Saturday, 29 July 2017

Review - Chariot Wars

The idea of a game featuring chariot racing captured my imagination - I envisaged interesting game mechanics, thrills and spills similar to and yet different from car racing games, and... well, that's it really, just a game that brought something new and exciting to the racing genre.  Sadly, Chariot Wars doesn't deliver.

The intro sequence is quite cool and in-game graphics are mostly nice, and the music is pretty good.  That's.... it really, in terms of the positives.  The gameplay itself features no innovative control system or ideas, it's just like a car racing game, but much slower.  As you progress round the course you can collect gold coins to fill up a charge meter, which will let you go much faster for a while.  Although realism isn't necessarily a great feature of fast-paced arcade racers, it seemed an odd and uninspired idea.  If you crash or get hit by an opponent, you usually end up facing completely the wrong way and by the time you've managed to actually turn round, the race is over as a going concern, you have absolutely no chance to catch up.  Winning races gives you access to new horses and chariots but to be honest it was difficult to tell whether these made the slightest bit of difference.

There is a plot that goes with the campaign, which is told in the form of decently drawn graphic novel style artwork, and this seemed promising - the plot definitely had potential to be interesting.  The effect of going through these drawings was somewhat marred by the loud DING noise that for some fantastically ill-advised reason accompanies EVERY click on ANY menu option (including Continue).   The races themselves are really not that much fun (basically to win you have to avoid any mistake at all plus collect and all the gold coins available), and time trial, where you get used to the course without any competitors, is even less fun.  However for the sake of finding out what happened in the story, I was willing to put up with uninspiring racing for a bit longer.  Until...

Oh, wow.  When you get to the third course, it's raining.  That should not be a particular problem but the graphics are so badly optimised that having run the game at a reasonable frame rate in a decent resolution at high quality, I could now not get a remotely usable frame rate even at the lowest resolution and quality settings.  (My machine only has R7 graphics but it's perfectly capable of playing games with better graphics and faster action, so I can only assume it's poor optimisation - if you know otherwise feel free to comment.)

At this point I gave up.  Sadly this game really didn't live up to its potential at all.

If for some reason you still want to look at this game here's the Steam Page - but read the reviews and discussion there and you'll probably come to the conclusion that my review was rather kind.


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