Desert Ops Browser Based Strategy Game

Discussion in 'Gaming and Software' started by BrunoNoMedals, Jan 9, 2011.

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  1. BrunoNoMedals

    BrunoNoMedals LE Reviewer

    At first glance, browser-based strategies don't share many obvious similarities with your average MMORPG. However, after a decade of playing both types of game I've noticed one striking parallel: The diversity evident in the early, formative days of the genres has gradually been whittled down to a small set of rules that have propagated across the industry and form the basis for every new release to hit the market. True innovation in either category is a rare occurance.


    At this point I'd love to be able to hold up the subject of this latest review and say "but not this!" or something equally positive. Unfortunately, the free-to-play Desert Ops is no trend-setter. You build different types of buildings to increase the rate at which you acquire the various resources, and you build other types of structure to enable the recruitment of various combat units. Over time you perform research into different areas which further advance construction and recruitment options, and your combat effectiveness. Each new building, unit, or piece of research adds to your "value" as a player, giving you a points score against which you are ranked, and which determines those players whom you can attack or be attacked by.

    It's all very basic stuff, which the many ARRSE Travian players will recognise. The number of building-types are quite limited, and you've usually got everything you need within a week. This quickly leaves you short of anything to develop bar the long, slow process of finishing your research and constructing enough "resource structures" to balance out the cost of maintaining your forces.

    Your forces themselves are, well, a little weird. Despite the vast range of extremely random troops and vehicles you can purchase, the combat itself manages to be basic and dull, while simultaneously confusing and vague. Units are ranked by their effectiveness, with the weakest going into a battle first and fighting until they are wiped out and replaced by the next weakest unit in your force. As is the norm for games of this type, conflict isn't determined by any strategic knowledge or skill, but by maths.

    Accurately calculating your likely combat outcomes is a tricky affair, unless you've got the patience to study the intricacies of the system. This is where the other browser-based strategy cliche comes to the fore. Desert Ops obviously has a funding channel, as all games of its kind do. Here they're represented as diamonds, which have a small selection of applications like changing the weather in order to speed up your force deployment times. The main focus appears to be the monthly purchase of the "premium account", which comes in at 10 diamonds (three Euros) for 30 days and offers you a "build agent" for managing construction while you are offline, and a battle simulator to calculate your scores. Overall, it strikes me that the paid package isn't really that useful but, for a quid-fifty a month, it's not too much to try out! Indeed you should end up with thirty diamonds as gifts within the first few weeks of sign-up, so you can test the premium account for free.


    You may have noticed that I'm struggling to find any plus-points for this game, but I did manage to spot a couple. The obvious one is the presentation, as the graphics are very sparkly for a game of this kind. The second is the community, which is easily accessible through the chat window at the bottom of the main game screen. Desert Ops is quite busy and you'll always be able to find someone to teach you the ropes - which is useful, because the translation of the rules from the developers' native German isn't the best.

    I wasn't a fan of Desert Ops, but then I'm not a huge fan of the genre anymore. I don't have the patience or attention-span. That said, for the many ARRSErs who do play these types of games I'm sure it can be a very enjoyable experience.

    I'll give it three mushroom-heads.