Not to be confused with the tactical meteorology epic, Depression: Rain over Europe, this real-time strategy from Buka Entertainment is aggressive indeed. It aims to be rather like a Total War for the first half of the 20th century. You know, that period when the most enlightened continent on Earth decided it was a good idea to make all its young men shoot each other with rifles. Aggression’s main game is thus an enormously detailed campaign map, wherein you take command of one of four European powers and then make trade, war or diplomacy upon the rest.
But if you concentrate on trade and diplomacy, not much happens. There’s plenty to ‘do’ on the campaign map, but you’re merely changing numbers. Numbers representing such things as your cities’ building infrastructure, garrisons, and weapon and leader development. Leaders, like the generals in Total War, are absolutely critical to your campaign. You can give them new skills and new professional abilities to boost their usefulness. It takes a good deal of trial and error to get this right, however.
Making war should be a little more interesting, since it moves from the sluggardly campaign map to a lively real-time battlefield map, where you deploy your units before controlling them directly in the engagement. The terrible pathfinding, unclear visual interface, obscure tactical unit values and general crappy feedback make the battles entirely unsatisfying, despite the lovely top-down presentation and the charming presence of war-balloons. The combination of these tedious RTS conflicts and the arcane-unto-boredom real-time campaign therefore makes it impossible to recommend Aggression. But we can’t entirely condemn it either, because it’s such an ambitious game, with fine aspirations to bring us what Creative Assembly have not.
Oct 29, 2008