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May 31, 2017

First Strike: Final Hour Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $11.99
We Recommend: $9.59
  • Developer: Blindflug Studios AG
  • Publisher: Blindflug Studios AG
  • Genre: Action, Indie, Strategy
  • Released: May 31, 2017
  • Platform: Windows
  • Reviewed: Windows

Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers” comes to mind when playing this. Even though there’s no discernible era, the game calls upon the Cold War when it was really heating up between the United States and then U.S.S.R. First Strike was originally a mobile and tablet game from Blindflug Studios that took an interesting approach to an apocalyptic real-time strategy not seen since Plague Inc. Now on PC known as First Strike: Final Hour, is the enhanced game in high-definition textures and allows you to play with a keyboard and mouse.

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In First Strike: Final Hour asks you to take charge of one of a total 12 super-powered nations, much like 2006’s DEFCON from Introversion Software meets Plague Inc. The goal is to build up your arsenal of super-weapons, both offensive and defensive, and to do so before anyone of your enemies. You will also need to expand your reach by taking over other territories, and researching new technologies to be superior to the countries you’re going up against. First Strike: Final Hour is a real-time strategy game, one that’s fast paced as each game can take thirty to sixty minutes to complete. The number of AI you can go up against is as few as 2, up to 11 of them.

Understanding First Strike: Final Hour is seemingly easy. The game is played from a macro level, which is opposite than other RTS games that go for the micro. To justify this sentiment, the game lets you view the planet from afar, in space. You can be diplomatic from other countries to keep them in check, and work to take down other countries. When things pop off, you can watch the trajectories, and shoot them out of the sky if you have the proper defenses to do so. If things move too slowly, you can fast forward time to get past research time, or expanding your hold on the world. Even with the enhanced control scheme the PC version provides, it is really hard to keep up the frantic-ism that the game has.

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The research tree is extensive, and the aforementioned Plague, Inc. comes into play when you see that here. You can build twelve technologically advanced rockets, from cruise missiles to ICBM’s, or even the TSAR and Damascus Rocket. You pick two super-weapons at the start, but to be able to get to them requires more work. The first strike is an all-out attack that sends the message that you mean business, but by doing so this begins the war.

The game lets you save whenever you want, and can resume as desired. Blindflug Studios states that they re-worked all the textures were reworked to be in high resolution. They’ve added night lights, new bump maps, HD options, and even star constellations just for the PC version. That’s a lot more work than most studios do when bringing their game from mobile to PC.

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First Strike: Final Hour may have its origins steeped in mobile games, but its PC port is incredibly satisfying to watch and play. There’s something gripping by watching all of this from afar as there’s a “scorched Earth” scenario that plays out before you. And it teaches you that, even if you win, there are no real winners. That said, First Strike: Final Hour is a gripping RTS that doesn’t feel like a traditional RTS and doesn’t waste your time. Being able to spend as little or as much time with the game as you desire is the key to the fun.

A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes