The best strategy games have a long and storied history of hero units, there to turn the tide of battle when all seems lost. We all have our tales of Tanya in Command & Conquer, swimming up to enemy gunships and downing them with C4, or summoning the Archmage in Warcraft 3 to blow an orc horde away with a blizzard.
Now, new survival strategy game Age of Darkness introduces the first of its hero units, with whom you’ll get to forge new tales of battlefield heroism and tactical brilliance.
Meet Edwin, Wielder of the Flame. A veteran in fighting against the encroaching darkness known as the Veil, Edwin is a melee warrior and master of the Zweihander, capable of cleaving out breathing room for your frontline troops.
Something you’ll learn quickly in Age of Darkness is that the darkness is deadly, but also that its weakness is that age-old classic: light.
No one understands this better than Edwin, who has learned to weave fire into his combat with an impressive arsenal of abilities.Use Enflame to set Edwin’s sword ablaze, sending your spectral foes skyward in wisps of blue steam.
Beyond the heroes, you will be using archers and soldiers to keep the Veil at bay (with more unit types coming later). Each of these brave troops has their own name, and as they gain experience you’ll be able to hone their craft through an elaborate skill tree.
As units level up, they can become ‘Emboldened’, which increases the damage they dish out to the relentless swarm. It also increases their resistance to Horror - an affliction that slows down your movement and health regeneration.
When night falls, the further you explore away from the warm fires and glowing hearths of your settlement, the more fearsome enemies become. The basic-level Nightmares may be expendable, but can overwhelm you with sheer numbers that often go well into the thousands.
Deeper in the nocturnal wilderness, enemies grow more varied, and you may even find yourself facing off against Elite Nightmares, who will put your toughest units to the deadliest of tests. Defeat one of these, and you can take their essence, returning to your town a hero.
As Age of Darkness marches through Early Access, more heroes will rise up and become available for you to play, catering to different playstyles - from hard-pushing zergers who want to mix it up with the enemy, to cerebral economy-builders who like to watch the enemy decimate itself on their stalwart defences and traps.
Age of Darkness has now begun its journey in Steam Early Access. Will you answer the call?