It’s been a while since VRFocus last got its hands on a decent tabletop real-time strategy (RTS) title that was worth shouting about. Brass Tactics by Hidden Path Entertainment in early 2018 was the previous notable title in that genre and now it looks like there’s a new challenger in town, Phaser Lock Interactive’s Final Assault.
The team previously released Final Approach back in 2016 which offered a unique take on airport management by allowing players to actually grab the planes, controlling their flight path and guiding them into land. So they’ve taken that concept and applied it to the war-torn battlefields of WWII, adding a far greater hands-on approach to RTS battles than VRFocus has encountered before.
Final Assault is all about getting into the thick of it, being on the frontline as you move tanks into position, roll artillery onto prime covering locations to bombard the enemy and keep planes whizzing around overhead to protect the skies. There can be a lot going on at points but it never feels too overwhelming and looks awesome once you’ve got a load of troops engaged in some warfare.
Each battle tends to revolve around one key objective, destroy your opponent’s base. Yet that single goal is surrounded by a wealth of options allowing you to cater each battle to make it different. Want to get a feel for a map, or one of the military divisions, then dive into single-player and have a practice, changing difficulties or swapping opponents to your heart’s content. Or for a proper challenge then it has to be multiplayer, with the same selection of divisions and maps, just with a trickier opponent.
In single-player there are three modes as such, the ‘singleplayer’ which gives you the wide choice when it comes to gameplay setup, the campaign – which currently offers one division, more will be added – or Skirmish which has two further options, start on the back foot with an enemy controlled battlefield or a map which is 50/50 controlled between you and the enemy.
Playing Final Assault is almost like being a big kid with a load of those plastic toy soldiers. The play space is laid out in front and it’s time to go to war. It’s quick and easy to pick up troops – once you’ve enough cash – and drop them into the fight, either to protect or take a particular position. Your main base constantly produces a few ground troops which will run towards your enemy’s base along a maps predesignated green routes. While these can’t be stopped the vehicles that you do build can also follow these same routes if you so wish, continually hammering the enemy.
Gameplay is further diversified by the military division you select ahead of battle, with each general offering their own speciality when it comes to warfare. Do you prefer an aerial advantage, to have the biggest most dangerous tank, or how about a destructive super weapon for total annihilation?
Final Assault is RTS-style tabletop gaming at its best. There are options galore whether you prefer single-player or multiplayer gaming, and easy to pick up controls with deep enough strategy to hook most players. And it’s still in Early Access so VRFocus can’t even give it a score at the moment because it’s not finished, there’s more to come. Phaser Lock Interactive should have a sure-fire hit on their hands.