Falling Skies The Game
Video games have relied on the standard 'alien invasion' plot since the very beginning. It takes a unique twist to make it work in this day and age, whether it's a new gameplay style or a refreshingly original storyline, and that isn't an easy task. Falling Skies: The Game takes fun, tactical gameplay and blends it with the expansive setting of a popular TNT drama series, managing to make a mess of both in the process.
Falling Skies The Game
Falling Skies is a very human drama, focused on how the characters have had to adapt to this new, hellish existence, so the turn-based, tactical gameplay is an excellent fit on paper. Like the Fire Emblem series, the player is given control of a small group of survivors that navigate a grid-based map one at a time; entering combat or choosing strategic vantage points as the battle evolves. Both visually and mechanically, this system borrows very heavily from the excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, in the same sense that Transmorphers ''borrows'' elements from the Transformers movies.
You can choose from a variety of missions throughout the course of the campaign, and these range from simply racking up kills to rescuing prisoners and salvaging important supplies. Generally speaking, each unit is granted two action points per turn with which to make their move, whether it's changing position or opening fire on some alien scum. Sprinting longer distances will spend both, but it's often necessary in order to keep to the front lines. Taking cover is an important mechanic too, as every map is littered with debris to hide behind while the Espheni forces advance. Everything we've just described is based directly off of the XCOM formula, but we could have easily excused this if it had made for an enjoyable game. Sadly Fallen Skies provides far too many examples of how to take a good idea and implement it poorly for this to be the case.
In between missions, you can send a single soldier off in search of vital resources, used to produce new troops or different weapons. It's pretty self-explanatory, so food acts as currency for the former, while metal will buy you the latter. It's likely that these missions can end in disaster, but we can only assume, as we've had no first-hand experience with this actually happening. Our intrepid explorer returned over and over again with a wealth of supplies, most of which we ended up sitting on for the rest of the game as the unit in question levelled up beyond belief.
Controlling the action can be an issue as well, with awkward swings between fixed camera angles set to the L and R buttons, making for some imprecise views during critical moments. Sending a unit forward isn't always a simple task when the terrain is so indistinct, but viewing anything on the GamePad for extended periods is a migraine in the making. The smaller screen on the controller just isn't suited to the blurred visuals and tiny text used in-game, so it's a shame that off-TV mirroring is it's only function. There are no touch controls or alternate display to speak of, and even the D-Pad can't be used to make more precise movements. In fact, you're stuck with the GamePad throughout, as no other controllers work with Falling Skies at all.
Even through mimicking XCOM's tactical gameplay and utilizing the setting of the popular TNT series as a reference point for the campaign, Falling Skies: The Game feels about ten years too late to impress. Currently, there's nothing else that delivers a tactical shooter of this kind on Wii U, which is something of a selling point. Unfortunately what it delivers is a bland, watered-down version of the genre that even hardcore fans will probably want to stay away from.
Shame, like many i'm a fan of the series, and i love the XCom games old and new. This would have been a purchase if it had been produced correctly.Cant believe this game is so expensive with such cheep production values.
@rylo151 it's more about fulfilling genre needs, than copying a particular game though. I was so excited to see XCom like game on Wii U, that I didn't care about the graphics or voice acting at all. Actually, SO excited, that I thought it quite looked good. But sleeping AI, that has to be 'triggered' awake might break the game for me, so I don't dare place a full game price anymore.
There is also the fact you can play on your smartphone for only 5 dollars a prettier, more fun and better designed xcom game. You cant be that desperate for a new wii u game that youd consider buying this for 5x the price or more.
As part of the promotional campaign, a vehicle, with the TNT logo and called Falling Skies Technical, was released as a free gift in the social networking game Mafia Wars on June 14, 2011. Following the second-season premiere on June 17, 2012, a live after-show titled 2nd Watch hosted by Wil Wheaton premiered. The series airs after encore presentations of Falling Skies on TNT's official site. Wheaton discusses the latest episode with actors and producers of the series.
Falling Skies: The Game was developed by Torus Games and published by Little Orbit as a turn-based tactical video game inspired by XCOM: Enemy Unknown and it was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and the Wii U via the Nintendo eShop on September 30, 2014.
