Nexagon takes unit gladiatorial
combat into the fourth millenium
A great many games have been predicated
on the theme of gladiatorial combat. After all, what is it if not a progression
through a host of warriors lined up to challenge the game player’s avatar.
Nexagon Deathmatch, a Strategy First game
slated for the release this summer, has taken the core elements and advanced
them into a futuristic setting. Of course, entertainment is the essential
ingredient in the notion of this futuristic world.
As the backstory describes it, in the fourth
millenium, dire predictions about the Earth’s population proved unfounded.
The population was content, perhaps too much so. That was when the idea
of The Pit was conceived.
It was a simple plan: take prisoners who
had no hope of release and put them into an arena. Those that survived
could win their freedom. The rest of the world could enjoy the spectacle.
The first release of the title was a single-warrior
combat vehicle. In the next generation, player are given a team to combat
At first blush, the game looks rather limited
in scope with hostile though finite maps. Not to worry, it is intention.
You see, the world is no longer a pristine planet, but rather riddled with
complex grids of concretes, polymers and steel. Biospheres floating in
the air deliver oxygen. The planet is also home to a variety of species
some of which are realized in this program.
The arena itself is laid out in squares,
with nearly each region occupied by opponents. Plotting your course through
the arena in this real-time tactical outing is nearly as important as making
certain your avatar is ready for the adventure. The goal is simple, really
– move your units through the competition, level them up through successful
ventures in the arena, and upgrade them as well as your sanctum.
The goal in the combat is easily defined:
destroy all the enemy units and/or their sanctum within the pit. With no
manual to work through, much of what powers Nexagon had to be guessed at.
This took time, but the developers did allow for some fundamental control
elements generic to the RTS genre which made the task marginally easier.
For example, each fighter in your unit can be controlled collectively or
individually. The game also relies on line of site and does not immerse
the battlefield in the fog of war.
The graphics of the game are bright, and
the three-dimensional feel is very good. The animation in the beta was
Nexagon Deathmatch will likely appeal
to fans who want action up front and quickly. A lot of planning must go
on before actually entering the combat phase, but once there, the combat
is intense and fast paced. This is a chess match in hyperdrive. You can
plan all you want, then watch it go downhill in the blink of an eye. What