Massive Assault Network 2 - PC - Review
It’s hard to remember sometimes that the PC gaming market is still marching along to its own tune, ignoring all of the negative hype on the internet. For years people have wanted to call the PC market dead simply because people keep buying and playing console games. With the recent introduction of the Wii and PS3 gamers might overlook their PC and the fine batch of titles still being released. Quality games are still being released on the PC often below the radar compared to the huge scale of the console market. One genre still going strong for the PC market is strategy games. Massive Assault Network 2 is a new PC game that might not show up at your local retailer but is still a quality strategy game only available for the PC.
The first item of interest you need to know about Massive Assault Network 2 (MAN2) is this is a pure turn based strategy game. There isn’t a story to worry about, cutscenes to skip or dialog to worry about. The game is simply you versus your opponent. Who ever wins, wins the battle and the game. In this age of elaborate productions and storylines MAN2 offers a basic approach to gaming that isn’t new but still refreshing.
The theme of the game is based in a futuristic setting where two feuding factions are fighting for world domination. The game is played in an over the top 3d view on a variety of different maps. The game contains twenty five different maps which is a jump up from the first MAN game. The game includes 42 different units ranging from tanks, bombers to gun turrets, which vary depending on which faction you play with.
When you create an account for the game you have a list of challenges from other players that you can accept to play. Once you’ve accepted the challenge you then move to the world map which has various capital building scattered all over the map. You then have a starting dollar amount for your city that you can spend to buy units for combat. Each unit has a different value depending on their stats and battle potential. Once you’ve purchased a unit you then place the unit on the map within a certain distance from your capital.
After you wait for your opponent to purchase their units it’s time for you to either move into combat or conquest. The combat portion of the game is straight forward for anyone to play. You simple click on one of your units and the game shows you how far that particular unit can be moved. Each unit displays their “hit-points” in color dots above each unit. Simply right click on a unit to display their detailed information such as attack power and defense. Once you moved a unit you can either move another unit or attack the enemy. To attack you just click on an enemy unit and the game cursor will change if you can attack. All of the attacks and movements in the game are turn based which means you have to wait until your opponent is finished before you can retaliate.
The difference maker with MAN2 when compared to other turn based strategy games is how you play an online game. Think of the online play as a mixture of real time sessions and snail mail. Now when I say snail mail I’m referring to playing against someone across the country without an online connection by mailing your next move to your opponent. For some of you that might sound insane but it actually did (and still does) happen. MAN2 incorporates this method of gaming by letting you play against your opponent even if they’re not online.
You log into your account and see the list of challenges you’ve accepted from other games. Click on one of the challenges and you’re then back in that particular game. If your opponent is not online you can still play against them by making your moves, such as attacks, purchasing new units, moving units or conquering other areas on the map. You don’t have to worry about waiting until someone is online to play against them. MAN2 lets you play against them on your own schedule when you have time to play. After you’ve finished your turn the game will log you out and then send the update file to your opponent. It’s not a new idea but it’s still a great way of playing especially when you don’t have time to commit to a full game.
The online portion is a huge part of the game but there is still a single player mode you can play. The game offers two in-game tutors (Emily and Kate) you can play against if you want your game void of all human contact. Now I have to admit that these tutors aren’t really there to help you, instead they’re in the game to kick you to the curb. These characters are either ruthless or the luckiest characters in the game. I felt the AI was either cheating or playing a really good game because it sure seemed like the computer had an unlimited budget to build units. If you want a real tutor I would recommend sticking with the real tutorials offered in the game. The tutorials offer an in-depth explanation of the different features and tactics you can use in the game.
The basic approach to the game is a strength but also a weakness. After several battles I felt like I was playing the same battle over and over again. At times the game even made me feel that the only chance I had to win was to get my best (and most expensive) units out on the battlefield instead of actually trying different tactics during combat. But when I waited to gain enough money to purchase these units I was being overrun by the enemy. Sure the maps look different but that wasn’t enough to make me feel I was playing a different stage. I felt as if I was still playing the first MAN game instead of the sequel. The new game has expanded with more maps and units but the gameplay remains almost the same. If you’ve played the first one before you might not even notice the updates included in MAN2.
If you’re a hardcore strategy gamer then you should check out MAN2, especially if you’ve never played the first game. The stripped down approach to the game gets you into the action right away. The unique online gameplay allows you to play either in short and manageable spurts. For gamers that played the first game frequently they will probably be wondering where the enhancements are. The new maps and units have little impact on the core gameplay found continued from the first game. Even the graphics, music and sound effects are relatively untouched from the first game. I did play the game on an old PC (Athlon XP/GeForce 6200) and a new one (Core 2 Duo/GeForce 7600) but didn’t notice any differences in the graphics or framerate on the old PC compared to the new PC. But if you’re looking for a solid turn based strategy game that you can play in short session then you shouldn’t miss out on MAN2.
|Review Scoring Details Massive Assault Network 2|
The game does a solid job of getting you in and playing the game without any big issues. The interface is simple enough for anyone to handle since you simply point and click to attack, move and purchase units. Because the game is turned based you always have plenty of time to make decisions on your next move.
All of the vehicles and units in the game look good with some nice detail but still look the same as the first game. The graphics for the various maps are different but each map looks almost exactly the same just with some changes in the terrain (snows, palm trees, etc.). The game allows you to zoom in for an up close view of the action and offers a slow motion feature during certain battles. Nothing about the graphics will have you saying “wow” but nothing will have you pushing your new graphics card to the limit.
The music in the game sounds like a collection for a military movie. Most of the tracks are drum beats that should remind you of the military. The game does include some spoken narration of different options you can perform during combat. The voice actors have some heavy accents that make understanding the narration difficult.
I wrote earlier in the review that I felt the tutors in the game were able to manipulate the game to their advantage. I didn’t notice this when playing real player but I would still recommend players take it slow during the game.
The back to basic approach to the game is a nice change of pace compared to some games being released today. But since this is a sequel some of us have already gone down this road before only this time with some new features.
The snail mail online feature is a great way for gamers to play the game at their leisure. The game includes a chat feature to talk to other gamers that are online during a regular game. Unfortunately the game only allows two players to compete against each other at one time.
Massive Assault Network 2 is a solid title that is sure to find its audience of dedicated gamers. The unique online approach is a great way to get into a strategy game if you’ve never played one before. The strip down presentation and easy to use interface allows anyone to get into the game without any barriers. Hardcore gamers might scoff at the basic graphics and lack of significant updates compared to the first game. Gamers that have never played the first game should check out MAN2 for a unique strategy experience that will get you hooked.