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Project Nomads (PC)

It’s rare these days we see developers come up with something new and innovative which always raises the question ‘where do we go next?’. Developer Radon Labs is have created a rather intriguing title called Project Nomads which looks a rather strange concept at first glance. A buzz of excitement could be heard around the Loadedinc offices when the review disk popped though the door a little earlier than was expected. Imagine a world that is solely populated by floating islands, a world where bumping into people just doesn’t happen too often and a world full of strange and bizarre machinery. Imagine no more, welcome to Project Nomads. The game has been billed as a strategy title but it’s a little more than that and to be honest I would pretty much class this in the all-out action category.The GameIn the game you play one of 3 characters set on putting an end to the nasty evil Sentinels and also rescue your captured friends while you’re at it, but you have to do it in what seems rather unorthodox way. At the very start of the game you’re placed on your very own floating island, which at first doesn’t seem much, but after few light missions to get you into the swing of things the island turns into a compete island battle fortress.This fortress is completely commanded by you and this is where the strategy element comes into play. To turn your island into the ultimate war machine you need to collect ancient artifacts, each of which provides you with an item to add to your island. You come across these items by playing through the game’s various missions and you can collect them and use them to build up- your island with better weapons and abilities. There is a catch; you can only hold so many items in your special item belt which requires some quick thinking and bit of management on your part. These items can be stored in a vault on your island but the vault only holds so many artifacts which means you have to choose wisely depending on your current situation.The game is essentially played from the third person perspective as you run your character around the game’s various islands. When you’re playing in the character mode, you move around like any action title with the use of the mouse and keys. Project Nomads is not quite as clean cut as that though, you also need to take command of you island and use the artifacts to create structures. To do this you simply either select an artifact from your item belt with the mouse and then the camera pans out to a top-down view showing you free spaces on the island you can construct your buildings. You toggle through these locations with the mouse wheel then simply click the button and building will construct.Running around in third person mode and constructing your island’s buildings with the artifacts make up the main portion of the game play but there’s other elements to consider. As you build your constructs with the artifacts you can then hop in and take control of certain buildings. For example if you build the huge missile gun you can run up to it, click the mouse button and select ‘use’ on the screen from the pop-up menu. Your view then changes to a first person view and you’re now in control of the gun. You can also use vehicles such as aircraft so eliminate your targets by taking control once they are built. Thankfully if your aircraft dies you don’t, and you’re zoomed back into 3rd person view on the island to carry on with your battle plans. The three elements of taking part in simple missions running around as your character, building your island up and also taking control of the game’s buildings and vehicles is what should make Project Nomads an interesting gaming experience. It’s never that simple though is it?MundaneThe missions are varied with gaps between each similar mission types which is good, but after a while I couldn’t help thinking that very little thought had gone into the mission elements. Usually it involves arriving at an island, talking to an NPC and then running around collecting artifacts or taking out creatures with your firey orb, which you can pick up and fire as a projectile weapon. Here’s the problem. After taking out the incredibly stupid insect like creatures a couple of times, the whole thing feels very mundane and your will to keep playing starts to flag. Being able to fly with your jetpac, using the vehicles and building up your island becomes rather repetitive pretty quickly.Controls or lack ofMy major gripe with Project Nomads has to do with the game’s controls. For some bizarre reason Radon Labs don’t allow you remap keys and the keys are in the most awkward positions, especially when trying to use the projectile firey Orb things. To make matters worse there’s no strafe feature. Come on guys, how hard could it really be to add this. The game really feels like a console game (the game is also on the Xbox) and there doesn’t appear to be that much thought put into it for PC gamers.Due to the style of gameplay you’ll find you need to save and resave a lot. Some of the missions can be long and it’s really frustrating when you have to start right at the beginning of each mission every time. You do need real patience when playing this game.Visuals/AudioThe big plus point for Project Nomads in the game’s visuals. The game does look great with massive explosions and some pretty innovative looking vehicles and technology. There are a few glitches here and there and we found our character getting stuck in the scenery a few times, forcing a reload which was rather annoying.The game’s sound was impressive enough with booming explosions pounding rocket sounds and decent vehicle sound effects. The music also fits well with the game and it’s more ambient than in your face.MultiplayerLike the control system, not a lot of thought has gone into the multiplayer. You can play against others but you need to be on a LAN. No internet play in this day and age is highly disappointing, especially in a game like this. No LAN = no multiplayer unfortunately.Project Replay?Overall Project Nomads is an interesting idea but feels rather incomplete and almost rushed. The game feels like it should have stacks of potential but it’s let down by clumsy controls and game play that’s rather unexciting at times and even frustrating . If you like action games then this may be worth a look but it really is an average title.

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