My brother walked in on me playing Falling Skies: The Game and promptly remarked: "It's just like X-COM!" The comparison is apt; Falling Skies owes much to the seminal 1994 release X-COM: UFO Defense, which combined squad-based, turn-based strategy gameplay with simulation/RPG elements.
However, whereas the original X-COM's brutal AI maliciously hunted down and slaughtered my entire squad in the first mission of that game (I was 12-years old at the time), Falling Skies is much gentler. More than two decades later, I can play this game and not want to curl up in a corner of the room and cry.
Impressively, Falling Skies does NOT become gentler by eliminating the stakes that made games like X-COM so nerve-wrackingly captivating. When characters die in this game, it's permanent. A single unwise move can expose a resistance fighter to unavoidable death in just three or four hits. And even if you survive a mission, a character might have been so injured as to be completely sidelined for the next four outings.
Other ways the game helps you seem more unintentional. Sometimes it seemed that my characters could shoot around corners ever-so-slightly. It is as if the game's internal logic wasn't taking into account objects that clearly would interfere with my shot. And the enemy AI, while predictably aggressive and unrelenting, often seems content to sit still in unexplored areas of the level until one of my own characters spots it.
Surprisingly, the game is also fairly easy to understand and pick up. Characters can only take two actions every turn, so the decisions become about prioritizing and balancing moving, fighting, reloading, and healing. You become very aware of the possibility of over-extending yourself, or being short a single action that could've finished a target off.
This results in a sci-fi game that's less of an action-filled blaster-fest and more of a cautious, let-me-peek-around-the-corner-and-always-hide-behind-cars sort of chess match. Restraint and planning become words to live by. A mission might involve only 10 aliens scattered across a small patch of urban ruins, but this could amount to 40 caution-filled minutes of slowly leap-frogging squad members forward. The hope is that by playing it safe, everyone has backup in case an alien pops around the corner, or climbs over a building, or explodes out of a dead body.
This is straight-up genre-faithful gameplay. It's appealing and fun and successfully drives an urge to complete missions in order to level up and increase the fighting skills of your troops. I have to admit to feeling that old familiar itch of "just one more level." This can be either a good or a bad thing given that the game offers hours upon hours of possible playtime: my first two actual story missions were separated by about 20 hours of side missions I couldn't say no to.
There's only one problem: Falling Skies can't seem to find a way to capitalize on its solid foundation. The upgrade and leveling up RPG/simulation mechanics are appealing, but really don't expand the scope of the game. And there's simply no radical gameplay twist on the genre to expand the game's horizons in the long term. The game essentially never truly grows beyond what is already apparent after just a few hours. If you're still loving it after 20+ hours of cautiously navigating urban ruins, accept that you may be a diehard fan of this type of gameplay. Less dedicated gamers will have lost interest long ago.
Not doing the game any favors is its decidedly underwhelming visuals. The same predictable palette of urban wastelands and dense forests can't help but blend together after a while. The graphical fidelity is nowhere near comparable to other modern games (though it's less of an issue when played Off-TV on the Wii U GamePad's smaller resolution). And although extremely few and far between, the in-game cutscenes are unavoidably bad on a technical level, with stiff matted hair and disturbingly unfocused zombie-eyes for some characters.
Speaking of which, if you didn't already know, this game is derived from the TV series of the same name. While this game technically takes place shortly after the events of the TV show's season 3, all you really need to know is that aliens are bad. Shoot them.
The show's original actors contributed voice work for their characters, and the little amount of voice acting that exists does come off well. These official characters from the TV show become playable in the story missions, but almost all of the in-game avatars fail at capturing the look of any of the real character's they are supposed to portray.
But you should also come into this with a dose of self-knowledge: do you love the way strategy games tickle your brain? Can you overlook a thorough lack of ambition and graphical polish for the sake of otherwise functional turn-based gameplay? Have you always wanted to try these sorts of experiences, but with a safety net that you just wouldn't find in Fire Emblem or X-COM? 041b061a72