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Game Info:

Taste of Power
Developed By: OneOcean LLC
Published By: OneOcean LLC
Released: Oct 10, 2019
Available On: Linux, macOS, Windows
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: up to two players online
Price: $14.99

Thank you, OneOcean LLC, for sending us a review code!

The PC platform is no stranger to the strategy genre. In most cases, many strategy franchises are relegated to the PC as the genre typically needs lots of button inputs and requires a decent amount of power to continuously render all of the units, structures, and scenery (consoles these days tend to lack the former more than the latter). Taste of Power by OneOcean LLC is yet another strategy game. What makes this one different from all the others is something I would not be able to tell you myself. I am a very casual consumer of strategy games. I am not ashamed to admit that if I do pick one up, I tend to play them on the easiest setting unless said strategy game is part of the tower defense subgenre.

With Taste of Power, there are three main factions to play as. The European Confederation with them being heavily inspired by the Crusaders, the Chinese Empire, and the Timurid Khalifat based upon the Timurid Empire of the Middle East. Each faction share units that act similar, yet look different. Each faction has exclusive and unique units. The Chinese Empire have Agents who are invisible to other units and can set up traps. The European Confederation have Templars that are two units in one, with Templars being able to constantly spawn Crusader (melee) units, but Templars themselves being vulnerable to ranged fire. If they perish in battle, all the Crusaders they spawn fall as well.

All units have specific advantages and disadvantages against each other, as well as each unit having special passive and active abilities that can turn the tide of battle easily. Some units do bonus damage against enemies with heavy armor, while other units can deploy a barrier that decreases damage. These abilities can be upgraded with the construction and investment of buildings and structures. Buildings are not the focus of Taste of Power as the developer grants you the option of streamlining most of the concepts so that you can focus on tactical warfare. One really cool mechanic is the corruption mechanic and how that works is that the longer you gather resources, the fewer resources you will reap. It encourages the player to constantly expand their territory and it fits with the theme of the game too.

Taste of Power
Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent tutorial; three different factions with enough unique attributes to make them worth playing as
Weak Points: Poor campaign, with numerous glitches, bugs, and crashes
Moral Warnings: Medieval warfare with death and bloodshed everywhere; The European Confederation and Timurid Khalifat are committing warfare “in the name of God”   

The tutorial of Taste of Power is very well done and possibly one of the best tutorials I’ve seen in a video game. Dubbed “Art of War” it explains how each faction works. Each section of the tutorial (at least for the three separate factions) starts with a video showcasing the difference between having certain abilities active or disabled and then puts you in miniature scenarios letting you use them firsthand. Other parts of the tutorial include the tactics part, how upgrades work, and how the economy works. I was greatly impressed with the structure of the tutorial.

However, when getting into the campaign portion is where things get messy. The entire campaign is, putting it lightly, poorly constructed. The continue selection in the main menu doesn’t work whatsoever. In the pause menu, there is an option to load your save file, but there are no options to save at all. When you fail a mission, the options available to you are to load from the last checkpoint, load from a last save file, return to the main menu or close the game, but the checkpoint system doesn’t work either. If you choose the former two options, your game soft locks and the only way to exit is to close the game. This of course makes losing extremely punishing. The pathfinding for certain NPCs and even your units is shoddy as they can get in each other's way. I spent five minutes wondering what to do and confused why nothing was happening because one of my units was in the way of the NPC unit I was escorting. Why not just make them move through units to avoid such a situation? During the second campaign mission, the performance takes a nosedive during the latter half, with the frames per second reaching single digits. Something that should have taken me a half-hour took me over an hour instead. To top it all off, there were a few crashes between missions and a bug where if you complete a mission, but return to the main menu, the mission isn’t considered complete so you’ll have to complete it again.

The campaign might be a sour point in the experience and does a poor job in explaining the mechanics of the game, but there are multiple game modes that, quite frankly, do a better job. Survival is a more defensive take on the strategy aspect where you have to fend off waves of enemies with your sole base. Confrontation is the typical “skirmish” mode where you chose a map, a faction, and the enemy AI settings and then duke it out until one of you ends up victorious. In survival, many prompts are displayed that do a better job in explaining things than the campaign and I learned more from that mode than I did from the campaign. I think that if the developers didn’t want the campaign to explain much, then it shouldn’t be the first option to pick. 

Taste of Power
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 60%
Gameplay 11/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 5/10
Stability 3/5
Controls 4/5

Morality Score - 81%
Violence 4/10
Language 10/10
Sexual Content 10/10
Occult/Supernatural 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 6.5/10

In terms of graphics, Taste of Power does look pretty good. Each unit has a distinct design from them that incorporates the culture in which they are from. The land has lots of foliage, rocky terrain, and varied pathways to give it that Eurasian look. The sound effects and voice acting are a bit divisive. The campaign is fully voiced, although the subtitles do not always match what the characters are saying . Each faction has at least one mission to themselves, and it is clear as day that all the voices are contributed by two or three people with Slavic accents. It can be cheesy hearing the voice actors attempt Eastern Mediterranean, Chinese, and Arab accents—I do commend their effort. The music, on the other hand, can get a bit repetitive due to not much variation. 

The biggest moral concerns are the warfare aspect. It not being as violent as other games in the same genre or setting, there is still plenty of death and bloodshed. When units are killed, they die with a bloodstain appearing below their body. Another notable aspect is that it's pretty clear that the European Confederation and Timurid Khalifat are committing warfare for religious reasons. Believing God is cool, but doing obvious bad things in the name of God is not. All sides commit atrocities against each other for “noble causes” such as espionage, corruption, robbing and pillaging, as well as the murder of innocents, all because they are convinced the other side is worse than they are. 

I’m left very confused with Taste of Power. There are plenty of interesting aspects and concepts that OneOcean LLC attempts, but for reasons that I am unaware of, the game feels unfinished. It also seems like I am one of the few that feels this way about it too, according to the “Mostly Positive” reception on the Steam page. Why didn’t anyone else point out the buggy nature of the campaign? It nearly makes me feel like I am the one playing through this wrong. Updates are slow to happen with the latest one being back in March of 2020. There is a multiplayer mode out there, but from my time of playing it, I was the only soul on it and thus was unable to test it out. Morally, it manages to be squeaky clean in its language and sexual content, but with it being warfare, especially based on real-life situations, can potentially rub the wrong way. As of the current state that Taste of Power is in, as long as it is what it is right now, this is a “taste” you’re better off skipping.

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Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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