Empyre: Dukes of the Far Frontier is going to appeal to a very specific person. That person is someone who loves Steampunk and Western mashups, along with Isometric RPG’s that are very flawed. I wanted to like this game, but unfortunately, the dev made that impossible.
Everything starts off promising, with a slick animated intro and professional-sounding narrator laying the breadcrumbs of a backstory for you. (Apparently there’s floods and deadly plants destroying the US, so some people moved into the desert.) You’re then dropped into a pretty in-depth character creation screen that’s remarkably reminiscent of Fallout 1 or 2. You even have to pick a negative perk, which is an interesting option. Unfortunately, the game falls into that trap of forcing you to make decisions on character building without giving you enough information. I could easily see a bad build leading to problems and frustration for a lot of players.
What I didn’t see coming was how downright fugly this game is. It’s BUDGET, in all caps. Animations are stilted and awkward, and the game runs slow as molasses. It’s not an exaggeration to say this thing looks like a game made in 2005. And when I say it runs slow, I mean AT ALL TIMES. Everything moves at a snail’s pace. Combat is similarly a nightmare. It’s real time with pause, for some unknown reason, and whether you’re trying to play in real time, or consciously pausing at every important step, the game struggles to do what you tell it to do. This game really should have been turn-based for combat.
When combat ends (sometimes while enemies are still around, but somehow can’t see you even when they literally watched you walk around a corner) the game stutters to put you back into the regular free roam mode. Literally everything you do causes the game to either freeze, stutter, crash, or slooooooowly resume. Get spotted, however, and you’re back in combat, sometimes with enemies seeming to pop out of nowhere. Quests and important NPC’s are also not signposted well at all, and with a glacial pace, navigating yourself through the narrow streets and corridors of this butt-ugly universe becomes a punishment in and of itself. Everything about this game is sub-optimal, save for the introduction.
I’m trying not to be overly harsh here, but it’s genuinely impossible, especially when I see that $20 USD price tag. They made an effort, and I think they’re trying to put a good game out, but either what they want is beyond the scope of their abilities, or someone said, “Ah screw it. It’s as good as it’s gonna get.” To be very honest, I would struggle to recommend this game at a $10 price point. I can’t even consider recommending it for $20. There’s just too much wrong with it, and there’s minimal fun to be had. Look elsewhere for your strategy and steampunk fix.
To purchase Empyre: Dukes of the Far Frontier, CLICK HERE.
The Chuck is a lifelong gamer who was born in Ohio, but now lives in much closer proximity to Mickey Mouse.
The Chuck has found his life to be a series of improbable and almost unbelievable events, starting when he was twenty and caught the bubonic plague from a prairie dog. He was as surprised as anyone when he found out that's something that can happen.
When he isn't gaming, The Chuck can be found enjoying baseball, (American) football, pro wrestling, and horror movies. He is most commonly seen in the company of one or more cats.
Reclusive by nature, The Chuck is (like most semi-feral creatures) reward-driven. Approach with caution and some form of treat.