"This Tryst Won't Be So Memorable"
Recently, I was able to sit down with a copy of BlueGiant Interactive's Tryst. Before I reviewed it, I confess, I'd heard very little of the title, but what I did hear rather intrigued me. A real time strategy game at its core, Tryst differentiated itself from other titles on the market with a rather unique mechanic: every unit in your army can be equipped with different, upgradeable loadouts, and each unit has a host of unique abilities with which it can be upgraded. These loadouts can be changed on the fly.
It's an RPG-esque system known as the Augmented Research Mechanism, or A.R.M. for short.
It's a unique addition to the game, and it adds a new, unique layer of complexity to the game. While it would be incredibly easy for such a complicated mechanic to bog down combat and slow gameplay to a crawl, it doesn't (though it can get a little overwhelming, at times). The game's incredibly fast-paced, and battles are often quick and dirty. While it's certainly possible to wind up with one of the long, drawn-out wars of attrition so common in other strategy games, it's much more difficult.
The concept behind Tryst is a very interesting one. Where it fails, however, is in its execution. My first, most obvious gripe with Tryst is the sound design. Specifically, I'm talking about the voice acting. Straight from the beginning of the game, you're subjected to the painfully forced Russian accent of Oliver (the game's main protagonist) and those of the mercenaries which accompany him. None of the acting is particulary stellar, and most of it is irritating, but not bad enough to be entertaining. Some of it - such as Aeryn's - actually borders on offensive.
Tryst's music is nothing special, either. After playing it, I can't, for the life of me, remember a single tune from Tryst. By contrast, I can actually call to memory several songs from Starcraft, and I've not played that game for years.
The graphics, too (which, admittedly, might look rather beautiful otherwise), are muddy, even on the highest setting. As a result, it often becomes difficult to tell the difference between the various human infantry units, and even a few of the Zali units look similar in the heat of battle. Couple this with a few baffling design decisions (you can't actually glean any information by mousing over a unit; you have to click on it to know what it is), and you've got yourself a sure-fire recipe for frustration.
Furthermore, I'm not certain if it was just the system I played it on (my PC more than meets the recommended specifications for the game), but I experienced a number of stutters, slowdowns, and outright crashes. The sound, too, was spotty, with the beginning and end of unit phrases occasionally being cut off.
As a result, Tryst ends up being slightly enjoyable in spite of how it's designed, not because of it.
Those of you who play titles for the story are going to be somewhat disappointed. The campaign is pretty standard space-opera fare, and it's not particularly well written. There's really nothing about any of the characters to differentiate them from flat cliches, and the story never really branches off from the straight path it starts on. The war between the humans and the robotic Zali seems like little other than an excuse to have aliens and humans duke it out (and it's never really explored in any serious depth), and it's particularly easy to predict the few "twists and turns" of the rather short experience.
That's not the only issue with Tryst's campaign, either. There are a number of unskippable voiced cutscenes, the map interface is anything but stellar, and several keys are mapped in a fashion that will confuse most genre veterans.
The one thing that did impress me about the campaign was the fact that most missions have multiple branching paths from start to finish, with each choice having an impact on how the mission plays out (such as choosing to rescue a band of rebels, or leaving them to their deaths to wait for the cavalry to arrive).
Ultimately, while Tryst brings a number of impressive concepts to the table, it completely bungles them in the execution. The sub-par sound design, fuzzy graphics, and baffling interface serve to bring down what might otherwise be a particularly entertaining experience. That's not to say Tryst is a bad game; it's not. It's simply... forgettable.
GameDynamo's Score for Tryst (PC)
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A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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