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Incoming Forces Review
publisher: Rage Software
developer: Rage Software
genre: Action Strategy
PIII-550, 128MB RAM, 16MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 25, 02 (released)
|» All About Incoming Forces on ActionTrip|
You are probably all aware of the impact Rage and Interplay made with the first Incoming game a few years back. The graphic facets of Incoming were one of the first to utilize the possibilities of 3D acceleration. And here we are in an age where 3D acceleration denotes a more than necessary basis for a popular game, no matter what genre is in question. Does Incoming Forces deliver the same tasty visuals as Incoming did in its time? Well, after some heavy-duty playing time, I'm pleased to inform you that the answer is - yes. Incoming Forces will provide you with many hours of flying FPS fun, and here's why.
Incoming Forces gives gamers a chance to immerse themselves in a storyline set some twenty years after the ending of the first game. At the end of Incoming, Humanity successfully fended off the attack of the alien race called the Terauman. It is after this that humans decided to hunt down any remaining threats in the galaxy. Unfortunately, the ongoing cleansing of various systems in the universe turned humans into a malevolent and much dreaded race. Eventually, they came across the alien world of Kaiyodo (where your home planet is located). Your ultimate task is to repel all oncoming human threats and attacks, which will often be exceptionally ruthless. Now that's the kind of plot I enjoy. No more corny stories like: weak and pathetic human forces molested by an evil alien race, and you are a lone renegade ready to kick extraterrestrial ass. This time, humans are the oppressors (which isn't really difficult to imagine) and you are fighting along side the aliens.
Fighting as a member of the Kaiyodo has its benefits of course. You'll usually have access to a variety of ground and air vessels that have many advantages over human units. For example, your craft may sometimes be short of heavy artillery like guided missiles and bombs, but you will have an advantage of velocity and shield capacity. This is a detail in the game that is extremely well balanced. Therefore, it will seldom happen that your craft seems unrealistically powerful over enemy vessels and, on the other hand, you won't be too vulnerable either. Good pilot skills are essential to your survival, which can easily be gained after a few quick practice assignments. It is also good to know the possibilities of every vehicle in this game (consult your manual there - it offers a number of useful suggestions). For instance, giving out commands to your wingmen can save your ass many times, especially when you are overwhelmed by enemy fighters. Besides that, there's the helpful Craft Mode. This mode, when triggered, can completely reduce your weapon and ammo capacity, while giving you full engine power and light maneuverability. And that is the right moment to dash off to the nearest base where you can recuperate. You'd better be quick at that, because the AI is not something that should be underestimated in this game.
Your foes are going to be alert and very precise and they will always concentrate on their main goal. If they are assailing, say a frigate or transport you have to defend, you must do your best to annul them, or they will keep firing at the main target at all costs. And when you attack one air craft, it will cunningly turn aside from the action trying to get your attention off the transport. Good work on the AI.
On the other hand, the control system of some of the ground crafts could've used a bit more polishing. This particularly goes for hovering vehicles. In this case, many players are going to find maneuvering and aiming a difficult thing to tackle with. The tank will slide quite a bit, due to the atmosphere; which means it will be quite tricky to brake, accelerate, and maneuver in the right direction. Fortunately though, this doesn't stand for other crafts in the game. All of the air units are easy to handle, both in terms of weaponry and basic control. The best craft that is going to come your way is the Morph Fighter - a high-tech vessel (developed by the Terauman species), which has the capability of transforming itself from an aircraft to an efficient tank unit. The good thing is that you can do this at any time during the missions. Another thing I liked is that you can fix your vessels whenever you wish (and believe you me, you're going to need repairs more often than not). It is obvious that the makers of Incoming Forces wished to offer as many unique vehicles as possible. Another cool thing is that you frequently get to operate some of the laser and rocket turrets that are established around your bases. At times like those, your aiming will determine the fate of your headquarters, as well as your very own destiny. After all, the only thing you can do in a turret is to aim and fire.
Visually, Incoming Forces is more than a worthy successor to the original - and I'm talking today's visual standards of course. The settings will usually change and they are all unique in atmosphere features and terrain characteristics. Weather conditions are going to change, so you better be extra careful. Nothing was left out in the portrayal of a true-to-life environment - when you fly above the clouds you get to see some tasty sunlight reflections on your windshield, and when you dive bellow the cloud you may enter into a grayish, rainy, and therefore very unpleasant scenery. We carry on with the graphics and we witness that Rage made a good effort to include some realistic-looking explosions. Every vehicle has a distinctive type of bursting apart and that also occurs when you obliterate one the many different buildings and structures that appear in the game. The light and shadow effects are well-placed and it is evident that the developers worked hard at every single in-game model. Which means ground structures, vehicles, and even human and alien infantry units look extremely convincing and are abundant in texture detail. One of the juiciest effects, apart from the great explosions, were the water surfaces -- reflections and a subtle shade of blue make them look very genuine.
To get your juices flowing and to go with the in-game action, the developers have enriched the atmosphere with a high-quality symphonic orchestra type of soundtrack. However, I was disheartened a bit with the sound effects. Your plasma guns (particularly those on your hovering units) produce a rather unconvincing sound.
It took me about four days of most intent and relentless shooting to finish the single-player mode. The game features a constant and surprising turn of events, both in the general scenario and single mission assignments. But if you're craving for more, as some of you may want more playing time out of the single-player, I suggest you challenge a few of your friends and engage in some multiplayer Deathmatches and Team Deathmatches.
Despite some of its aforementioned drawbacks, Incoming Forces has all that it takes to entrap every shooter fan out there. The gameplay is intense and the visuals are impressive, which means that all the shooter basics are in place. The game has some elements of Free Space, although I think it's likely to appeal to Rogue Squadron and Starfighter fans just as well. I honestly didn't expect to get as much fun from it as I did, but I guess it's always good when I'm pleasantly surprised by a game. Kind of makes me less cranky the rest of the working week.
8.4 Very Good
Constant action keeps you on your toes. A variety of vehicle features, great and tasty visuals (lighting effects, models are highly-detailed). The music;
Controlling the ground vessels can be tricky. Sound effects should've been richer. And maybe if the game was a bit longer...
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