasionally sleeps.

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