Iron Harvest Complete Edition Review
Often, representatives of the PC community can hear the thesis that playing Iron Harvest Complete Edition on a gamepad is a real perversion.
In the context of shooters, this dispute has managed to come to naught for decades. But the situation with the RTS genre on consoles is still extremely deplorable and in no hurry to get off the ground. A year ago, reviewing Iron Harvest for PC, I pinned certain hopes on the console port. The strategy about the battle of walking samovars in the alternative setting of the First World War was distinguished by rather simple mechanics by the standards of the genre and a strong emphasis on the plot and narrative — almost an ideal candidate to occupy an empty niche of console RTS. Moreover, the developers had a good guideline in front of their eyes on how to implement control on the gamepad without bringing the player to white heat, in the face of the Halo Wars dilogy.
One of my mistakes was to launch Iron Harvest Complete Edition immediately after Halo Wars 2 - the reference, at the moment, console RTS. Alas, they were too shy to adopt the basics of King Art Games management from their colleagues, they screwed up their layout and forbade reassigning buttons. As a result, it takes quite a long time to get used to the features of the local interface.
Both the unit selection and the order to go/attack is made on the A button, which is pretty stupid. You want to choose the right unit, but you miss by a pixel and send your entire army to him. With the choice of units on the battlefield, in general, everything is quite strange. You can switch to the right fighters with the RB / LB buttons, which becomes of little use when the number of combat units exceeds a dozen. Prolonged pinching of RB selects all units on the map in general. The B button selects all the wards within the screen. It is allowed to “bind” up to 4 detachments on the crosspiece, and this is an extremely successful solution for fans of fighting in several places at the same time. And what is upsetting is the inability to quickly select all units of a certain type. Here you want to give an order to all the grenade throwers to shoot at the robot, and the machine gunners at the infantry, reflexively press the grenade launcher with a double tap, but nothing happens. It takes a long and tedious time in advance to divide the units of fighters and "bind" to the hot buttons before the fight.
Another stupid omission is the inability of units to keep formation. Here you have bred a motley army of all kinds of robots and infantry squads of different classes and ordered to attack the enemy base at the other end of the map, but all the warriors have different movement speeds, and the army will stretch into a long bunch of sausages during the procession. Fast and light robots will get ahead, and slow machines and machine gunners will lag hundreds of meters behind. Therefore, you have to constantly babysit this horde, because the developers forgot to implement an elementary and almost mandatory feature for the genre with the construction. Alas, time has not cured the problem that irritated the PC a year ago.
Again, all of the above problems were absent in the notorious Halo Wars 2. The choice of units and movement there is divided into different buttons in order to avoid erroneous orders. Double-clicking on the conditional tank selected all the nearest tanks, and the army was able to move in a single formation. These are standard things for strategies, laid down back in the 90s, which cannot be attributed to the feature of console management.
In terms of settings, the game is extremely poor right now — I really wanted to invert the rotation of the camera horizontally, change some buttons and allow quick use of abilities in combat (for example, allow Anna to perform a sniper shot by simply pressing Y, without separate confirmation). Engineers have the ability to automatically repair all damaged robots, but each newly created one needs to enable this function separately in the circular menu, there is no way to set auto repair for everyone by default. It would seem that I am listing sheer nonsense, but dozens of such ill-conceived things make you spend too much time and attention on processes that could be simplified and automated, allowing the player to focus more attention on the gameplay and tactics.
Graphic modes are also not given to choose, but in the only one available, the game runs at 60 FPS. In particularly hot battles, there are slowdowns, but they do not interfere much with playing. Videos on the engine for some reason always start with a couple of seconds of friezes and "stutters”, which is unpleasant. A couple of times during the campaign, the game hung up. Most of all, the nerves were frayed by one stupid bug that occurred unacceptably often. For many teams, units need to call up a circular menu of abilities on LT. Yes, only the function does not always work, and the circular menu may, for unknown reasons, stop responding in the midst of a battle.
Since the release version, the game has received a new faction - Yusonia, which is also a collective image of the USA. The faction is accompanied by a story campaign about a brave soldier in an exoskeleton, William Mason, who first invades Alaska under a far-fetched pretext, and then arranges a coup in the hot deserts of Arabia. The plot, as usual in the “Sickle” universe, is replete with rude national cliches, but under the arrangement of the rumble and clang of walking robots, it even feels cute. Local States are constantly coming up with a beautiful excuse to invade a foreign country with weapons and gain control over resources, trying not to anger the public at the same time. According to all the canons of American military militants, an annoying reporter “sticks” to the hero, who personally goes with him to Arabia to make sure of the good intentions of the Yuson army. If at first the campaign is perceived as separate from the main plot, then soon we will meet familiar characters from the original story.
Another plot addition is the "Rusvetskaya Revolution". It is a direct continuation of the main plot and tells how, not without the help of Olga Morozova, Tsar Nicholas is trying to regain his good name in the midst of a civil war.
The main question I want to answer in this article is whether the brainchild of King Art Games is playable on the console? Rather, yes, because I managed to complete most of the story tasks at the highest level of complexity. But "playable” is the most flattering adjective that can be applied to this port, because my upbringing will not allow me to call the management comfortable, the layout successful, and the technical condition of the project ideal. Before us is a rather lazy adaptation of a good RTS, the developers of which should look more often into the notebook of a neighbor on the desk — Halo Wars 2. You see, a few minor, but annoying flaws in management would have been avoided. Otherwise, it's still the same RTS with a nice story campaign and a stillborn stupid multiplayer.
IronHarvest Complete Edition is available on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
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