Besieger Review


Besieger is a real-time strategy game designed to appeal to a particular type of RTS player. If youíre the kind of player who enjoys building bases with elaborate defenses and hates when another player rushes in before you have time to complete your master building plan, then Besieger is for you. If youíre the player doing the rushing however, Besieger will very likely not appeal to you. The process of creating units is a slow one and the game puts heavy limits on the total units that you can create, so rushing or unit massing is not even possible. Unfortunately Besieger is not heaven for the base-builder either, as it suffers from some basic issues that create more frustration than fun.

Screenshots
Besieger's battles take place in 3D.

Besieger is set in a world dreamed up by someone falling asleep while reading the works of Robert E. Howard after eating far too much at the local Swedish smorgasbord. You have a hero by the name of Konin the Barbarian (no, not Conan) of Cimmeria (not to be confused with the other Cimmeria) whose powerful sword is known as Krom (which is an entirely different sword than Crom, so donít bother suing). Add a Viking lord with army in tow who comes to aid Konin in his quest to regain his crown from his usurper of a sister and you have the basis for the storyline for Besiegerís campaign game. Itís kind of originally unoriginal if that makes sense, but who plays RTS games for the storyline anyway? So on to the gameplayÖ

Besieger plays a bit differently than most RTS games. You still have resources in the form of wood, stone, and iron that must be gathered in order to finance the building of structures and units, but it is how those units are created that makes Besieger different. In Besieger, all units begin their lives as peasants and in order to create a basic offensive unit such as a spearman, youíre going to have to send a peasant to the appropriate structure to have him trained. Letís say you wanted to make the aforementioned spearman. The process would begin by assigning peasants to gather resources. Once you had enough to construct a new peasant house youíd remove one of your peasants from resource duty to begin the construction. The reason for this is that each peasant house automatically creates four peasants for you, no more and no less, and if you want more peasants youíre going to have to build more houses. Also, since peasants are converted to army units youíll lose gatherers if you donít make more peasants. Once you have your new house and its peasants, you can have one of those peasants build a training building. Once this building is completed, you can send a peasant in one end of the building, wait for a little bit, and out the other side comes your spearman. As you can see, just building your first military unit is a time-consuming task. Even after youíve lain all of that groundwork things donít speed up too much. You still have to balance your need to gather resources with your need to field an army as your peasant supply is always limited. Also, only one peasant can be trained at a time, so theyíll queue up outside of a structure and enter one at a time after the previous peasant completes his training and walks out the other side.

Defense on the other hand is inexpensive and easy to build. Walls can be quickly constructed and upgraded which allows you to build elaborate defenses fairly early in the life of your base. You can also add towers to your defenses, and mount arbalests, spearmen, and archers in your fortifications to keep the enemy from carelessly testing your defenses. Developing a good defense while using your limited resources to look for the weaknesses in your opponentís is the focus of Besieger, and it is a style of play that is sure to appeal to base-builders. Unfortunately, any enjoyment that they get from the game will be severely dampened by the frustration created by the gameís poor AI.