I was recently given the opportunity to play a very early build of an in-progress independent RTS called Liquidation: Echoes of the Past. It’s being developed by the creator of Loria and an independent duo called Kiwi Brothers, and from what I was given to play the other day, it’s shaping up to be a promising project indeed.
It’s fair to call Liquidation’s design direction as inspired in a large part by WarCraft 3 or Blizzard-centric systems with a liberal dash of Warhammer 40,000 thrown in for good measure. The final version of the game will have 4 factions: a Space Marine-inspired group called the Twilight Crusade, demons from another plane called the Nether Legion, lizard men from inside the earth called the Scourge Alliance, and twisted abominations known as the Ancient Corruption.
The build I was able to play only contained the Twilight Crusade as a playable, and did not have base-building in it. The final game, and likely any future demo, will have base-building at a scale that’s likely to feel more familiar to players of WarCraft 3 than to players of StarCraft or Dawn of War (this is just a guess but I feel pretty confident in the guess personally).
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What I was able to play was basically a vertical slice intended as basically a teaser, and I was told numerous times by the developer that it should not be considered indicative of the final state of gameplay. And yet, there are some things we can use to determine the broad strokes of what the studio are building. And as I said, I feel like there’s some promise there.
First off, I feel like units having weapon switching is something that could end up being very interesting. The developer has brought up on their Discord channel that in the final version of the game, this will cost resources. I think that’s important, and will make the actual system much more interesting than it is in this demo.
In the demo, weapon switching is kind of a curiosity. It has some utility: riflemen switching between a sniper rifle and general-purpose DPS weapon can affect the duration of fights against heavier targets. But the axe (AOE) and sword (single-target) weapon switching didn’t seem to do much since the available enemies didn’t clump up enough to be targets for the AOE damage of the axe. This is something that can be simple enough to tune and tweak. And anyway, my point remains that it’s something that will be made better with the additional emphasis provided by a resource cost.
The unit designs are interesting, and as I keep saying, show promise of what’s to come. The Savant support unit enables fast HP regen for affected units, making it not a way to save them in a pinch but to top them off out of combat or to be a limiter on HP drain during combat.
In the demo, the player only gets a glimpse of a handful of unit types for the Twilight Crusade and the enemy faction, the Scourge Alliance. The Scourge Alliance show off a couple of units, including a sturdy walking turret that deals respectable damage. Also, Scourge Alliance units seem to use a Protoss-style regenerating energy shield.
The buildings shown evoke a bit of WarCraft 3, with supply structures, apparent barracks or factories, and a Nexus which is presumably the Scourge Alliance’s town center or command center structure.
in terms of combat, there’s a couple of systems of interest. Unit lethality and time-to-kill is relatively low, giving combat a similar sort of tactical feel that WarCraft 3 has. I think units might fall a bit easier than in WarCraft 3, but unit life drops slowly enough in combat to allow retreating. This is combined with a cover system for ranged units that introduces counter play around areas of cover, targets for unit abilities, and the suchlike. It’s still in progress, but it feels pretty good already in the demo.
I’m watching this one. I have been since I first saw the Liquidation twitter account sharing pictures and images online. There’s no guarantees that it’ll be an amazing game. But I think it’s safe to say it’ll be a pretty interesting one.
Thanks for reading.