Batheo MMORTS review
On 10 Feb, 2011
Pros: Instant buildings, familiar user interface
Cons: Unoriginal look and concept
Rating: 2 out of 5
Batheo, a free-to-play real-time strategy game, borrows so heavily from other browser-based RTS games that you probably wouldn’t be able to pick it out of a line-up. In fact, it borrows from just about everything that isn’t nailed down with a copyright, making it a muddle of Greek mythology, Roman history, and pulp fantasy novels that have entered the public domain. That wouldn’t be so bad, but the Clapalong developers haven’t matched them very well. Medusa’s army contains Norse monsters, Augustus leads a troop of archers who fire “soul-taking arrows,” and Conan apparently rides a phoenix into battle. It’s as if game developers threw everything into a blender and the result is a uniformly bland mass.
Graphics and Gameplay
The graphics don’t help Batheo’s case, either. The good news is that Batheo’s limited animation and modest graphics won’t tax even an elderly computer with a dial-up connection. The bad news is that it’s a very static game. The main stronghold screen’s attractively rendered, but it lacks life. Expedition screens show where battles are fought and feature some appealing artwork, but don’t expect them to bear any relation to the battles themselves. Battle screens seem to be completely random; you might be fighting in a castle even though the expedition screen shows your armies on a beach.
It doesn’t matter, though, as terrain has no effect on the outcome of a fight. Neither does player strategy, skill, formation (at least not in early levels), or training. Nor do you get to control any aspect of the war once it’s started, aside from deciding whether you want to see the three or four battle animations quickly or slowly. You can buy upgrades from the weapon shop, but that’s about it. Any of the special moves or hero capabilities are just window dressing that doesn’t affect gameplay in the slightest.
Free to Play?
Ostensibly, Batheo’s free to play, and Clapalong does indeed give new players a satisfying taste of the game for free. Unfortunately, that taste is pretty bland. You’ll be able to get to level 10 or so before you notice the increasing waits to upgrade buildings, heal your troops’ “divinity” (a non-sequitur of a term for battle fatigue), and levy taxes on your villagers. You can speed the process up using gold, but gold costs real cash; once your initial 200 gold is gone, you’ll be stuck paying for more or waiting for hours to do anything in the game.
If you’re willing to look at playing Batheo like watering a cactus–something you do every few days or so–there might be a passable browser-based RTS game hiding under the game’s warty surface. A few days or weeks down the road, you would get to explore the purpose of granaries, the excitement of PVP farm takeovers and guild wars, and the effects of a greater range of battle formations. But it won’t happen quickly, and most gamers will lose patience with Batheo well before they see these potentially interesting elements.
Play or Pass?
Batheo gets an unexceptional 2 out of 5 because it isn’t even bad enough to get an exceptionally bad rating. It’s a pastiche of virtually every other free-to-play RTS MMO with a thin veneer of mythology applied to hide the rough spots. It’s hard to tell who Batheo’s target audience is, as history buffs will find the mythological mash-ups painful and RTS gamers will be unsatisfied with the static and lifeless gameplay.
If you’re looking for a good browser-based RTS game or a thoughtful send-up of ancient settings, look elsewhere. If you just want something to do for an hour or so while waiting for a more interesting game to download, Batheo might be to your taste.Batheo MMORTS review,