Incoming Forces (2002) is a sequel to the 1998 action-arcade game 'Incoming' from Rage Games. Although it could be said this game is not a direct sequel, it does make references to the first game in the small amounts of ingame dialogue. In this game instead of fighting off an alien invasion, you yourself are an alien fighting off a human lead invasion of your home planets. It isn't entirely clear how much time in-universe has passed since the first game, but it must be a fair amount of time given the leaps in technology that have been made by Earth. This kinda reminds of the sequel to independence day in that regard. Some serious leaps in tech have been made, is it believable? Possibly, given that all of the alien technology in the first game would've likely been reverse engineered. But to be honest, this game doesn't give that much thought to technology and science - it still is an arcade-shooter at its core, despite having a story sprinkled on top this time around.
OK, so let me first address some of the issues with this game. The game itself installs and runs perfectly fine on Linux, and GOG seem to have added some decent widescreen support. Not sure why Incoming (1998) didn't also get this treatment? Anyway, the biggest problem with this game is the TERRIBLE handling of the ground units. Seriously, in the first game controlling units was already quite difficult, but somehow they MADE IT WORSE? The aerial combat is actually quite enjoyable, it's relatively easy to get used to - but the tanks and hovercraft are seriously broken. It's not that the control scheme is a problem, it's just the physics are seriously broken. How did this pass QA? Controlling ground units is like being drunk while driving a speedboat on an ice rink. Way too much inertia, terrible turn rates, terrible collision detection and if you encounter the slightest hill, good luck getting over it without flipping the vehicle like a garbage fly on its last legs. Every time I was forced into a ground unit, I sighed and gritted my teeth, hoping this wouldn't be a long segment before getting back into a fighter.
While playing this game, I couldn't help but notice the Freespace-like elements that had been inserted into the game. Firstly the introduction of wingmen with a very similar set of commands. Although to be honest, I didn't really notice the AI doing much even after I ordered them to do something. I think they kind of treated it like a 'suggestion' at that point. Oh, you want us to attack some ground units? Hmm we'll think about it - maybe we will take a few shots at some targets then fly off somewhere else, then we'll just spend the rest of the fight hugging your butt. Secondly there was the escort missions. The first game DID have escort jobs, but this had WAY more. And thirdly? Sometimes it even felt like I was fighting against Shivan fighters when shooting down the human craft - they have a kind of red hue to them, with orange thrusters and red lasers. Very Shivany, if you ask me. I guess it's possible the designers played Freespace and decided to pay homage.
Overall, this game wasn't too bad - once I added my own music to it. The ground combat was a joke, but the fighter combat was enjoyable enough. I would say it didn't quite have the same 'Oomph' as the first game, but I think that is largely down to the sound effects lacking creativity. They feel like bargain basement sound effects, and it just didn't work for me. But with a few tweaks to the sounds, it'd probably have more of a kick to it. The music in this game is dreadful, so bad in fact, that I just couldn't play the game with that music - so I swapped it out for my own! It was created by SpaceX (Jon Hallur) for EVE Online. Some of you might recognize it. You know, I am SO glad I swapped out the music, because it goes PERFECTLY with this game and vastly improved the experience. What on EARTH were they thinking when doing the music for this game? The music DOES NOT FIT this game AT ALL! It'd more suitable in a JRPG or something like that.
Oh, the voice acting in this game is hilarious.
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