Genre: Massive Multiplayer Strategy
Big Word: Spacey
Strap: Not content with the Earth, Microsoft set out to conquer the rest of the galaxy.
For a company who have their fingers in all the "grown up" pies, it appears odd that Microsoft would still want to trifle with the likes of us simple gamers. Remember, we’re the ones who use their complicated business software as a cushion to rest our toys upon. Yet still they do, and so often they do it well. Numerous times, they have won over the most cynical of players with original ideas.
Question is, can they win over the online public? Asheron’s Call proved that they were capable of innovating in the reasonably new form of the age-old idea of massively-multi-RPG’s, by creating new forms of co-operation. So can this be the new form of the age-old idea of space combat?
Allegiance is an ambitious project, which puts you into the middle of a huge space war. But instead of then taking the next natural step of picking a single genre, it goes completely mad, and with one sweeping arm drags all of them into a big bag, and shakes them up. This isn’t a space combat game, or a space strategy game, or even an RPG, but instead all of them in one bulging sack. But surely that couldn’t work?…
Well, as much fun as it would be to cry, "ha, ha, Microsoft, you messed up!", the scoundrels have gone and found a way. Spoilsports. Things are definitely helped by a good, sturdy back story (Earth destroyed, factions in space, inevitable ensuing wars), which is vital when you realise that this is a multiplay only title. With no scripted story ahead, it’s great to have a solid background to build upon, as it is you, along with a possible 350 others, who will decide where things are going.
At the start, you will inevitably go in as a fighter pilot – the suckers who get thrown into the front lines – but soon climb your way through the ranks, up to captain, and even then branch off into intergalactic investiture. You must RTS your way to riches, RPG your way to captain, and space-combat your way to victory – and the only way you are going to succeed at any of this is by tight and well organised co-operation with others on your team. There probably aren’t any other examples of such strong team-play around to find. If only it weren’t so darned complicated to learn to play. We are talking hours before you are ready to do battle.
The possibilities for Allegiance are enormous. Right now this is a very big space combat title, but it could really go anywhere in the coming months. Which makes it very hard to score. If things go the way they look as though they are heading, you can probably add a percentage point every two months, until you run out of room.
This game is so good looking. I fancy the pants off this game. It’s
better looking than Mike Watts from school’s mum. I tried to take an ugly
screenshot so as to properly portray how "business" Allegiance is, but
it isn’t possible. It’s business in a gorgeous dress, and lovely hair. And
it smells nice too.
Verdict: Massive, Multiplay, and Microsoft. Space opera joy. And a visual masterpiece
Minimum System: P200, 3D card, 32Mb RAM, IE4 or Netscape 4, 270HD, 8x CDROM, 28.8kps modem
Recommended: PII 300, 12Mb 3D card, 64Mb RAM, 56kps modem or higher.
Web Address: www.microsoft.com/games/allegiance