Parents' Guide to

Ashes of the Singularity

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Epic sci-fi strategy warfare has some violence, tame play.

Game Windows 2016
Ashes of the Singularity Poster Image

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In most real-time strategy games, the bulk of battles are usually small skirmishes between a limited number of troops. This mainly happens because it's difficult to manage the actions of large groups of units. As a result, RTS games generally lack the epic scope of their turn-based brethren. Ashes of the Singularity, on the other hand, manages to keep battles huge, thanks to a unique features that let players collect different units together in a group, but treat them as a single entity. After forming an army and giving it an order, the game's A.I. handles the individual management of those troops, making sure that each part acts independently of each other while also supporting the other units within the group. This way, players can send waves of units at opponents and still focus on a larger overall strategy, instead of worrying about whether or not the long range cannons are positioned to give infantry covering fire. This kind of streamlining makes it much easier to command massive forces, sometimes leading to epic onscreen warfare of hundreds of units at once.

As great as it is to see all those units fighting each other in such a grand scale in Ashes of the Singularity, it's not enough to make up for the rest of the game's mediocrity. Take away the ability to control swarms of troops at once, and you're left with a fairly basic and bland RTS experience. While it's definitely a good looking and highly detailed game, that all gets lost once you're forced to zoom away from the action to manage larger groups. The epic sci-fi battle you saw a second ago quickly becomes little more than trying to micromanage a glorified ant farm. The 10+ missions in the single player campaign never really draw the player into the lore of this universe, and instead leave the player scratching his head while trying to sort out the plot. Not only that, but the campaign just feels underwhelming on the whole, almost as if it's an afterthought hurriedly tacked on to the multiplayer experience. On the positive side, the multiplayer matches do a lot to make up for the single player shortcomings. Matches, especially large scale face-offs, feel like they have to be won through tactics and strategy versus luck and speed. Also, from a technical standpoint, multiplayer games tend to run smoothly, despite the number of units on the screen. Still, it's not quite enough to keep Ashes of the Singularity from buckling under the weight of its own potential.

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