Fight for your place on Mount Olympus with “Zeus’ Battlegrounds,” now available on Steam for free.
Fans of Greek stuff and the “battle royale” genre of games, rejoice. For I have good news from Mount Olympus: you are all demigods. The only way to access your powers is to download “Zeus’ Battlegrounds,” developed by Industry Games. It is fun; plus, like I said before, it’s free.
I know what many of you may be thinking: “Really, another battle royale game? I’m getting sick of this genre and companies thinking they made something completely unique.” Same, everyone, same.
The only difference with “Zeus’ Battlegrounds” is that it is the first battle royale game (that I am aware of) that focuses on melee combat rather than gunplay. Sure, there are bows, crossbows, magical orbs, godlike abilities and spells, but the emphasis is on using swords and other melee objects to get the job done.
Also, it takes place in a land modeled after Ancient Greece. Now that I have piqued your curiosity, let me get into my first experience with the game and this god-like review.
Like most battle royale games out on the market, players start the round in a central area to wait out the clock. However, unlike “PUBG” and “Fortnite” you are not moving in a plane or a flying bus. In “Zeus’ Battlegrounds,” you start on the top of the map on an enormous circle surrounded by a thin impenetrable veil, where Zeus himself sits on a throne.
To get your blood pumping and learn the few controls available, you can run up to Zeus and start punching him. Zeus does not take your insolence too kindly, however, and will almost immediately slap you with the full force of the back of his hand, which will send you flying, as one would expect the power of a god to do. Until the 60-second timer runs down, you are trapped on this large flying circle in the clouds, but once it hits zero, the fun begins.
Immediately after the timer stops, the thin blue field disappears, and players can start jumping off the circle. Unlike other battle royale games where you use a parachute (or the equivalent of one) to slow down before hitting the ground, “Zeus’ Battlegrounds” turns your Greek hero into a flaming ball of awesome that can change direction and fly across nearly the whole map. There is also no way to slow down. You can go wherever you like, and when you finally reach the ground, you land with enough force that even Hades would ask you to stop making so much noise.
Once the dust and fire settle, you are free to run around the map and go wherever you choose, equipping whatever weapons and armor you find along the way. Like I said before, there is a large variety of weapons and armor. There are even shields to block incoming attacks. Although I am not sure how effective they would be against the backside of Zeus’ hand.
Once you have the gear of your choosing equipped, you must survive. There is a multitude of factors making it quite difficult to sit in one spot and wait.
First, this is a battle royale, fight to the finish kind of game. There will be only one demigod by the end of the round, meaning you will sooner or later have to test your mettle and prove yourself worthy.
Second, there are other players besides you running around. Currently in game, you cannot crouch or go prone to make yourself quieter or smaller while moving around. Plus, heavier armor and weapons make noise when you move. These other demigods will be looking for you, and sooner or later they will find you.
Lastly, like many of the other battle royale games out there, there is a ring around the map that slowly gets smaller and forces you into tighter and tighter spaces, making sure players are always within killing distance of each other.
Horses are spread across the map, which act as a faster means of travel than running on the beaten path.
Along with these horses are a few temples scattered across the map dedicated to the better known of the Greek gods and goddesses. There is the temple of Zeus, of course, Athena, Ares, Hades and Poseidon. Each of these gods, providing you visit their temple, will give you a special power. My favorite so far is Poseidon’s water blade ability. Poseidon grants you the power of the ocean with this ability, where a large amount of water comes out of a vortex in blade like formations and slashes your opponent.
Gameplay for “Zeus’ Battlegrounds” is faster paced than one may think, especially when melee combat is how you will get most of your kills. This is not to say there are not slower periods of the game, such as when the lobby is not full. You may not find anybody to test your might against until the later stages of the round. Combat is exciting and intense. You never know what spells or powers your opponents may have, and they don’t know yours.
I am rather impressed with this game when it comes to graphics. It is only a small team working on this game, but they have done a decent job of creating a pleasing landscape and characters. The ocean and rivers are very blue, and there is a smattering of sculpted hills, flowers, cliffs and towns to explore.
There are a few mechanics and abilities I would like to see in future versions of this game. I would like the ability to crouch. Prone is not necessary, but crouching is. I would like to be able to set up an ambush on a road while I’m crouched in a bush awaiting a victim.
I would also like a wider variety of spells and weapons. There is already a good amount of these objects, but the only spells I seem to find are lighting and fire spells. While these are cool, more variety would be even better.
Lastly, there is only a small amount of people playing this game. On average, I am only with 40 or so per match when there can be over a hundred. While “Zeus’ Battlegrounds” is still fun, the developers need to reach a wider audience. I would suggest they listen very closely to the community and don’t get too many ideas of grandeur. They have a player base that enjoys the game. They don’t need to drastically change the game to appease new people. Just work on what they have and take in criticism and feedback.
All in all, “Zeus’ Battlegrounds” is a fun game that delivers way more than you would expect from something labeled as “free.” It delivers nice scenery with a decent combat system that deviates from the norm. The developers have already started updating this project since writing this review, which means they are already listening to the community.