The Curious Gamers Articles

Posted on 8th April 2016 by TCG

Review: Ashes of the Singularity

Ozzy's Review of Ashes of the Singularity

Direct and to the point: If you were looking for a simplified version of Supreme Commander (not the sequel,) along with all the similar mechanics minus all the (what felt like) “hundreds” of units, then this is the game for you. But the added bonus of DirectX 12.

(SKIP TO HERE)to see the multiplayer review.

Now with that simplified description said, I shall go into more detail.

First things first, the single player campaign, just don't bother. This game revolves around multi-player. Besides the opening and ending cinematics, which make sure you keep music turned on or you won't be able to hear what the movies are saying, (Really Stardock?) there are no voices, all talking is done through text and text that takes control of your camera and takes control away from you at the perfect times when you DON'T want to lose control of the game. The first three missions hold your hands so much that I considered it the tutorial with the game. Which confuses me cause there IS a tutorial for the game, so what's the point of having two tutorials?

The forth mission, you THINK you having your hand held but in fact you are not and if you're not ready, like I wasn't, you could get your ass handed to you. It's a “king of the hill” type mission, hold this point until you win. Well I had units, baddies kept attacking, no biggie, then the last 5mins the baddies threw EVERYTHING they had at me and I lost everything. The only reason I won that mission was because it took baddies too long to kill my main base building and before they could, I won. Otherwise I would've lost.

The fifth mission, which is a main story and a side mission if you wish, the side mission gives you a mission, take back the “Victory Points” the previous mission but instead of one, theirs 8 of them...before the enemy gets the most points. The enemy starts out with ALL POINTS captured, and they win within 5 mins if you don't get the points back or even half. You start with only TWO units, and a handful of base buildings and have no time to build others. I tried 3 times and had absolutely no time to win or even stall the enemy.

Skipping that, the fourth main mission is simple, kill the enemy that has all these high tier units that you don't have access to yet and can only counter it by building everything 100 times with no resources to keep everything building at max speed. First dreadnought I killed, WOO!!! Once that was dead, they announced they had another, I lost 95% of my units just kill the first one. That's when you quit and say “I don't REALLY need to know the story.”

So again, I say, stay away from Single Player unless you REALLY want to know the story.


Now the main thing everyone is actually focusing: multi-player. Like I said at the beginning, if you need a new, simplified version of Supreme Commander (again, not SC 2, which if I'm honest, this is just SC 2.5) then this is for you. The mechanics you're accustomed with, engineers helping others to build faster, repair, build units faster, massive armies that need to be mixed and matched to handle everything, that's there. Factories don't need to be upgraded, one factory for one tier, locked behind prerequisites like you need another building to unlock the next tier, you know, classic RTS stuff. That is only for ground, aircraft only have one building and only three units: scout, fighter, bomber. Each factory has between 4 and 5 units: anti-air, healers, tankers, snipers, scouts, again classic RTS. And before you ask, NO there is no naval units.

An added bonus that Supreme Commander didn't completely implement, is orbital abilities. Call in a quick, small strike force from orbit to deal with a small incursion, call in an engineer behind the enemy lines, and of course, call in an orbital strike to blow stuff up. And before you think that's overpower, each side (of which there are only two,) has orbital jammers which do exactly what they're named.

There are some things about this game I don't entirely like. One being no matter WHAT graphical setting you change, even just turning V-Sync on and off, you MUST restart the game. I'm confused on what year this is...seriously? I have to restart the game just to turn V-sync on?

The game doesn't seem to be entirely optimized, granted my hardware is not top of the line but even turning everything down/off doesn't entirely fix it. But I will say even on low, the game still looks very good. Then again it might be optimized for a computer, just not mine, simply because it's minimum specifications say a resolution of 1600 by 900 (I'm 1920 by 1080,) AND recommended 4GB's VRAM (which I have) and recommended amount of RAM at 16GBs (which I have as well) so either this game is designed for high end computers or they're just saying “get high end stuff to bulldoze your way to 100 FPS.” Also with the DirectX 12 promise of “totally awesome, superb FPS, mega awesome super framerates” this is a very big: WTF!? And turning it down to DirectX 11 doesn't change anything it seems. I can get 60FPS with V-sync on but it does drop at times even when a big battle ISN'T raging.

Unlike Supreme Commander which had all similar style units having there own sounds (select ground: ground sound, select air: air sound. Etc.) each unit has its own unique sound but they are all just random noise (think electronic bass sounds and classic 50's sci-fi, unintelligible speech) and I found them all annoying. Do I really need to hear them make these noises every time they spawn, I select, and move them? I'm glad they don't talk to me with English when I get 100's/1000's of them saying “YES SIR OFF TO KILL THE ENEMY!” every time I move them.

The music is okay, a bit more background “gentle” music (think Anno 2070 Green Initiative music) and I can't complain other than the fact, as I mentioned before, that the music level is tired to the single players campaign cinematic. So if you want to know what's going on in those stories and not just stare at an animated planet, make sure to keep that on.

Building units, I personally felt like it took forever to build just a handful of units when the game makes you build hundreds or more of one unit. You need to build ten engineers just to have them work on a factory to build units faster. I can understand that if the units I'm building are max tier/game changer units, but when even the basic units take between 25-45 seconds to build just one (it does tell you how long it takes to build said unit, I'm not just making up times here) the game feels so slow and you feel like you're not doing anything. I'm sure that's changed when you change the speed of the game to max but I personally don't like doing that.

Don't get me wrong, this game isn't bad, I'm just a bit picky about it and since I loved Supreme Commander I have a comparison to what they're trying to do. I have a feeling this game was aimed at more of the “sports” end of the gaming spectrum, which I am in no way a fan. My idea of this game is that it's mixing two games: Command and Conquer and Supreme Commander. If you want the MASSIVE armies of SC with the uniqueness of units like C&C, then here we are.
Some random info: game comes with leader boards and all that for the modern age, which is nice. There is a leader board for the benchmark. I S*** YOU NOT! If you do the benchmark, you are put on the leader board and see what others use. As Wiggin joked: “I bought the game just so I can be leader on the board for the benchmark.” And I don't know if the leader board for benchmarking is finicky or the game really likes mobile GPU's because the two leaders on the 1080p High settings are both laptop cards. So…huh?
I'm not complaining about that, more of a: “Really Stardock? Was this needed?” But I guess some people will like it.

Summation: Game is aimed at more “hardcore” or “sport” type gamers, game play is good, FPS is picky, DirectX12 is a let down, Single player is not worth it, buy it for the benchmark leader boards.

Wiggin's View of Ashes of the Singularity