Dark Reign: The Future of War - Gameplay

Gameplay

The gameplay is that of a sci-fi real-time strategy, similar to that of Command & Conquer. In any given scenario, the player first constructs buildings for unit production, resource gathering, power generation and base defense. The production of units and buildings represent an opportunity cost as they all have an associated cost in terms of credits (the arbitrary currency used by the game). Additional credits are earned by collecting shipments of water from fresh springs, while additional power can be generated by harvesting Taleon. Water and Taleon are the only two resources collected during gameplay. These resource deposits continuously regenerate and can never be completely exhausted, however, when depletion occurs, resource accumulation from these sources takes longer. In a special case, the complete destruction of water sources can be forced through the use of the Water Contamination Unit as part of resource-denial strategy. During short games, it is advised to assert control over as many water deposits as possible to ensure a strong income in financing attacks and base defenses. In longer games, this strategy is extended to protecting and maintaining supply routes as it takes longer to derive the same amount of profit.

The two sides have completely unique units and strategies, unlike many contemporary games. Freedom Guard units are characterized as being weaker but more mobile, being faster and better able to handle difficult terrain. As such, these units specialize in lightning strikes and ambushes and are useful in harassing enemy units and supply lines. Imperium units rely on strength and numbers to overwhelm their enemies. Although their units are usually slower when compared to Freedom Guard counterparts, they are able to outmatch Freedom Guard units with increased armor and firepower. Furthermore, Imperium units have a greater reliance on hover technology, which limits their use in extreme terrain but allows them to easily cross natural water barriers. Freedom Guard technology relies on hiding their units through use of technology called phasing. Phasing allows units to quickly hide underground, making them effective for close-quarters ambushes. The Imperium are directed more towards a blitzkrieg style of play, with units focused on supremacy in combat ahead of tactical flexibility. Freedom Guard units are geared more towards an anti-armor role, especially to counter Imperium armor superiority, while the Imperium utilize more anti-infantry weapons to negate Freedom Guard infantry advantages.

Another aspect of gameplay allows players to steal technology from other players, thus negating specific unit advantages and specialty. In order to do this, the player uses an espionage unit called the Infiltrator to steal weapon designs from an enemy Headquarters, the building tasked with producing construction rigs. Once the plans have been successfully stolen, the infiltrator unit is then directed back to your HQ to incorporate the new technology in your production options. The Infiltrator may steal as many weapon designs as possible while in the enemy headquarters but risks being exposed the longer the unit stays. This espionage option in Dark Reign is unique compared to other Real-time strategy games, since acquiring enemy technology usually requires capturing an enemy production structure capable of producing that unit or building. Dark Reign offers extra tactical flexibility by allowing practical espionage to be used against the enemy.

In the campaign missions, the player is given a number of objectives that must be met before victory can be achieved. These victory conditions follow the historical scenario being replayed - for example, a given mission might require the player, as the Freedom Guard, to evacuate or protect a particular unit or structure, or as the Imperium, to destroy those units or prevent their escape.

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