Holdfast: Nations At War is an incredible experience. The game mechanics are a bit awkward which will have most people pulling their hair out frequently. The surreal nature of the game is really endearing. Holdfast: Nations At War is an online multiplayer only game so you are simply thrust into the action without a welcome or guide. The initial selection of soldier class is rather overwhelming however just choose whichever takes your fancy and have fun seeing how you get on with it. The musician, marching band is awesome. I’ve never experienced a moment in a game whereby I am left speechless at the originality of adding something so obvious yet overlooked by every game before it.
Marching in formation is really awe inspiring. Players aren’t ordered to or placed in formation they simply take on the character and really take ownership of it themselves. I found myself on top of a hill whilst playing the bag-pipes to inspire the troops. It’s easy to feel all tough and clever when you have a hundred troops backing you up but when those numbers drop dramatically the feeling to retreat is difficult to dismiss so. In the end I was running back retreating to safety as a coward whilst holding on in position as long as I could.
Army Battlefield Gameplay
Enemy players are very cunning one at a time hiding amongst nearby bushes out of sight then stab with their swords as you approach unaware. Unfortunaley the combat is rather a miss than a hit. I assume the physical motion to attack is slow and sluggish for historic purposes and authenticity. Reloading is incredibly slow though its the accuracy of the shots which irritates me the most. The shoot reticle is rather huge compared to most action games so the odds of a successful shot are rather low. In my case I missed a lot. Sword combat is tedious as are the character movements and interaction with objects.
After playing and enjoying myself throughout my playthroughs I read some complaints via Steam reviews that the voice chat is irritating with people being obnoxious and loud. I never personally had that issue as with most online games other players are often that way so the first thing I did was mute the VOIP option. Thus removing any opportunity for anyone to ruin my experience. When playing alone amongst strangers the voice chat isn’t necessary as a text chat can be displayed on screen anyway.
Naval Battlefield Gameplay
The game is split into two sections both require dedicated servers to play. Clicking through to a server is the only way to launch sessions. It is evident that most players are opting to play on land rather than the naval battles. My land session had a full 150 players in-game. By comparison I was lucky to have more than 15 in the naval matches. In total though there aren’t many people playing at present. The dedicated servers are split between USA and Europe. After finding a full server there aren’t many others with more than 5 or 10 active players. So if you can’t get into one of the big sessions your going to find isolation in very small matches.
At the time of writing and playing the game for the first time a new major update had been released just a week earlier. For me this is how the game is I didn’t experience it prior. For reference these are the recent additions:
Prussia Released! For The King
Head into battle with the all-new Prussian faction as they are now available to play in Holdfast: Nations At War. Cheers, shouts, insults and a plethora of German voice acted orders, brand new uniforms for each and every class and most importantly, new fife and drum tunes to make your presence well known throughout your conquest.
This faction was voted in by the community with an overwhelming majority.
2 New Maps! Linburg & Black Forest
Strive for dominance over the fortified village in Linburg with plenty of possibilities for flanking manoeuvres or take the fight on the open plains in Black Forest.
Spawn Menu User Interface. Re-Designed
One of the first major improvements that players will immediately notice from the old user interface is that it, of course, looks significantly better! This new spawn menu user interface will also be used to provide players with more information on the class they are playing in a future update.
Game Engine Upgrade & Melee Combat
Holdfast: Nations At War is now running on the latest version of Unity 2017! Development on the upgrade has been one of the largest undertakings that the team has embarked on to date with a code base of over 150,000 lines of code receiving iterations to make this all possible.
The engine upgrade has been our sole and primary focus during the past month. “Why spend development time on such a time-consuming undertaking?”, you may ask. We have promised our community that we will improve upon melee combat during our Early Access release and this was a necessary stepping stone towards that.
New technologies in the upgraded game engine will allow us to further refine player movement and solve the discrepancies with ‘hitboxes’ – Development on this is currently ongoing and will continue to be given the highest of priorities. As soon as development on the player movement re-design is finalized, we’ll make it available on the BETA and work with our community to polish this mechanic.
Holdfast: Nations At War has been available since 2017 and currently still in Alpha state so it has a way to go before it works its way through the production phases to reach a full release. The early indicators are positive. The current action leaves a lot to be desired though the originality and immersion of historic battles is a truly rewarding experience.
Fascinated with gaming since the old cassette based computers. Custom-building and repairing computers for 20 years and have been creating websites for 5 years. I’ve been a geek way before it became fashionable. Video game collector and gamer. Mainly a PC gamer though do enjoy console exclusives. Created Zorf Gaming to share my passion for gaming. I’m the web-designer/developer, content creator, editor, video creator. In essence this is my passion and I like nothing more than to share it with you. Currently writing my first book ‘A Father’s Daughter’.