Version Tested: Xbox One
Available On: Xbox One, PC
Genre: Action, Indie, Strategy
Official Site: http://fortifiedgame.com/
Release Date: February 3, 2016
Where To Buy: Steam, Xbox Live Store
Fortified is one of those games that snuck under the radar, only to suddenly appear right in front of you. This strategy game for the Xbox One offers an interesting take on the “tower defense” style of shooter. It is styled in an old-school comic kind of way, reminiscent of a time when The War of the Worlds was a popular and terrifying film. A lot of things came out of this time period when people became afraid Martians would fly out of the sky and try to take over the Earth. Basing its storyline off of this idea, Fortified allows you to take the responsibility of leading the fight for humanity’s safety.
However much the idea has been done before, this game is an entirely unique experience. You get to choose from four different heroes to play as, each with their own advantages and styles of fighting, and team up with other players to carry out your collective mission.
As someone who is unused to third-person shooters, I had trouble getting into the style of Fortified early on. However, the early missions in the campaign are forgiving, allowing the player to get the hang of different mechanics before really getting into some strategic thinking. On the other hand, the early multiplayer modes are not quite as easy, especially if you have do not have a full team of four. Ideally, you could find higher-level friends to work through the various multiplayer levels with. But if this is not an option, you may want to level up your characters and practice on the easier levels of the campaign before trying to move to online play.
Online play seems to have had good intentions, but the pool of players available makes multiplayer modes monotonous. As the levels grow harder, you will need other players to help fight the Martian menace, encouraging the use of all four team slots. Each of the characters has their own advantages, and using them all together can give rise to a powerful team.This game is clearly intended to be played with friends. However, there is no split-screen option, which seems to be pushing players toward the online play instead.
Yet whenever I tried to play in a random quick match, I usually found myself on small teams of two. The online play matches up teammates well in terms of levels – everyone on your team will probably be around the same level you are. Yet the lacking amount of people playing Fortified deadens the multiplayer experience for me. The strategy is a big part of this game; without other people willing to work through the levels with you, Fortified loses a big part of its enjoyment.
That being said, the different level designs are well done and allow for many successful strategies to be integrated. Each level is designed for a different portion of a city street, offering plenty of interesting opportunities for the four characters’ abilities. Giving players the opportunity to be flexible in their strategic thinking seems to be a big influence for Fortified. The characters themselves are pretty squishy, especially before you unlock stronger weapons, so their abilities really are important to survival. In addition, you must keep in mind that you are limited in some aspects – characters can only hold two guns at a time, and have around five kinds of defense. And even if you have money to spare, defenses are limited to a certain number, so you have to plan carefully what you might need.
Fortified tries to offer different styles of gameplay, but the game mechanics are essentially the same all over, no matter whether you are soloing a campaign level, working through a level with a team online, or surviving waves of enemies in the “Invasion” mode. In each situation, you stand your ground for as long as you can as Martians continue to march forward toward their target. The weapons are all the same for each character, which is disappointing. And weapons don’t seem to be focused on being realistic at all, as they have a much wider range and are too easy to use. While I understand that strategy is the focus of this game, I was still expecting more from Fortified‘s shooter aspect. When a shotgun seems to operate more like a mini grenade launcher, you know there is something wrong.
One thing that the developer spent a lot of time on is the way the game looks and works. The style of Fortified is gorgeous, even as it is fairly simple. The opening sequence, which describes the background for the game, is designed in that classic 50’s-style comic look that makes this game unique. In addition, everything flows well, with no game glitches that I experienced. While the AI on enemies might not always be the best, the way that they are designed is perfectly aligned with the game’s style. Fortified is a carefully crafted video game, that is for sure.
However, the sound is really a rather uninteresting aspect of the game. While it doesn’t take away or distract from any of the levels, it also doesn’t add anything either. The music can be repetitive and annoying after a while. And while the other sounds are consistent with the style of Fortified, they really didn’t stand out to me in any way.
All things considered, Fortified is a decent strategy game. If you have friends to play with, it will be a fun experience. However, if you’re looking for an indie shooter or a game you can play through on your own, this game probably isn’t for you. If I learned anything from playing Fortified, it is that you can’t defend the Earth on your own.
- Gameplay: Clearly designed to be played with others. Levels can be repetitive at times but encourage strategic thinking.
- Graphics: Gives a War of the Worlds feel, with a clear style of the 50’s.
- Sound: Nothing too impressive, with repetitive battle music.
- Presentation: A lot of time and effort was put into this game; it is easy to pick up.
- Interesting take on strategy game
- Fun when played with friends
- Game is carefully designed
- Music is repetitive and forgettable
- Solo play not as feasible
- Weapons unrealistic and levels can be monotonous at times