Click on pic for YouTube Beta Video from 2019.
IRON HARVEST is a classic real-time strategy game with an epic single player campaign, multiplayer & coop, set in the alternate reality of 1920+
Developed by KING ART Published by DEEP SILVER
Iron Harvest is a real-time strategy game (RTS) set in the alternate reality of 1920+, just after the end of the Great War. The Game lets you control giant dieselpunk mechs, combining epic singleplayer and coop campaigns as well as skirmishes with intense action on the battlefield for multiplayer fans, Iron Harvest is the classic real-time strategy games fans have been waiting for.
Tradition clashes with scientific and technological progress, while Europe is still recovering from the brutal battles of the World War. Cities are being rebuilt and in the countryside, the era of the Iron Harvest has begun. Farmers are uncovering the remains of the majestic walking machines that had fought on the battlefields of the Great War.
In the midst of this chaos, a new threat appears that will put Europe’s very existence at risk. Secret forces are putting everything they can towards destabilization of entire countries, determined to set the world on fire once again and finally seize control.
I am playing (yes, still playing) this game on my PC through the STEAM media. I have it as an unfinished copy as it is due out in September of this year (2020).
I am playing it (yes, I am still playing it) on its Solo campaign setting, although there are Multi-player, Skirmish and Challenge possibilities in which other players participate.
The Skirmish and Challenge modes come under the Missions heading, Multiplayer games give Rankings, a Leaderboard and Quick Match possibilities. The Solo game is the only option under the Campaign banner heading.
Visually this game is a gem. There are standard adventure game terrain and backgrounds on which the action takes place, characters being moved around by selection using the LMB and motioned onward by the RMB. A choice of icons allows for other actions, these icons being reasonably good visibly but also have a letter next to them which lets you choose them by a Key on the keyboard. Whilst I find the Press of a Key the best way to select the action icon, I still find the committing of that action to be sometimes cumbersome. I'll get to that in a minute.
The game begins with children throwing snowballs at each other, mainly 4 or 5 of them picking on a small red-haired young girl until her slightly older brother steps in to even the sides. You begin playing as that young girl, Anna Kos, and soon the scene shifts to you, with a hunting rifle, out with your brother after a stag. The plan is that you hide in some bushes and shoot the deer as it comes past, your brother running around chasing it until it passes your hiding place. Hiding in the bushes was easy, having the brother chase the stag around was easy, but getting Anna's rifle to shoot at exactly the right moment took me ages to perform accurately.
Once the stag is down her brother sets about skinning it, or cutting it up for meat. Suddenly a large bear appears - probably drawn by the smell of fresh blood - and leaps towards the young man. A shot rings out, but it isn't from Anna's rifle, and the bear falls dead just short of the stag and Janek. The siblings look round and see an old friend in a Mech Walker. He tells Janek that he has signed up and that Janek should do so also. They ride off, Janek now on the Mech, leaving Anna looking at the bloody snow, a second Mech having picked up the large bear. As she stares at the remains of the stag and the blood of the bear something moves from below a large rock. A baby (teddy) bear looking so sad and upset and alone looks longingly at it's mothers blood and then tearfully at Anna,
Forward a number of years and Anna has joined the Polanian Resistance against the armies of the Rusviets and the Saxonians. She is on the road with her grandfather when a messenger runs up and calls him back to the village. He tells her (ie 'you') to continue on the journey and not to go to see Wojtek en route. You look at the map and see three small white squares of which one is blinking. This is the camp towards which you were heading with your grandfather, the southern one is the village where your grandparent is on his way to and the third is the road to see Wojtek - your choice where to go. Naturally I went to see Wojtek in his cave and then together we set off for the camp, though things didn't work out as planned.
The story is as old as the hills. It reminded me of several nameless western TV shows plots and war time stories I watched and read as I grew up. It was obvious Anna wasn't going to leave the baby bear alone to survive and it was also obvious that she and the bear would grow an affinity between them and look after each other - it's quite a lot of fun having a bear you can semi-control whilst you stand around shooting at enemy soldiers.
