It’s been a couple of months since I last checked in with Nival’s newest incarnation of the classic Blitzkrieg series, and a lot has changed since then. Clearly highly devoted to improving their game through Early Access, the developers have recently added an impressive amount of new content, one change in particular a clear response to player feedback. Player vs player has arrived in Blitzkrieg 3. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it’s worth reading through my previous preview to see how Nival is mixing up the RTS genre (and maybe PC gaming at large). It’s certainly an interesting prospect, and these newer features only add to what is already a promising title.
PvP has clearly been a much-requested feature for Blitzkrieg 3, with Nival even admitting as much upon release. Yet the new ‘Active Base Defence’ mode may not be the PvP experience fans were expecting. As opposed to a simple base-building, balanced battle between two players, the new mode simply allows players to take control of their in-game bases when they’re attacked. So now, rather than simply attacking AI opponents that have been strategically placed by the base’s owner, it’s possible that you’ll be fighting the actual human owner - probably making things at least a little more tricky.
The addition of human enemies certainly makes engagements more unpredictable, although I encountered more than a few occasions where I couldn’t really see all that much difference between the AI and a human. Defence techniques tend to be pretty straightforward, so it’s hardly surprising to see most players simply holding buildings and creating chokepoints - much like the AI. Still, as players become more familiar with this mode there’s no doubt that things should get more interesting. Plus, it’s certainly exciting to play as the defender. Holding your own base, that you need for resources and the like, can be quite a tense affair, making the whole experience much more enjoyable. I wouldn’t be surprised if base-defence mobile game devs have their eyes on the Active Base Defence mode - it’s a good way to mix things up a little.
Another more recent addition to the game is the inclusion of a few different scenarios - more traditional missions that task the player with completing a series of objectives against an AI opponent. Personally, I found these scenarios to be far more compelling and time consuming than the standard base defence/attack mode. They’re certainly challenging, and they all present something a little different. Fans of the first two games will probably find these scenarios to be equally enjoyable, as they tend to rely on similar tactics and strategy. They’re a good addition to the current product and we should be seeing more of those added to the game as time goes on.
It’s great to see a developer providing such regular and significant updates to its game, and long may that continue. Still, my issues with the core mechanics of the game persist - in fact, the extended time I had only confirmed my worries. Blitzkrieg 3 is still a tad erratic, and the gameplay is definitely clumsy when lined up with the likes of Company of Heroes. I’m not too sure if that will actually be changed in time for full release, but then, I’m well aware that my dislike for the mechanics are based more on personal preference than real failings on the developer’s part - I just prefer something a little more strategic and deep. Regardless, now’s a good time to give Blitzkrieg 3 a go, although waiting until the full game is out is still my recommendation.