Real-time strategy games are rare these days, and what’s rarer than RTS games? Dune games, which is ironic since it’s one of the ripest backdrops for grand strategy or even RPG games. That’s why a lot of Dune fans were rightfully excited with the advent of Dune: Spice Wars, even if it’s only in the early access stage.
It’s one of the best accompaniments to the latest Dune film that has a lot of ground to cover in its source material. But since Dune: Spice Wars is currently in its early access stage, a lot of the game’s systems can be quite rough. It apparently still has a long way to go before the full release, but in any case, here’s what Dune: Spice Wars needs in order to make the spice flow more smoothly.
8 Less Messy Espionage
The game starts off on a rather simple note. It’s initially a lot less tedious compared to other RTS games that need more upkeep and have a higher learning curve. That is until players get to the late game, and they have to employ spies. Such an endeavor wouldn’t have been much of an issue, but Dune: Spice War‘s espionage system needs more streamlining.
As it is, the espionage system in the game requires too much micromanaging. Players have to carefully select how to spend their spies’ generated intel resource. At times, it can get daunting having to pick the same espionage actions over and over again. An automation or AI learning or management mode for espionage really could have taken a lot off the players’ hands.
7 More Intricate Combat
Whereas the espionage and political systems in the game are a complex mess of micromanaging, combat was made rather simple. It doesn’t have as many tactical layers as other RTS games. Battles mostly rely on the player’s strategic choices for victory; they might as well just watch blobs of units fighting one another and wait for a victor.
It doesn’t get more riveting than pointing and clicking at enemy units. One would expect some level of micromanaging in order to get the upper hand against much larger forces, or perhaps specializing for some of the units’ unique abilities and qualities. That might change in the future.
6 More Faithful Voice Acting & Sound Design
Sound design is one area in the game that needs immediate focus. At the time of writing, the game’s music is somewhat lackluster, with plenty of in-game moments feeling flat and un-inmmersive because of a lack of a certain soundtrack. It seems music will surely get patched in the future as the game nears full release.
Barring that, however, some voice acting in the game could use a rework. The Fremen troops, for example, have North American or even Texan accents when— even in the film, they have an Arabic accent because their civilization is based on Bedouins. Overall, more attention to detail is needed if developers want to immerse fans into their game.
5 Better Focus On Singleplayer
With how the game’s politics and espionage system is set up, it seems it puts more emphasis on online play or multiplayer. The game is somewhat slow (whether deliberately or not) and the solo content is lacking. Those who have no intentions of fighting with other players might be disappointed with the amount of single-player content the game has to offer at the time of writing.
Once players have expanded enough, there’s not much to do but clear up any budding rebellions and oppositions. Even this can get repetitive. Meanwhile, big updates for the game have a chance of breaking save files, meaning players might as well lose their progress in single-player as the game progresses into its development.
4 Faction Balancing
As always with RTS games, faction balancing is an issue in Dune: Spice Wars. Granted. This happens even to games that have seen their full releases. But right now in Dune: Spice War’s meta landscape, expect certain players to prefer one of the seven factions because of an unfair advantage.
The game has a long way to go if it wants to foster a well-balanced and fair but asymmetrical strategic gameplay. The Fremen seem to be one of the best factions in the game right now, and players will only be handicapping themselves by picking less efficient factions.
3 Less Repetition & Faster Gameplay
Once players have grasped the basics of the game, that’s when it starts losing its variety. Because, as mentioned earlier, players who have expanded enough will mostly just play whack-a-mole with enemy factions that pop up within their territories.
Even so, getting to that point in the game is rather slow (unless players pick the Fremen). Arakis has a habit of hampering play progress, whether through the instant Shai-Hulud Sandworn attacks or through desert attrition. As such, most other factions apart from the Fremen will have a sluggish time progressing through their playthrough; once they get to the late-game, they’ll mostly be doing the same mundane things over and over again.
2 More Unit Diversity
Unit diversity is one of the reasons why the game lacks tactical depth. While they are aesthetically distinct, most of the units in the game typically have basic functions and adhere to a rock-paper-scissors combat system. They’re not functionally distinct from one another enough to warrant specialized tactics or combat maneuvers.
In all honesty, unit diversity is one area of the game where Dune fans probably won’t mind a divergence from the source material. More Dune units that spice up the combat (no pun intended)— even if they’re not too faithful to the books or films, would have made for a more engaging RTS experience.
1 Bugs, Glitches, & Crash Fixes
As always with early access games and recently released games, there’s no shortage of technical problems in Dune: Spice Wars. Bugs and glitches are some of the most common along with graphical issues. However, there is a persistent crashing that occurs when players tinker with the refinery.
Such cases can be game-breaking and frustrating. Thankfully, players can rest assured that fixes for technical issues are a priority for any game developer, and Dune: Spice Wars is no exception. But at its current development state, do expect more technical problems to pop up as the game introduces more content for testing.
Dune: Spice Wars is now available for PC as early access on steam.