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Steel Storm Burning Retribution is a game that I desperately wanted to like. I typically love almost all things indie, and can never seem to find a reason to outright dismiss an indie game release. The thing that endlessly captivates me about indie game development is that where there might be a lack of technological ability or resources, there is never a shortcoming of innovation or ingenuity. This comes with the territory. Don’t wage war on a front where you have no hope of winning so to speak. So with that healthy dose of understanding that I generally apply to all the indie games that come across my desk, I attempted to dive into Steel Storm Burning Retribution.
I say attempted to because no matter what I did I was at the mercy of the game’s seemingly less than capable engine which only ever punished me for playing the game the way that I assume it’s meant to be played. Which is to say, I like to blow things up real good. The game promised me relentless carnage, and destruction akin to the older bullet hell games that populated my childhood. And if you’ve read my Razor2 Hidden Skies review you already know that I have a love for such things that extends beyond sensibility. Everything is fine at first glance, the game loads you in and before you know it you are treated to a birds eye view of your brand spanking new hovertank, ready for action. But the problems begin when the actual action takes place. Explosions reduce the framerate to a crawl, and particle effects from things as simple as firing some of the more powerful weapons even seem to take a toll on the engine.
And I’m not alone. I tried to get another GameGavel writer, Josh Wright in on the action, and his game was plagued by the same performance issues that I was facing. It wasn’t a good sign. But then I did something I generally don’t do with game releases… I waited. I waited for a patch to address the issue, or for some type of fix when I should have simply written my experience, and moved on to the next title. But I didn’t do that. I wanted to give the game, and the people who made it some time to address things that had made my experience so inferior to what they probably intended it to be. And to be fair, since I got the game from the fine people at Creative Artel, there have been a number of patches… but none of them have fixed my particular issue. I even managed to do a complete processor and operating system upgrade between then and now. Nothing.
So I can only base my review on what I saw, and from my own personal experience the game has some serious performance issues that are holding it back. There are some cool weapons, moments of terrific level design, and the combat from what I can tell should be pretty exciting. There’s even a very extensive and customizable multiplayer that is combined with a map editor for almost limitless replayability. But all of these things fell victim to a crippling performance bug that chased me across lord knows how many patches, and a total system upgrade. I sincerely hope they fix it, because what was there looked pretty damn cool.
Steel Storm is available now for PC
It was developed and published by Kot-in-Action Creative Artel
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