follow us:

Latest News

Cryptic Studios attacked by hackers
Hackers have struck again, as Cryptic Studios informs their customers that their security has been breached. But were they late to inform their customers though?... [read more]
Konami releases "Make It Right" trailer for Metal Gear Solid Rising
That's right, another publisher has released a teaser trailer for an upcoming trailer. Exciting.... [read more]
Mikami talks about Project Zwei
Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami has finally revealed the newest project that he is working on in this week's issue of Famitsu, named Project Zwei. ... [read more]

Latest Articles

"Not just another zombie game" Sandswept Studios talks about The Dead Linger
With the huge success of the Double Fine Kickstarter project that raised over $3 million, game developers flocked to Kickstarter in hopes that their game would become the next crowd funding success story. One such developer is Sandswept Studios with their game, The Dead Lin... [read more]
3 reasons why there's no need for story in fighting games
If you're playing a fighting game for the story, you're doing it wrong.... [read more]
From the Editor's Desk: Is the Gamestop Lawsuit Good or Bad for Gamers?
Gamestop settled on a lawsuit regarding the sale of used games that are missing DLC. Is this lawsuit a win for gamers or will this cause more problems for gamers? ... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Bloodforge Review
Bloodforge tells the epic tale of Celtic warrior Crom, who is on a quest to bring down Arawn, King of the Underworld. But does it do anything we haven't seen before? ... [read more]
MLB 12 The Show Review
The boys of summer are at it again as another season of baseball is in full swing. With a new season, of course a new baseball game is going to show up. Up to bat is MLB 12 The Show. Does this veteran has what it takes to make it to the World Series, or will it be the day th... [read more]
Colors! 3D Review
Drawing artists into the third dimension.... [read more]

Latest Videos

The RPG Fanatic: Seiken Densetsu 3 Retrospect and Review + Operation Manafall
You might know this game as Secret of Mana 2, but this video is titled by the only name it was officially released as. This was a Japan exclusive game in the Mana series that many people aren't aware existed, but let's change that starting right now!... [read more]
From the Editor's Desk: Is the Gamestop Lawsuit Good or Bad for Gamers?
Gamestop settled on a lawsuit regarding the sale of used games that are missing DLC. Is this lawsuit a win for gamers or will this cause more problems for gamers? ... [read more]
SXSW 2012: Indie Game: The Movie impressions
At SXSW 2012, Indie Game: The Movie was screened as part of SXSW Film. The RPG Fanatic was able to catch one of the screenings, and has some thoughts on the movie. ... [read more]
Armor Valley Review
Posted on March 08, 2010 by OG

This genre hybrid under the Xbox Live Indie Games label was originally released in October of 2009 for 400 MS points. With a story campaign, quick battle features, and multiplayer local support, does this game remind fans of the best games in each genre?

The story in this game follows the time honored tradition of one group fighting another for a variety of purposes. You personally control a helicopter known as a �hovercopter� that possess several different weapons and leads troops on the battlefield. The player is apparently on the side of the Federation (Blue) and is fighting against a rival group (Red) with colorful commanders such as Colonel El Richo and others. The story is further developed by dialogue as missions begin, which proceeds to tell you of the objectives of the mission accompanied with some witty banter.

Armor Valley’s graphics are sharp and colorful. Your main aerial command unit, the Skyfire, is well detailed and futuristic looking, seemingly the most advanced unit in your army. I find that your allied vehicles can be difficult to tell apart, given your position high in the sky. Detail is fine when observed closely, but doing that can lead to accidental crashes...

The terrain all looks the same, with the requisite plains, mountains and rivers used for environs. Learning the terrain can be useful in strategy to avoid enemy projectiles and hid while you wait for reinforcements. Unfortunately, the enemy units are identical to your own, save for their red coloration.

Music is suitably epic for the war genre, calling to mind the works of Holst and Beethoven... ok, maybe just acclaimed film composer Hans Zimmer. Either way, the music is powerful and fits right into this world of conflict, with rousing melodies, powerful flourishes, and a general sense of force throughout the music. Me like.

