Title: Iron Harvest
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: KING Art
Genre: RTS, Action, Alternate fiction, WW1, Base Building, Mechs
Official Site: https://kingart-games.com
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Available on: PC
Where to Buy: Steam
Iron Harvest, released back in September, is a game that returns to the classic RTS genre of the early to mid-2000s. Similar to games such as World In Conflict and Starcraft 2, players will command armies while following a narrative storyline, building bases, and taking resource points. Here is my review for Iron Harvest; prepare soldier, for metal gods walk among us in this alternate world.
The Price of Freedom
Iron Harvest is a game in the alternative universe of 1920+ where empires send their sons and daughters to perish in foreign lands alongside steam-powered mechs. The game has three factions and three Campaigns to go alongside them. In each, you will follow a single main character belonging to their respective faction as the game’s plot unravels before you.
It has been several years since the last great war, and now a mysterious power is working behind the scenes to bring the three great nations of Polania, Rusviet, and Saxony to war once more. It will be up to you to lead your forces through a series of missions with varying objectives that are highly reminiscent of classic Campaign levels.
The plot and the story behind Iron Harvest provide a delightful and refreshing experience. Characters are interesting and the setting even more so, making it easy to get lost in the thick of it. The cutscenes help this greatly, providing that new outlook in beautifully high definition. This results in Iron Harvest offering a highly immersive narrative that’s difficult to put down.
The game’s excellent writing works hand in hand, elevating Iron Harvest’s narrative to new heights. However, the superb writing can be admittedly lessened by some characters’ voices in the game. Thankfully these are few and far between, but can still break the immersion immensely.
Iron Harvest’s Stunning Graphics
Visually, Iron Harvest is a masterpiece in every respect. Everything from the smaller infantry to the towering mechanical beasts is designed with a level of passion, which thankfully translates into the various maps. Several effects contribute well to the game’s overall beauty. My favorite being when fighting picks up and smoke clouds sweep across the arena, leaving you with limited visibility and making the experience that much more intense.
Performance problems were my only issue in this area, and those have been fixed in a recent patch. If you run into any more yourself, I suggest putting the game on an SSD. It runs much smoother and should result in a much more stable experience.
Build, Capture, and Stomp Your Way to Victory in Iron Harvest
At the core of Iron Harvest is a gameplay loop that’s infinitely enjoyable and satisfying. The combat is gratifying, and the diverse faction and unit designs are excellent. If you ever played Company of Heroes, this steam-powered RTS will feel right at home.
The concept is the same; you build units, and those units take over resource points similar to Company Of Heroes. Then you gain resources to construct buildings to field more advanced units. From there, you assault your opponent’s base and slaughter everything in your path. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen battles more intense or beautiful before. The sheer weight of these battles, watching giant mechs fight as infantry line up their shot is an astounding sight to see.
The animations of both mech and units definitely add to the gratifying aspect of these battles. It’s incredibly satisfying to see one of these massive walking artillery guns both move and fire their oversized cannons. Only adding to this is the unit variety. There’s a unit for pretty much every role; there’s anti-infantry flame thrower mechs and infantry, anti mech units, along with heavy and light mechanical beasts.
However, it felt a little lackluster in terms of the actual base building as there was only two unit producing structures and three variants of bunkers for defense. On top of this, engineers could lay barbwire, build sandbags, and place mines. It made what looked amazing stand out more, but I would’ve loved to see more variety in how you construct your base. It’s mainly just a build once and forget type deal in its current state (minus the engineers).
Along with that, the pathfinder for many units can mess up, and if you have more than one giant mech going somewhere at the same time, they will get stuck on each other. This thankfully isn’t too big of an issue in the Campaign, but the Multiplayer and Skirmish will likely suffer as a result.
In the end, the Company Of Heroes formula in Iron Harvest is refreshing because it takes core principles of that type of RTS and uses it to present you with a beautiful presentation of the world of 1920+ and a reimagining of classic RTS games.
Iron Harvest’s Various Game Modes
Iron Harvest, along with offering players a meaty narrative Campaign, also has a few Multiplayer game modes and single-player offerings up its sleeve. The first one is the Skirmish mode, a standard in most RTS games, and where the majority of you will spend your time.
That would be the case for Iron Harvest if the AI weren’t so easy to beat on all difficulties. I played a few games and didn’t see a noticeable change in their behavior. It all felt the same as the medium difficulty. They barely produce units, capture points, or even put up much of a fight. For me, this is a huge downside, since you lose a lot of replayability. Those not entirely in it for the PvP may find themselves getting bored quickly after the Campaign.
Luckily for those who enjoy Multiplayer offerings, what’s there is great. You can play all of the Skirmish game modes such as Dropzone, Domination, and Annihilation. With that added challenge that Multiplayer provides, these modes truly shine.
Verdict: Iron Harvest offers a highly enjoyable experience with hours of content. There’s plenty of fun to be had, regardless of being held back by AI issues in the game’s Skirmish mode. It was a gratifying experience that left me wanting more, which is exactly what a game should do. Because of this, I recommend picking Iron Harvest up if you are an RTS fan. You won’t regret it, trust me.
- Awesome narrative campaign
- Great gameplay and RTS mechanics
- Interesting setting, lore, and characters
- Delightful multiplayer modes
- Numerous performance issues when I first played it
- Poor Ai and terribly easy skirmish mode
- Sloppy AI pathfinding