Instead of concentrating on getting the basics right, KDV seems to have lavished a lot of energy on unusual but ultimately irrelevant content. The tactical terra-forming that was such an ingenious aspect of their last creation (Perimeter) is too fiddly and slow to be enticing in this context. Even the campaign designers seem to ignore it. It’s a similar story with the third-person hero control. Where in Rise & Fall there were good reasons to possess your protagonists, here direct control does little but expose AI shortcomings. Spending 15 minutes sniping dunderheaded hostiles from beyond their detection ranges isn’t much fun.
The best way to play Maelstrom is via the skirmish mode. Though the AI cheats like Terry Thomas at advanced level (the only worthwhile setting) and control of game parameters is limited, you are guaranteed a challenge and unrestricted armory access. You don’t have to worry about the action being interrupted by awful cutscenes or failure-triggering hero deaths either.
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