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Checkmate Review: First Impression

Date: May 13 2012 07:28:34 Source: BBGsite.com Views:
KeyWord: Checkmate, Checkmate Review, Checkmate Preview, Checkmate Overview, Checkmate First Impression, World War II, Strategy, KoramGame

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KoramGame who are more known for their browser games than their client based games, have a new browser game out for us called Checkmate. It is a strategy browser game that is currently in its Open beta phase. The game features a PVE campaign system with PVP Alliance battles. The goal of the game is for one alliance to take control of all of the surrounding cities on the map.

Checkmate Screenshot
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Getting started in the game was rather pleasant experience; the game gives a fair amount of choices for what you want your character to look like, either male or female with an assortment of each. After picking my who has no face or eyes, by the looks of him, I was presented with six different alliances to choose from, with the option to opt out and go for a random choice. I suspect the random is more for balancing, as you do get rewards for going the random route. It isn't a too bad of an idea, as without it, you're likely to have a balance issue in the tipping of power for one side.

Checkmate Screenshot
Click here for full screenshot

Once in, I was greeted with a fairly decent tutorial, which covered all of the basics from combat to the first steps to setting up my base. The learning curve was rather low despite the daunting amount of information thrown at me. But it wasn't so much that it didn't cover everything in one goes. After the initial learning phases, the tutorial would pop up every once in a while when I unlocked something new and had a new feature to play around with. All in all it was a good experience which taught me a bit about the game.

As listed in the features the game does feature a single player campaign that players can go through at their digression, which basically is a bunch of mini battles that play out pitting your army vs. the AI's. Unfortunately there was no real story that I have seen from it, besides some small dialogue when you're set to attack key points. Because of that it felt more like a feature to sidetrack and keep you occupied, which it does since progressing through that unlocked more tactics and some better officers to join my army. But it still felt sort of hollow in its entirety.

Checkmate Screenshot
Click here for full screenshot

The combat in the game sort of follows that theme as well. You place your officers in a formation of your choosing, which you need to have unlocked. The formations provide their own sets of bonuses for specific troop types, so picking one that fits for what your army's majority is, is better than something that is not. So if the bulk of your force is infantry, you may want to pick something that compliments that. The officers also play their own role in tis as well. After you choose their places in the formation, you're able to edit and pick what troop type you want for each officer as well as any tactics you want them to use. Some of the officers have skills and tactics that benefit certain troop types as well, making them better for one troop type over another. Another thing to consider is that there is a relation triangle for unit types; Infantry beat artillery which beat tank that beats infantry. So while at firth thought an all tank land troop would be a good idea, with the relation it has versus other troop types, makes it not that great of a plan.

Checkmate Screenshot
Click here for full screenshot

Once all of your setups for battle are done, the rest of the combat is automated. You watch it play out as units randomly attack other units. For the single player campaign all of the movements are stationary with the different units attacking each other at random, which is rather uneventful and does not give you the option to skip over it to see the results. As for the PvP type battles, I have only experienced those from the perspective of a captured leader, which goes into one of the features that helps people gather gold. There is a feature where you can capture leaders of other armies and hold them hostage. They can attempt to riot against you which pits a one on one battle against the captor. The battle plays out automated, but the units actually move trying to flank and take each other out. It seems like the one who captures tends to have the advantage, since I have yet to beat or even come close to beating the person who captures me.

Checkmate Screenshot
Click here for full screenshot

The Empire/base building section of the game is a bit basic with a hint of confusion, from what have seen. The location of resources and main buildings are all static in their location, so you can't really change their place. There is also no actual resources in the game, the whole game seems to run off Merits and Gold, so even if you build up your oil rig and farms, all they produce is gold for you, which dumbs down the strategy in the base building by a bit. As for the Merit part, that is earned from daily earnings plus what you can get from battles. Where gold builds up your base and your army, Merit seems to take a stronger stance by controlling your crafting, recruitment, and training of forces. So there is some micromanaging in place in the game to make sure you have points when you need them and avoid overspending when you can.

In essence the game is an empire builder, which is fairly popular for browser based games, and I have been writing about a lot of them lately. It has some unique features which does set it apart from some of the others which include the single player campaign and the militaristic theme. While a lot of features are open, it does still seem that there are some locked that will be unlocked as the game progresses. But as of right now the game feels a bit too simplistic in some areas, while others require a little more thought; overall it is a decent game, but feels a bit awkward in some regards.

Self Introduction From Author:

Zevri
Zevri
I have been playing mmos since about 1999, and haven't stopped since, and I cannot even remember when I started console/pc gaming. I'm an avid gamer who does dive back into the real world from time to time. My all time goal is to start my own business, but that is taking a side step as I am going through college.

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