Timelines: Assault on America for Linux Review
key review info
- Game: Timelines: Assault on America
- Platform: Linux
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Timelines: Assault on America is a strategy title published by Strategy First Inc., which in itself should provide some notion about its quality.
If you are looking for a triple-A RTS you will be disappointed, but you will also find that this is a distilled and simple strategy game that makes no excuses and delivers what it promised.
This is not the first title to mess with the history, and it won’t be the last. The premise that’s used at the start of the game is actually an interesting one, and I find it to be mildly entertaining. I would even imagine a movie with the same idea and maybe Tom Cruise in the main role.
One of the assassination attempts on the life of Adolf Hitler actually succeeds, but instead of ending the war, this ultimate solution backfires. Germany no longer attacks Russia, but instead makes an alliance with Japan and they end up attacking the United States.
Story and Gameplay
I would love to say that there is more to this story, but this is where the interesting information comes to a halt. After the intro video, the storyline stops and is not expanded further.
The first time you access the main menu, you will get a very familiar feeling, like you’ve seen it somewhere before. RTS veterans will recognize a few design elements from old games like Sudden Strike and Blitzkrieg.
The campaign is broken down in a series of 12 maps, which are unlockable by completing them in order. Timelines: Assault on America feels more like a skirmish RTS, because very little information is usually provided at the start of each level.
Most of the objectives are very simple and usually revolve around capturing some points, making sure a convoy is safe, or just destroying a number of outposts or other structures.
It follows a classic building recipe, which is reminiscent of old Red Alert games, but without any resource collection. You start with all the building types available from the beginning, but you don't have the money to build them all.
After you begin to produce some tanks and you feel that you can start clearing the objectives, you can go and lose the first few battles. The enemy doesn't start with the same problems as you. Everything is already in place on the map and you just have to play catch-up.
The player makes money by capturing strategic points. The more points you control, the better. You also need to defend them, because the AI is always looking to take them back.
The reason why I'm starting this section so early is because there are a lot of problems with the game. For example, you have access to infantry from the beginning, but I couldn't find a reason to have them. All you need are the tanks and maybe some of the light armor.
The AI is poor and relies on building a lot of units, until you accomplish your objective on that map. One time, I found out where the enemy base was and after numerous tries I managed to destroy it.
You would figure that the game let me win at that point, but no. The AI is not hampered by the fact that it doesn't control any resource points and it keeps trying to build the structures back up.
The artillery is extremely overpowered and the enemy will destroy your tanks very quickly. On the other hand, unless you are playing against a human opponent, you won't need to build artillery, with the exception of a couple of maps where you have to defend a certain zone.
The graphics are very poor, and I'm speaking as a Linux player. We're not accustomed with a lot of beautiful games, but the last year has been very generous and I can tell you this game looks mediocre at best.
Which brings me to the biggest problem. This is an RTS game and you can't use the mouse to move around. You can just select units and give orders, but you will need to use the keyboard (the arrow keys) to pan the camera. For a game released in 2013, this is ridiculous.
The multiplayer is very basic and you can't find any lobbies, unless you make one and invite a friend from your Steam list. I won't even go into sound effects or anything else. Most of the game is just sub-par.
The GoodSurprisingly, I did find one redeeming quality. The game features a very interesting system of upgrades for the unit types. On every map you receive a number of upgrade points which you can spend on all of your units. These upgrades are transferable from one level to another.
All the units have a considerable number of upgrade slots, and when you're done with the Sherman tank, for example, it will become a very powerful unit.
The inescapable conclusion
If you are seeking a basic, core RTS experience, maybe you will enjoy Timelines: Assault on America, but if you're looking for something more, then you need to search somewhere else.