The Bear and Anna, and anyone else you meet up with as a character, can be moved separately or together or in any sets that suit you, just 'draw' a box around them and then send them off to where you want them to go. The bear can be let to protect Anna, which it will do automatically or you can aim it at a specific target and let it go do your bidding.
Every so often you will hear the alarm raised that you have been spotted. This means there are enemy soldiers close by. If you are quick enough to react you may be able to hide in a bush, behind a wall or tree etc, though the bear is not so good at hiding and often gives you away. As you move, any previously undiscovered land (in shadow) opens into the light and then remains so if you move away and then return the land is still out of the shadows. The two screenshots immediately above this text show a minor inconvenience I came across, but couldn't achieve access to the 'Bug' form. On the left (as you view) there I am on the road in the sunlight. On the right (as viewed) there is a dark shaded area of road, just a few steps south from where you see me (and Wojtek) on the left. No matter how many times I clicked on this area neither Anna nor the bear would move towards and into it. I nearly gave up but instead I set off back towards the Mining Camp I was originally meant to go to.
On the way I encountered a large group of enemy soldiers. Wojtek and I managed to kill them all but at a heavy cost to my health, and the Red Cross healing box I had found earlier was out of reach. The enemy units often left a weapon to be collected, but no matter how many buttons and mouse clicks I aimed at the visibly 'floating' weapon (it looked like a shotgun) I could not drop the Hunting Rifle and pick up a new gun.
The village square on the map was now flashing and so I turned around and headed back, this time the shaded end of the road was open to me. What I had done to flick the trigger that allowed me to go on I don't know or understand. Then another unit of enemy soldiers turned up and I discovered that Anna could target for herself, after having her rifle aimed towards the group, and that at certain times she would auto-fire, other times I needed to do the firing myself, using the mouse buttons. Needless to say, with no help other than my pet bear, and virtually no life-line left above my head, I quickly died; actually it wasn't that quick, the last man in the enemy group and I shot each other as our last worldly act, both killing each other.
Okay so that's about as far as I have managed to get. It took me many hours because of the time lost learning how to shoot the stag, learning how to fight alongside the bear, learning that there was either a bug in the system or that things had to be done in a certain order to ensure roads etc were open for investigation. A lot of that time was spent in frustration but the majority of it was spent enjoying the way the game melded together with the story and the action. Despite that frustration and possible trigger-bug, and of course dying (this is a major pain as I hadn't saved the game to the point before I died and thus I have to go through it all again) I am enamoured with this adventure. Anna is a feisty young girl, ballsy, a bit reckless, but great to play. I wouldn't say that I role-played her, but the intelligence the game gave her made it a pleasure to control her actions.
A question I am sure will have cropped up in your thoughts as you read the above is "Will I continue to play this game?" and without a doubt my answer is a most positive and emphatic "Yes". Most likely when I have finished writing this report on my play to date.
As a review I can say that the characters are well rounded, the game is excellent visually, it has a good cat and mouse feel to it at times, and at other times it becomes a straight-forward fire-fight. You can hide successfully from the enemy if you are careful, and let them pass by without incident. There are not lots of Health or Ammo/Weapon stashes all over the place, in fact those I have found have been in reasonably sensible situations - weapons dropped by armed units, Health packs are found close to Resistance owned/occupied buildings. There some things that are a bit dissatisfying, such as no footprints in the snow, bodies that dissipate into thin air etc.
I cannot truly give an 'overall' statement as I have yet to finish playing - as you can see I have a long way to go - but I think, not just think, I am positive, that I have played far enough to be able to evaluate this game from a player's perspective. I haven't had an update (as far as I know there has been no automatic update) so hopefully the small infractions I found have been corrected; I surely wasn't the only Alpha/Beta player to have come across them, plus they were only minor, so small that I only mentioned the one. In fairness to the game's designer, the programmers, the publishers I will state openly that I really do like IRON HARVEST.