initial expectations of Allegiance were of a fairly straight-forward, if somewhat simple,
online space combat game. What I was happily surprised by is that its really none of
these things, except for the combat, of course. Allegiance is one of the most complex
online games Ive come across; if it is not the only fully realized online-only space
sim yet developed, it is certainly the most multifaceted. It packs elements of real time
strategy, economic exploitation and planning, and technological development into one
slick, polished package. And, if you can initially get over the very steep learning curve
you will likely find, as I have, Allegiance to be one of the best online titles out there.
Unlike the stack of other space
combat sims recently released little time is wasted on narrative development in
Allegiance; its all about gameplay here. Only the flight orientations are available
off-line, and I highly recommend taking advantage of them a couple of times before jumping
into the fray. Once youre ready you want to go find a game. Doing this is a snap
through the Allegiance Zone. For once, someone made an interface that lets the player join
a game only a couple clicks in. This is just about the only simple aspect of the game.
The flight model also takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes rather intuitive. Ship movement is as it should be in the near-vacuum of space, the ships are capable of true three-dimensional movement, and inertia can either be fought or used to your advantage. There are several types of ships for you to choose from: scouts, fighters, interceptors, stealth fighters, bombers and capital ships. The later can host turret gunners for added defense. Players can hop on when the ship is docked and rack up the kills without the added stresses of piloting your own craft.
The command role is one of the most unique innovations found in Allegiance. Games tend to be decided with each teams ability to work cooperatively towards a common goal, and the commander is able to back away from the battle and make informed strategic decisions and direct resources to engage threats over the entire field of play. As well as the commander role there is the investor roll. Your team must gather resources in order to advance along the technology tree and gain new territory. The investor, if needed, directs the teams course along the technology tree and makes decisions about where to mine resources.
Allegiance strikes a perfect balance
between simple aesthetics and graphics that are likely to drag your framerates down. What
I mean is that youre not left for want, and you dont want any more. Lag is not
too much of a problem because of this. Ships and other objects are readily identifiable by
their unique shapes, unlike the many uninspired designs in some recent games, and the
backgrounds are sufficiently beautiful without being distracting.