Monday, April 10, 2006

Left Behind: Eternal Forces Previews

Some of you may know that in addition to being a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy freak, I am also a gamer (which isn't that big of a stretch I guess). Of course the drawback to being a gamer, much like being a sci-fi/fantasy fan. Is the fact that not a whole lot of games necessarily match up with the Christian worldview. And those that have, tend to be pretty bad from a gameplay point of view. But there is one game coming out later this year that does look to show some promise. All thanks to two (possibly shudder inducing words: Left Behind.

Left Behind: Eternal Forces is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) Game based on the best-selling novels by Jerry Jenkins and Tim Lahay. For those of you unfamiliar with what an RTS is, it is a game in which the player builds and controls armies of units and send them out in conquest of the opposing army(ies).

My first reaction to hearing about Eternal Forces last year was one of shock and unbelief. Why in the world would anyone base an RTS game off of novels that revolved around a central cast and where it the heroes were all non-violent (more or less, from what I remember). It just seemed like someone thought "Hey RTS games are popular, lets make one of those!" To say I was instantly turned off would be pretty much accurate. Though I did have some morbid curiosity in the game.

However, this week a new round of previews have popped up at some of the major gaming sites, that are making me step back from my initial kneejerk reaction. It actually looks like the team developing this game may just be well on the road to making a fun RTS.

Based totally within a painstakingly accurate rendition of Manhattan, Eternal Forces, has the player waging war for the souls of the neutral units. Having a spiritual morale meter that must be maintained, for every unit in the game. You don't pump units out of a factory like in traditional RTS games, but instead go out into the city and convert them by raising their spiritual morale to an appropriate level. Certain actions can raise or lower a unit's spirit, and if it gets low enough they will revert to neutral, or even join with the forces of evil. So the main point in this game isn't to win a war of attrition by killing off your opponent, but instead "save" the opposition by converting the soldiers. In fact entering into wholesale slaughter is a bad idea since killing will lower the spiritual morale of your units meaning you might win the battle but lose your army.

So I have gone from revulsion, to cautious optimism in regards to this game. The fact that not only has it gained attention from the mainstream gaming media, but it also getting some favorable previews, means that it could help bring games based on a Christian worldview up to a more acceptable standard, much like where Christian fiction was a decade or so ago.

You can view some previews at:
Gamespy
IGN
Gamespot

I'll be keeping an eye on this and post any further thoughts as more details get revealed.

2 Comments:

Blogger Tiff/Amber Miller said...

I'm with you. This actually sounds intriguing. And since I'm the "stereotypical" female who tends to steer clear of the games where excessive killing and violence seems to be the norm, a game where you have to save souls and boost morale to win your levels and progress sounds perfect.

I just hope there's enough of the adventure/excitement factor to challenge gamers. Otherwise, it'll get billed as a "sissy" game.

4:03 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger SJR said...

This statement is posted from an employee of Left Behind Games on behalf of Troy Lyndon, our Chief Executive Officer.

There has been in incredible amount of MISINFORMATION published in the media and in online blogs here and elsewhere.

Pacifist Christians and other groups are taking the game material out of context to support their own causes. There is NO “killing in the name of God” and NO “convert or die”. There are NO “negative portrayals of Muslims” and there are NO “points for killing”.

Please play the game demo for yourself (to at least level 5 of 40) to get an accurate perspective, or listen to what CREDIBLE unbiased experts are saying after reviewing the game at www.leftbehindgames.com/pages/controversy.htm

Then, we’d love to hear your feedback as an informed player.

The reality is that we’re receiving reports everyday of how this game is positively affecting lives by all who play it.

Thank you for taking the time to be a responsible blogger.

12:14 AM, January 19, 2007  

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