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Domination PC CD-ROM

Published by DreamCatcher
Developed by Wargaming.net
Release Date: 10th June 2005
Price: £19.99

Domination, an introduction.

Being a fan of turn-based strategy games it's disappointing to see so few about these days. Recently though things are beginning to look up as several turn-based games have arrived at Deaf Gamers for review. Here we have Domination from Wargaming.net which is the follow up to the popular Massive Assault.

What's the game about?

In a nutshell Domination is a turn-based, sci-fi, war game. The game puts you in a world where global conflict reigns supreme. The Free Nations Union and the Phantom League constantly battle it out on land, sea and air using a multitude of weapons and vehicles. The single-player modes on offer are particularly impressive and will offer countless hours of play. Campaign, Scenario (20 in total), World War (over 8 planets), Assault and Career modes are all there for you to enjoy. Multiplayer gaming gives you a choice of Hot Seat, Internet and LAN play.

What's good about the game?

Whilst Domination isn't the pinnacle of turn-based strategy gaming it is a solid effort that fans of the genre will most likely appreciate. Whilst the game is quite challenging to master, initially it's very easy to learn and even those who find turn-based strategy games a bit of a chore will have to admit Domination is very accessible.

Seasoned turn-based strategy gamers will notice the new concept of 'Secret Allies'. The maps you play on are divided into zones and the zones are shared out between you and your opponent. Before the battle commences you'll have to reveal one of these zones, in order to produce units, and your opponent will have to do likewise. Naturally this adds another strategic layer to the game as it's possible that you could reveal a zone that is surrounded by two enemy zones (as the zones are revealed simultaneously so you don't know where your enemy zones are until you've already revealed yours). The best policy is often to reveal a zone that is surrounded (or close to) your other hidden zones. I actually quite like the "Secret Allies" concept and thought it worked well.

Another feature I liked about the game was the Career mode. Here you'll create an avatar and fight for your preferred faction. You'll have to pick certain attributes too that will give you certain advantages. All too often in strategy games we are stuck with characters/nations/factions who have fixed characteristics and it's good to see a game that allows you to customise your own characters in such a fashion. It also adds to the replay factor, of course.

What's not so good about the game?

The game has a lot of rough edges that take the shine off the experience. Whilst there is a single-player campaign the story is pretty atrocious and you'll be clicking the left mouse button just to get to the battles as soon as possible. The "Secret Allies" concept doesn't have a tutorial for it out of the box and you'll need to download a 60MB patch to rectify this. The patch also fixes a few camera and campaign issues. With the patch installed though I experienced the occasional crash to desktop, usually in the "Secret Allies" tutorial.

How does it look?

Even though 3D strategy games are becoming more common there still aren't any that look stunning yet (although Age of Empires III will change that later this year). In fact for a turn-based strategy game the game doesn't look bad at all. There are some decent water effects here and it's good to see maps where the trees swing in the breeze, and look quite detailed, instead of looking like cardboard cut-outs.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers will have no problem with Domination as all the game's information appears in text. In fact you'll be completely unaware of the games biggest fault, its voice acting. Even hearing gamers will want to turn the sound off when it comes to the dialogue. The tutorials and all the campaign details are shown in text (as is the information for the other modes) so you'll have no obstacles to enjoying the game. There are a few voice-overs that aren't subtitled but these are only one or two words and the omissions offer nothing of any importance.

Final thoughts.

Turn-based strategy gamers are seldom spoiled for choice. In truth most strategy games these days are real-time. Domination isn't the finest example of turn-based gaming that we've seen but it's certainly an enjoyable game. There are a few problems though and it was a bit disappointing to experience the odd crash to desktop. More mainstream reviews of the game will probably point to the sound (voice-overs in particular) as being atrocious, and rightly so, but that's not something that concerns us and we can't really take marks off for it. In short if you're looking for a turn-based, sci-fi war game Domination could well fit the bill despite its rough edges.

 

Overall Game Rating: 7.2/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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Domination is actually a solid, if not spectacular, strategy title and at the lowly price of £19.99 it's well worth picking up when it's released here in the UK.