by William Thompson
previewed on X360
The haves and have-nots
Stormrise is a futuristic 3D Real Time Strategy set in a post-apocalyptic backdrop. After the cataclysmic event, two factions were created. The privileged humans moved underground to escape the fallout and became known as the Echelon. They have continued to live with their entire technological prowess in the relative safety of their underground housing. Meanwhile, the less fortunate known as the Sai are a more primitive, almost tribal society. They were forced to live above ground and have had to adapt to the noxious environment. Over time, the Sai evolved into a mutant society that became used to their surroundings and lived an organic lifestyle.
The two factions have peacefully co-existed over a number of generations since the catastrophe, but tensions are beginning to mount. More recently, the Echelon reclaimed some habitable land above the surface and shared their knowledge with the Sai. Extremist cells of the Sai are not happy with the Echelon again living on the surface as some Echelon seem to think they are superior beings. The general populace want peace, but the radicals from each side think otherwise.
As expected, due to their existence, each of the two factions has widely differing units to command. The Echelon, as mentioned previous are a more technologically advanced race and their forces are made up of highly weaponised units. The mainstay of their army is the ground troops that somewhat resemble Master Chief from the Halo series. Other units include aircraft support in the form of a futuristic helicopter gunship and some Mechwarrior-type mechs. Automatic turrets can also be deployed to offer support to the cannon fodder… errr, ground troops.
The Sai, on the other hand, do not have the technological capabilities of the Echelon. Instead, they rely on their knowledge of their environment and the strength given to them by their mutations. The Sai also have their own cannon fodder, but possess a unit that resembles an oversized spider as well as a large monster-looking creature known as Rage. One unit that caught my eye was one that is reminiscent of the Predator in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie (and subsequent Alien v Predator movie). It has a cloaking attribute which enables them to perform stealth attacks. No doubt we will get to see more of the available units as we near the release date.
Being a 3D strategy game means that action takes place not just on land, but also on rooftops, in the air as well as underground. Each locale has its own advantages and disadvantages for the two factions. The Sai are advantaged when fighting on contaminated land, whilst the technologically advanced Echelon will no doubt be advantaged in their underground strongholds.