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On day one of the expo we checked out the line-up of one of Russias biggest video game developers and distributors, 1C Company. These are our impressions.
In Europe the name 1C Company isn’t of the most known. The company is residing in Moscow since 1991 and uses the brand SoftClub Company to publish translated version of half of all Western-developed video games. It is also contineously working on their own business software suite. Shortly it will expanded upon by a tax modul which will compete with German Buhl product WISO.
In Western territories 1C Company gained popularity through its video game development branch in Prague. In May we reviewed their Norwegian horror adventure Through the Woods and deemed it an entertaining horror short trip. 1C Company shows off half a dozen games on gamescom apart from the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Through the Woods. Here’s a short breakdown of some of them:
For roughly three years you can purchase IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad on the on the official website and on Steam. The game gets regular updates (a sheer 169 so far!) and at their booth we are able to play the next add-on after Battle of Moscow dubbed Battle of Kuban with Oculus Rift. Each mission can be played with a different aircraft. We start either from ground or right in the air. In the demonstration we start flying either way and the difficult task is to keep the vehicle in the air.
We take seat in the iconic British fighter Spitfire Mk.VB and in German double-motor bomber HS 129 B-2. While the first is meant for close-combat in dogfights, the latter is designed to take out targets on the ground such as artillery and in the B-2 we can freely switch between the view of pilot, gunner and bomber. Sympathetic Build Engineer Andrey Dineev explains that the team went into meticulous detail work to rebuild the old machines.
We controlled the two aircrafts with a joystick including throttle. Keeping the aircraft afloat is easier than we expected, considering we’re flying such a World War II plane with all of its peculiarities. You should avoid hectic directional changes or the Spitfire will spiral down in the Black Sea or Sea of Azov. Rather quickly we get a feel for the plane and chase down fighter pilots that only fly down a certain path. As newcomers that task is tough enough as it is but we are told that the difficulty can be freely depending on the players expertise. When we fly right behind an enemy aircraft we can shoot off individual parts of it or set them on fire. Unlike modern flight games like Ace Combat it is impossible to extinguish big fires. For these repairs or to restock ammunition you have to land on the base. Smaller fires can be extinguished by performing risky maneuvers.
There is nothing like sitting in this loud rickety old aircraft and having a look around in VR. As soon as the enemy damages our motor, there’s dirt sprayed all over our front window. Once we activate the advanced mode, we can have a look around outside of the aircraft. That is actually pretty unrealistic but helps you fly and let’s you check out the detailed airplane models. Environments are mostly blurry carpets of pixels on the ground of flight simulators but in this game they put some effort to make it a little more pleasing to fly just above the ground, especially the water looks better than anticipated. The most important thing is that the flight controls are – even as a bomber – tight and newb-friendly and even with hectic maneuvers we didn’t get sick. Experienced pilots can use a lot of the real-time cockpit calibrations.
The expansion Battle of Kuban offers a fresh campaign, the above mentions two planes (Premium Edition only!) aswell as eight addiitonal planes, a Quick Mission Builder, more single player missions, the multiplayer mode and player-controlled tanks. You can play your own scenarios off- and online. It isn’t clear if you can share them, but it would make sense. We couldn’t drive the tanks but 1C says the gameplay is similiar to World of Tanks.
If you own the base game you can enter the Beta branch via “Properties” in your Steam Library and jump right into the Hs 129 B-2 to fly over Kuban. You can purchase Battle of Kuban in its beta state on the official website priced at 70 US-Dollar and you get an additional code for Steam. The final version will launch until the end of the year. Enthusiasts look forward to the expansion and can already try out one of the new planes and the map for free.
1C Publishing Manager Jan Olejník describes Fall of Light as a mix of Dark Souls and ICO. There are worse inspirations than these games. We awake in a sinnister world and our daughter is the last beacon of light. To lift the curtain of eternal darkness from the world we have to reach an artefact. We journey hand-in-hand through graveyards and dark alleyways. While we have to physically hold Y to guide our daughter, we perform light and hard attacks with the shoulder buttons. Additionally we can lock onto enemies with a press into the stick – useful in this dark world as the enemy is marked by a red ring -, block enemy attacks with scattered shields and dodge hits. Our stamina is indicated by a white bar and you should keep an eye on it since you consume it every time you attack.
As in Dark Souls you can and should always keep the shield in front of you, if you equip a one-handed weapon. The lock-on doesn’t work ideal. Either the system chooses a distant enemy instead of the one attacking you at the moment or you fail to circle around the enemy is the combat intends. A Batman-style combat system could have lowered the difficulty that’s why the developer probably chose this one. We hope the actual game offers the player more of a feel for progression than the demo. There’ll be a total of six combat styles and seven weapon classes included.
The story is being told in scattered notes. So you can either rush through the game and take like five hours or you find every piece of info and listen to every character and take almost double of the time. The ending could also differ depending on how thoroughly you explore the atmospheric game world. There’ll also be boss fights and NPCs (non-player-characters) that are either friendly or indifferent towards the player.
Fall of Light is a game to keep an eye on. With some fine-tuning it could be a sleepter hit. We look forward to check it out in the end of September exclusively on the PC.
Haimrik, who lends the game its title, awakes in a typical fantasy world full of dragons and sorcery. Instead of joining a group of hobbits or dwarves, he brings words to life to fight elite generals called the Word Warriors. Not the freshest of ideas, since a certain game of SEGA or Epistory had a similiar approach, you say? The gameplay of Haimrik differs wildly from the named games since you don’t actually type in the words. The story is incorporated in the game world and you interact with singular words. In the demo we spawn a torch, some gunpowder and a barrel to create TNT and blow up the enemies that previously barricaded our progress.
Not only the gameplay is refreshing, the art style is also something noteworthy. Landscapes might be displayed in the same color but effects are displayed in a colorful manner. While characters have a certain funny feel to them, the game can also be pretty bloody. All of that turns Haimrik into a playable mature comic.
The first book is released in the end of September on PC. All the additional chapters will be added on later free of charge, like Daeadalic did with Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the World.