Sound effects do their job as well, with the whooshing of targeted missiles, machine gun fire, and the aerial whizzing of gravity bombs. My favorite is the sadistic pleasure you hear when your paratroopers are easily gunned in route to a vain attempt to capture a building. Good stuff. Some of the crashing and destruction sound effects sound awfully familiar though, as if they were lifted from a sound effects board, much in the style of the Wilhelm scream.

In this game, you control the blue forces and use various ground forces to penetrate the enemy’s defenses, then using disruptors to overcome their shields, and then your troops move in for the kill. You steadily gain resources from somewhere (?) and use them to build more units of different types, with a maximum of 40 on screen at a time. Due to the enemies’ defense (mostly the rival hovercopter) you have to babysit them with your weapons or they will be quickly wiped out by enemy turrets or your rival’s bombing runs.

Although this brings to mind the classic genre innovators like Herzog Zwei or Dune in its combination of the shump and real time strategy genres, it does neither justice. This is so due to a fundamental flaw in the game: the player doesn’t have direct control over the ground forces, you only decide which units to build. Everything else, from movement to attack, is handled automatically. Tanks fire on ground units, anti aircraft guns do their thing, and troops get killed. This makes the game feel like more of an assembly line than one with even a semblance of strategy.

At least your control of the hovercopter allows you to somewhat compensate for the woefully inadequate gameplay. The aircraft is very fast, allowing you to come to the rescue often (and you will!) and rush back for resupply due to limited armaments. Maneuvering is easy and fluid; even the enemy’s anti-air weapons can be dodged relatively easily with your ability to rapidly change altitude. You have chain guns for basic attack, missiles for more power, and gravity bombs for rapid destruction. All of this helps to fend off the handicap of the guessing game that your ground troops foist upon you with their snail like pace and obstinate lack of control.

In the local multiplayer, you can choose to play any of the 10 stages (albeit with no story) and select two additional vehicles, the Stormbolt and Hellfire. These two hovercopters have greater ammo for chain guns and more ammo for different weapons. Unfortunately, they are much less agile due to their inability to change altitude when hovering in one place. This little change makes a world of difference when trying to dodge enemy turrets or when in a dogfight with the enemy hovercopter. A shame.

Challenge is this game is pretty advanced, especially as you unlock more of the game’s 10 stage story mode. It can be tough to power your way through the enemy defenses due to the inability to properly coordinate your attack, robbed by your lack of direct troop control. It isn’t uncommon that you have to wait for the right timing to attack the enemy and hope they don't have good defenses; if they do, you have to wait until more troops slowly make their way to the battle. The inability to coordinate attacks (general offensive tasks, backup anti-air support and so on) makes this game much more frustrating that it should be.

Add on the limited number of lives and given the slow mobility of your troops, you’ll quickly grow tired of the standoffish gameplay, especially when you consider that the enemy can resupply their defensive lines much quicker than you can yours. After all, you are almost also on the offensive far from your base. As tedium with the flawed gameplay sets in and mission grows ever longer, you’ll quickly want to quit. Add in the inability to save at any time (a hallmark of the genre and a key to many a strategy) and you have one poorly designed game.

Replay value is low with the aforementioned lack of control to blame. In many a game of this type, replay is all but guaranteed by the ability to use powerful forces for a quick victory or a more drawn plan of surgical strikes and attrition to weaken the enemy. You won’t find this in Armor Valley.

Armor Valley is a disappointment and not a very good game. Where there was a lot of promise, it mostly goes unfulfilled. Even in action games, you have more choice in strategy than you do in this one. Even when you consider the budget price, Armor Valley fails as a hybrid and is an unworthy successor to the genre classics of the past.

- Uglybob

OG - Editor-in-Chief / Original Gamer og (@) | all author's articles

Is crowd funding the way of the future?

Absolutely. It gives power to the gamers by letting them pay for the games they want to see.
Nope. Crowd sourcing will be fine for a year or two until too many developers do not follow through with their games and waste our money.
View Results - View Comments


Con talk, Mass Effect 3 talk, and Asshole talk

Red Faction Guerilla Review

Red Faction Guerilla Review

Toy Soldiers: Cold War Review

Other Gaming News From The Web
Gaming News