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SummaryIt's official, Petroglyph Games can't make RTS games anymore
The GoodThe visual style is quite appealing, especially as the 3D environment and camera have been rigged (can't tell if intentionally or not) to mimic the isometric 2D/2.5D views we've seen in old RTS titles such as C&C Red Alert 2 and Age of Empires. Frank Klepacki once more proved that he can adapt to any sort of theme for his soundtrack, if anyone was still foolish enough to believe otherwise at this point. The game's engine is well-optimized and runs nicely even on low/mid-end laptops.
Also, one big plus is that the game has something that has been completely forgotten in this industry - a free demo. You can try out the tutorial and first four campaign missions for free, and repeat that as many times as you like. Oh, how I long about the era these were a thing...
The BadUgh, where to start. You can tell how desperate Petroglyph was by the fact that it was released about a week after it was originally announced to even exist. One single faction (not counting the subsequently released DLCs) with an arsenal smaller and blander than that found in either faction of the original Command & Conquer is not what an RTS is supposed to look like 14 years after its format was cemented with Dune II. Releasing the game in bits and pieces for a price is something EA and Ubisoft get a pounding for, I'll say this much about it.
The gameplay revolves around spamming. That's it. It's hard to evade that in RTS, but at least everyone else tried to cover the tank rush mentality through various methods in varying degrees of success. Petroglyph didn't even put effort to consider that. Dune II with a full and detailed walkthrough printed in front of you poses more of a challenge than this. Also, nothing new has been introduced in the game. The single risk Petroglyph took with 8-Bit Armies was trying to see how much they can strip from the genre and still have some people play it.
What pains me as a long-time RTS fan the most is that Petroglyph have somehow attracted the attention of fanboys who still want Westwood to return (for their own deranged ideals) and see 8-Bit Armies not only as a game ex-Westwood staff wanted to make (which is wrong in itself, as barely anyone relevant from the studio is now at Petroglyph), but as an equally fun game as C&C in its prime. Apparently those same fanboys never truly played the games they worship, as 8-Bit Armies is as bland and underdeveloped as it gets, while even C&C at its worst had at least some spirit to show. The worst part of it, the undeserved praise for this game is trying to spread with about the same grounds as newer Call of Duty and Battlefield sequels - none at all.
The Bottom LineAfter failing to deliver an RTS game between 2009 and 2014, and the failure of Grey Goo in 2015, Petroglyph wanted to make some quick bucks to stay afloat with 8-Bit Armies. The game puts the final nail in the coffin of hopes that they would ever again make a proper RTS title. Perhaps this is proof enough how few Westwood developers they actually have left.
Avoid. In the name of everything you love about RTS games, avoid. Instead, fire up a C&C game and play it on repeat. The first three major titles are freeware and patched up by fans, anyway.