Despite being one of the more well received types of strategy games, tactical strategy is notoriously devoid of content. There is the popular XCOM series, and smaller titles like Phoenix Point. However, outside of a few changes, they are all similar to the original style. While not reinventing the wheel, Ram Pressure by QuadCom Interactive attempts to change that with albeit mixed results.
First off, it’s not uncommon to see Ram Pressure compared to the popular XCOM series, and while the comparison is easy to see, I will try not to bring it up much. In Ram Pressure, you play as one of three intelligence agencies, which also determines the nationality of your starting soldiers. After customization, you’re thrust into a tutorial mission that explains the mechanics of the game. Similarly to mobile game, the menu system is very streamlined.
In combat you control a group of soldiers in a field of battle. The combat feels decent, while it’s nothing special, it gets the job done. The tile system works well for games of this design. With that in mind, there is quite a bit that could be improved. For example, the cover values aren’t shown unless you hold your cursor in the area. This makes planning annoying and repetitive. Shot breakdowns are hidden, so you don’t learn anything from missed shots. The barebones UI hinders more often than it helps.
Where the game falls apart though is the online. Being an MMO, Ram Pressure is set apart by its focus on co-operative and PvP multiplayer. The connection with other players can be rough, with missions hindered by waiting on the other player. Misclicking due to bad connection or bad performance can end a mission instantly. This is further hindered by the second biggest feature of Ram Pressure: microtransactions.
Being free, the only cost in Ram Pressure is the nearly unavoidable microtransactions. There is no distinction between currency earned and currency bought. This means that the mission rewards are earned at a slower pace when compared to spending actual money. New agents and weapons are purchased using the same currency, which encourages more grinding. Healing is also done using money, making it possible to severely hinder your progress or even soft lock the game if you refuse to pay up. This marketing structure is fundamentally at odds with tactical strategy games, where a single bad mission can set back progress in a major way. In its current state, Ram Pressure is frustrating at best.
Visually, Ram Pressure is one of the better looking strategy games I’ve seen. The realistic graphics blend well with the grounded setting. Even at lower settings the fidelity on display is great. Unfortunately, the audio department is severely lacking. The voice acting for player units is laughable, sounding years out of date. In addition, the music is incredibly mediocre, fitting the setting but not amplifying it in any way. The term background noise is highly fitting here.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not discuss the abysmal performance. The game runs atrociously, clocking in at barely 30fps on 1080p low settings. A quick task manager check showed the game running at a fraction of my computers resources, taking almost two thirds of my Ryzen 5 cpu. The available settings are very limited and do little to improve performance. After five minutes of fiddling, I was able to reach almost 60fps by lowering resolution to slightly above 720p.
Sadly, Ram Pressure in its current state is very disappointing. I wanted a new tactical strategy game, but sadly whats here is barely above competency. At the moment, I’d recommend another title in the genre over this. While I hope that the developers can improve on the title, it is an uphill climb.
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