"Promising Game; Horrid Demo"
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The interface was easy to learn and the AI did not fall for a few simple negotiating ploys, even though I saw some odd moves during the first phase of the final tut. For a board game adaptation, you could say the graphics are good. 3D units and a scalable map make moving around and issuing orders simple. Negotiation with the computer players is straightfoward.
Everything revolves around clicking the mouse. Perhaps shortcut keys exist, but the tuts provide no information. A further annoyance is the inability to type in your orders. Sometimes typing is just faster than waiting for the computer to bring up a context menu, click the order you want, and repeat for each unit. Although the tuts do not let you get this far, by the end game you will control upwards of 15 units--this click-wait-click scheme will get tedious very quickly. When orders are resolved, the computer moves each individual unit, seperately, and then goes around the board to each individual conflict and support with a seperate animation for each and every event. The animations aren't particuarly stunning and do little besides waste time. Hopefully they can be disabled. Negotiation with the computer proves wanting in the early-game because most computer players have no incentive to agree with your proposals until another computer is beating down the door. Verbal communication is key in the boardgame and cannot be replicated through the AI interaction. Although the final game may have some promise, people interested in Diplomacy might do better to Google search and discover some of the communities that already exist, or at least buy the full game instead of wasting time on this demo.
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