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Score: 68%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Cyanide Studio
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ RPG/ Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Confrontation looks exactly like what it is: a video game translation of the 1996 miniatures wargame by French company Rackham. Like its tabletop predecessor, the game's focus is on small groups of units fighting each other in a fantasy setting. There's a heavy emphasis on these individual units, which are modeled after the actual Confrontation miniatures. The game even has a "Paint" mode which lets you customize the colors on individual units to give your army its own unique look, something sure to appeal to tabletop mini fans. The units also look fantastic, with a lot of attention paid to making sure Rackham's art style also made the translation from tabletop to PC. The noble Akkylanians' white and gold armor stands out against the glistening black-and-steel Scorpion hybrids, while vibrant green orcs from the Jackal tribe face off against the beastly Wolfen. It's too bad the sound design doesn't excite the same way the visuals do: the battle effects are simple and uninteresting, and the only real voice you hear throughout the single-player game is one narrator with about twice as many lines as are necessary to tell the story.

Unfortunately, when it comes to real-time strategy games, it doesn't matter how good it looks if your rig can't crank out the required frames per second to keep up with your opponent. Even though my setup matched the recommended settings, anytime I cranked the visuals up, the action ground to a halt. That may not matter as much in single player, but in multiplayer matches, 10 fps can mean the difference between coming out alive and being skewered on a Scorpion's claws.


Confrontation also sticks to its tabletop roots when it comes to gameplay. Players control a squad of four units, each with specific roles like Tank, Support, DPS and Mage. In multiplayer, the opposing sides pick four units ahead of each match, and as they complete matches, they unlock additional units in their "army." There's a Single Player Campaign that puts players in control of a group of Akkylanie Griffins taking on the Scorpion clan's technomancers and alchemists. If found myself playing single player almost exclusively, though, because of game-crashing errors in the multiplayer matchmaking system. I would queue up against an opponent, but if both of us used particle-heavy effects (like ground-based AOE spells), the match would freeze up and refuse to complete. Other players in the lobby mentioned similar problems, and Cyanide Studio's technical forums don't have a specific answer beyond updating graphics drivers. Since all my drivers were up to date, I had to choose between avoiding using characters with those effects and praying my opponent did the same, or avoid multiplayer altogether.

Another word of warning, especially if you want to play multiplayer: read the manual. There are some significant control differences between Confrontation and other RTS games you've probably played. For instance, you can still form groups using (CTRL-1), but selecting all your units is mapped to (P) instead of the traditional (CTRL-A). It's a minor difference, but there are many of those minor differences you'll need to familiarize yourself with if you want to win.


Confrontation's Single Player Campaign comes with multiple difficulty settings, and because of the control issues mentioned above, I'd highly recommend running it on "Easy" to learn the game. There are also objectives in some of the missions that need to be handled by specific units in a careful way, and may take several reloads to figure out exactly what the developers intend for you to do. For instance, a later single player mission has you take control of a captured Griffin Executioner, a rogue-like unit with stealth and the ability to deal heavy amounts of damage in a surprise attack. The level she was in was designed to be a mix of stealth and combat, but the in-game cues weren't very helpful at telling you which tactic you needed to use. I died more times trying to sneak past guards in that one level than I did in all the previous levels combined. Follow the game's advice: save and quicksave often.

The Single Player Campaign also doesn't do a good enough job preparing you for the trials and tribulations of multiplayer. Because you control a single faction throughout the campaign, the Griffins, you're at a loss if you decide to play multiplayer as Scorpions, Jackals or Wolfen. Other RTS games' campaigns have you play as the different factions during the Single Player Campaigns for this very reason: to teach you how they work and how they fight, so you can succeed in multiplayer if you decide to try it out. By limiting the scope so they can tell the story of the Griffin's war against the Scorpions, they handicap players who want to be something different when they begin multiplayer instead of the same units they've been staring at for too many hours in the Single Player Campaign.

Game Mechanics:

As mentioned above, Confrontation's controls and mechanics take some getting used to. Units have one of three resources to pay for their spells and abilities: Stamina, Mana, or Faith. Stamina and Mana work as you'd expect, with Stamina being a fixed pool that regenerates quickly and Mana users getting larger pools each level that regenerate based on their ability scores. Faith is unique in that the amount you have also increases per level, like Mana, but the regeneration speed is based on how many units you have around that character. When building a group with Faith units, keep a close eye on your range / melee mix: if you have a lot of units at range, a Faith-using meleer won't be able to use their abilities as often.

The single player game also has several roleplaying aspects to it. As characters level up, you can increase their attributes, though be sure to read the tooltips thoroughly before spending your points so you don't wind up several levels into the game with an under-powered character or squad. Leveling up also gives you the chance to enhance each unit's spells and abilities, increasing their damage or even powering single-target abilities to affect multiple targets. Each unit also has an assigned armor and weapons, which can be enhanced by collecting upgrade points and glyphs often found off a level's beaten path: upgrade points give you a choice between two enhancements, while glyphs give you additional enhancements depending on their color. The points and glyphs can be given to any member of the squad, not just the members who found it, giving you the choice to either spread the love around or pour them into a few favorite units.

In closing, I found Confrontation to be a promising concept held back by too many flaws. Some, like the Single Player Campaign's limited focus, can't be corrected. Others still can, and whether Cyanide can fix them quickly or not could mean the difference between creating a faithful community or falling by the wayside.

-Dark Lantern, GameVortex Communications
AKA Russell Jones

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP SP3/Windows Vista SP2/Windows 7, Processor: AMD/Intel Dual-Core 2.0GHZ, Memory: 2048 MB, Graphics: 256 MB 100% DirectX 9 and Shaders 3.0 compatible, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT/NVidia GEForce 7900 GTX or higher, DirectX(r): 9, Hard Drive: 4 GB, Sound: DirectX 9 compatible, Other: Internet connection required for online play

Test System:

OS: Windows 7, Processor: Intel dual-core 2.13 GHZ, Memory: 4GB, Graphics: NVidia GeForce 9400 GT, DirextX(r): 11, Sound: SoundBlaster XFi Xtreme Audio

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