Victory Command: Battle Arena Preview
MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) are getting spurted out more frequently since the inclusion of League of Legends into the market. Other MOBAs are trying to get whatever piece of the action they can with such titles as DOTA 2, Heroes of Newerth, Smite, Heroes of the Storm, and the list goes on. All of these MOBAs follow the same basic formula. Minions constantly spawn and attack towers while players fight alongside them. Some games try to alter the formula by rearranging the maps or adding goals with bonus buffs. Victory Command, however, brings an entirely new concept to the PC by adding an RTS element to MOBA genre.
At first sight, Victory Command may seem like an idea that’s bound to fail, but as it turns out, this isn’t the case. It’s surprisingly engaging and entertaining. Instead of the aboriginal formula where minions keep spawning and attacking towers, you’ve got squads and units capturing points – think Company of Heroes.
The squads or units are split up into companies that are the equivalent of classes players can select in-game. The free version will give players three companies to choose from: The Jack (medium tanks), Dune Runner (Heavy MG Recon), and Javelin (Missile Troopers). Each company only has one set of units, so this limits the variety that can be found in mixing and matching different squads. Fifteen companies are available in Victory Command but only if you pay for the Platinum Edition, or by hoarding the experience points gained in multiplayer matches. Each company has specific traits or perks that can be unlocked through the usage of these points, also. The game employs an upgrade tree where new skills and abilities are unlocked. Once the player has reached the end of one tree, it’s easy to kickstart another, thus unlocking even more enhancements. Perks work similarly as to how Call of Duty employs them – giving squads buffs and whatnot. Each company can use and hold a certain amount of perks. This also works in multiple tiers – similar to the enhancement tree – since you can add more perks as you level up further. Lastly, each company has one or two active abilities to use in-game. Again, these can be changed by purchasing or unlocking the tabs listed as Alpha, Delta, Bravo, and Charlie.
After selecting your preferred company, you’ve got to find a proper match. Searching for a game typically takes around 4-5 minutes so prepare to wait. Upon launch, the player will be greeted by a team of 5 (including you) on the right and left side of the screen. Here the players can choose what perks they want to use along with a drone. A drone is considered to be a personal buff bot. One drone can give a boost in speed or another in attack, so it’s important to know which works well with what company. After the choices are made, the game will be ready to start.
There are two ways to win a match in Victory Command. By capturing points placed in random locations on the map – listed as A, B, and C – or completely eliminating the opposing team. Capturing each point will grant victory points toward the team with the most secured zones – it’s possible to seize all zones. Whichever team reaches 250 Victory Points first, wins the match. The other win condition is pretty self-explanatory. Each player will only be allowed to use a certain amount of units and survive with only a limited amount of resources at their disposal. There are no respawns of a specific unit so once one dies then it never comes back. If all units are destroyed than the player is eliminated and will be forced to watch the rest of the match – unless they wish to leave, earning penalties along the way. There are other locations to capture, too, that assist players and these are called “Secondary Objectives”. The Primary Objectives are the Victory Point sectors that are keys to conquering a match, but Secondary Objectives are nice to have when in combat also. Repair Depots heal the units if they are damaged, for example. Comm-link slows down the enemy Victory Point gain. Spy-Sat reveals everything on the playing field, including the units hidden in the bushes. Helipad grants players the ability to extract from areas faster and Radar Dish blocks the radar signal from the other opponents making surprise attacks more efficient.
Victory Command doesn’t have an average MOBA setup where minions attack a tower and three lanes. The maps are treated as they are in an RTS match, meaning that you can go practically anywhere on the map. The scenery proves as an excellent means of gaining an advantage in having the upper hand. Tall grass can hide units traced by the opponent’s mini-map, and high cliff points act as advantages since you deal more damage to units from higher ground. Cities are the greatest asset for infantry units, with stone barricades on the roads to block tanks or other motorized vehicles from following.
Naturally, every unit has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, tank armour takes more damage when struck from the rear rather than up front so even rocket infantry units can do extensive amounts of damage when properly set up. This means the game is very well balanced, providing a challenge players will have to overcome in one way or another.
Teamwork is a core part of Victory Command and in using the map’s environment along with keeping the troops alive while capturing Primary and Secondary Points proves as an excellent choice for a MOBA game. Victory Command is in Early Access on Steam but can be downloaded from the website itself here.