Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access – Got A Light?

Think you're good at RTS titles and fellow gamers deem you the Immovable Mountain? Think again in Age of Darkness Final Stand as to say you're outnumbered IS an understatement...

Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access has instantly become my favourite RTS. I just wish it wasn’t in Early Access as there’s so much more in store, and I want it NOW. What’s so good about PlaySide and Team17’s new title?

First off, it’s the idea. A simple one, but great, nonetheless. You’re the commander of humanity’s last bastion against hordes of Nightmares (I totally took that from Steam). That translates to ‘you have to build a heavily fortified base and survive as many sieges as possible’.

Death is inevitable, and even if you set the difficulty to easy, it’s still bloody hard. But it’s rewarding hard, and even though you invest your time in Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access, only to have 10,000s of enemies attack your keep and forcing you to restart, you dust yourself off, swallow your pride and get back on that horse called ‘Lost Cause’.

Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access

Not having a chance in hell sounds like a no-brainer: what’s the point? But that’s the appeal of the game as you think you’ve perfected your defences and can hold back anything. Sometimes your troops are overpowered in comparison to your opponents, but those numbers are overwhelming.

Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access - Here they come
Here they come. Source: Steam

Let’s jump to the basics. You start with a keep – your HQ where you create all your structures, earn money and ultimately must defend. There are no backups. Next, you need lumber and stone, dwellings for your people, and an adequate amount of food. Finally, your units need to defend your base and explore the wilderness to cull the threat.

Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access has the options to upgrade structures; improving the strength of your defences, research new tech, and invest in skill trees for your melee, ranged, and siege abilities. Note that resources are relatively scarce, and you need to place structures closer to areas where they can be sourced rather than attempting to build a symmetrical base. There’s no time for Feng Shui.

Time Is Of The Essence

The Nightmares thrive in the darkness, growing stronger in power and numbers and more likely to attack your base. That doesn’t mean that the day cycle is safe as they still roam the lands. It’s wise to explore whenever you can to locate points of interest, often packed full of resources or enemy crystals that can be destroyed to counter the debuffs they project.

But this is where you have to weigh up where to focus your forces as there are not enough materials to build an army for your base and a separate scout party. In this case, we need a hero, and fortunately, you have one.

There’s only one hero at the moment in Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access, and that’s Edwin. He’s pretty cool, though, specialising in melee, and he’s got a flame sword and one eye like that chap Beric Dondarrion in Game of Thrones. They’ll be able to regenerate health (your troops, too, if you unlock the skill), plus they gain XP through each kill). They can die in combat but will respawn after a cooldown or revived if you have the currency required. This is usually earned through points of interest and beating enemy Elites.

Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access - The elite
The elite. Source: Steam

This Place Is Heaving!

What makes this game unique is SwarmTech. Boasting up to 70,000 enemies on screen at one time, to say ‘overwhelming’ is a massive understatement. While I never added them up (there’s a counter that shows how many are left during a siege), they only got up to the 100s, and that was tough in itself. The best that I got to, at the time of writing, was ten nights.

As an old school RTS fan – Dune 2Command & ConquerStarcraft II – stuff like that, I was in heaven (or hell). The controls and hotkeys are similar where you can create individual groups and explore the map with blind spots until to explore. My favourite thing about these games is establishing an enviable defence, critical in Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access.

You’ll have the option of building walls, arrow towers, ballista towers and gates that allow melee troops to come and go as they please, plus upgrade options to reinforce their durability and how many archers can be stationed. There’s also the option to ignite the walls in a siege, fighting back these hordes. Fire plays a big part in this game.

Light It Up

One of the trailers depicts this perfectly when you see when the Nightmares raid and the walls ignite like flammable dominos. It’s worth noting its significance here as it also protects your people from losing it.

Age Of Darkness Final Stand coming to Early Access
Source: Steam

No matter how much of the land you uncover, when the fog appears, it’ll engulf everything except your base, and you have no idea how many Nightmares are en route. In terms of gameplay, these enemies bring a horror that freaks your people out. Other than nuking your defences, you can light beacons to prevent this in the hope that you can maintain your lines to at least soften the onslaught just slightly. Pending you invest in the upgrades, have enough resources, and place your hero in a convenient place (i.e. take on as many as possible).

It feels like there’s no hope with Age Of Darkness Final Stand Early Access, but I can’t give it enough praise if you enjoy RTS titles – more specifically, the C&C games. Just don’t go expecting Devastator tanks or commandos – you’ll be grateful if you can muster up a stick to keep the fiends back.

Age Of Darkness Final Stand is in Early Access on Steam right now and gets a big thumbs up from moi.