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[Too long for GOG's reviews, so I'll leave it here.]

Uprising is great.

It was one of the first modern hybrid RTS/FPS games (released shortly before Battlezone -- to which it is sometimes compared, but in reality the two games are extremely different, despite having futuristic hovertanks in common).

Graphically it was pretty decent at the time, although the draw distance is particularly poor (I got used to it after a few missions, but still... if there was one thing that I could somehow universally improve with the majority of older 3D games, it's the awful draw distance). The options screen lets you adjust it, but the maximum level is just not very large (the minimum being a complete joke!).

Uprising plays quite differently to Battlezone or other RTSs, and so there's a definite learning curve during which you will often get your newbie commander butt handed to you on a plate :) (and some of the missions are kinda vicious, regardless). There's quite a lot to take in from in the interface and manual, but once you have a handle on how to play it, and all the facilities at your disposal, you can really appreciate it.

One of the biggest things to get used to is that you can't actually direct existing units to move around the map (which sounds mightily weird for a RTS). Instead you teleport them in ('gate' in the game's vernacular) to attack a particular target, whereupon their A.I. does the rest. You can 'reabsorb' them if they're left standing useless at the end of a battle so as to regain a little energy back (that being the sole resource of the game), but there's no sending them elsewhere. The number of units you can gate in at any time depends on the number of production facilities you have. You can't sit around generating a huge horde of units and then rush the enemy with them; if you you have three tank factories, then you can only gate in three tanks at any one moment (and then another three as soon as the next set are built). You can pile up units at a base for defensive purposes, although there is also a restriction on the maximum number of any given unit type in an area, so you can't create a really overwhelming force.

You personally control a unique 'Wraith' tank which is the most mobile thing in the game, so you scoot around the map setting up bases (such that you will have supporting units to call on), and then assault the enemy positions, teleporting your units in as required. Units can only teleport within a certain range of either you or one of your bases, so the game mechanics actually force you to be at the front lines, helming the assaults -- and with all the chatter from your units, fighters screaming overhead (or spiraling earthwards after taking hits from the ack-ack), the big Citadel gun pounding away, and you hitting anything and everything in your Wraith, you definitely feel like you're in a battle :)

The key to any base you build is the 'Citadel', which powers and protects the other buildings, and sports a massive cannon which can lay waste to most anything. You'll often see it hammering away at incoming aircraft during an assault. One of the things I like most about the game is the ability to, at the press of a button, take first-person control of any of your Citadels, which enables you to do everything you can do with your Wraith (fire its weapons and command your units). So if you're half way across the map and one of your bases is attacked, you can instantly take command of its citadel to control your defence operation. Of course, your Wraith might be destroyed while you are 'away', if you don't pay attention...

If a Citadel is destroyed you also lose your local gun turrets and SAMs (maximum of three per Citadel), and the other buildings at the base also become highly vulnerable to enemy weapons. Normally you require troops (with their satchel charge explosives) or bombers to take out a building (or else the awesome KSAT orbital beam!), but without a Citadel pretty much anything will do the damage. As such, any assault tends to focus on destroying the enemy Citadel first and foremost, and then annihilating the remaining defensive units and other buildings in a frenzied demonstration of firepower :)

Bases can be constructed only on pre-defined locations on each map, with a limited number of building positions available at each one. So although you have access to troop, tank, fighter, and bomber generators, you might only be able to have a couple up and running at first. The more bases you possess, the more power you can generate and the more units you'll have available to you (and the less your opposition will have available to them). As such, the missions are generally about grabbing territory. Typically you will start with one or more obvious bases, and the Imperium will likely do the same. In between there may well be a number of unoccupied bases, and grabbing them before the Imperium can get to them will be a considerable bonus. The fights for those middle-ground bases can be quite intense, and there are few sweeter sights in the game than encountering an enemy Citadel that has not yet come online (and hence is defenseless to all your weaponry, allowing you to wipe it out on the spot and set up your own in its place :)

Sometimes the battle is won or lost within the first few minutes of play due to the success or failure of those early grabs for territory, even if it takes much much longer to play it all out. If you can expand your territory rapidly without overextending your defenses, you will likely succeed.

There are also a few special missions that play out quite differently to the rest due to extra constraints placed upon you, which is nice for mixing things up a bit.

There is some decent strategy involved in deciding what to build, when and where to deploy them, and which targets to assign them to, but the game does lean a little more to the action side of things, and because you are not required to 'micromanage' your units the gameplay can become quite frantic, with lots of fast-paced FPS combat in your Wraith (sometimes attacking, sometimes just distracting attention away from your other units). You should certainly go into an assault with a plan (and the right units to back it up), but once the assault is underway you'll definitely need some nimble fingers. Or you can just gate in everything you have, and hope for the best :)

Each successful mission carries a monetary reward, enabling you to purchase permanent upgrades for your technology. It's your choice as to what to upgrade, though (so a little CRPG flavour into the mix as well), and all your units, weapons, and structures have upgrade paths, so you might have to decide whether it's more important to get better armoured tanks, a more rapid fire rate for your defensive SAMs, or add a new missile type to your Wraith. Admittedly by the end you probably have most things maxed out regardless, but it allows you to vary your overall strategy for the campaign. I think it's a mark of how well this works that after completing the campaign, I was immediately keen to try out a completely different strategy.

The campaign itself consists of fixed missions, but presented in a (limited) non-linear order. At any given time, you will have a choice of anywhere from two to seven missions, and you can invariably skip missions and still progress (which is a nice feature as some missions are pretty tough). The downside is losing the associated income; but if you can get a few more missions under your belt, you could always return to it with better equipment and hopefully grab the cash after all. I ignored three missions near the end and finished the campaign early, but as I lost the reward money from those three missions, I wasn't as well equipped in the end-game as I might have been.

If games like Battlezone, Hostile Waters, and the like are your cup of tea, you might well enjoy this one. It's hard to compare it directly to those -- hybrid games like these are rarely actually all that similar in gameplay, and I think this probably ranks third in that illustrious group -- but if the combination of fast-paced first-person action combined with strategic base management sounds good, you should take a good look at Uprising.
Post edited October 23, 2021 by Shadowcat