Thinking ahead will beat fast fingers in this large-scale RTS.
Ashes of the Singularity is one of those games that comes along every few years and slaps us in the face to remind us what the word “strategy” means. The likes of StarCraft 2, Grey Goo, and even Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak are rendered little more than tactical skirmishes by its grand scope, healthy disdain for fast-fingered micromanagement, and strong emphasis on high-level thinking. It’s a refreshing approach, considering this type of RTS hasn’t been attempted with much success since Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. Ashes doesn’t quite pack the punch of Gas Powered’s nearly decade-old masterpiece, but it does hit the mark in several of the same places.

Someone who only played the disappointingly short single-player campaign would likely have a negatively skewed idea of the abundant strategic depth hiding in the other modes. Across eight main missions and three optional ones, the campaign introduces you to a future where the Post-Human Coalition (cybernetically-enhanced superdudes) send their remote-controlled robot armies out to do battle with the shinier, more-organic-looking-but-still-robot armies loyal to a mysterious, aggressive AI called The Substrate. The characters are as flat and flavorless as they sound, the story is about as minimal and straightforward as those in Ye Olde Games of Yore, and up until the last couple, the main missions feel more like an extended tutorial than a set of interesting challenges.
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