There Came an Echo Review

This article is no longer being updated and may be out of date, or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time.

There Came an Echo is a futuristic real time tactical strategy game that uses voice control as a central feature. Iridium Studios set out to make something different. A strong focus on narrative and a motley crew thrown together by chance instead of a seasoned squad or army combines with the voice control to create a different kind of tactical battle simulation.

Product Information

Retailer: Steam

Price: £10.99

About Iridium Studios

Iridium Studios is an independent game studio founded in 2009 by Jason Wishnov that employes a small group of developers.

Design

Features

  • Genre: RTS/RTT
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Game length: 4-5 hours

Voice control gameplay

Voice control in games have been uncommon. It has not been accurate or quick enough to work well within most genres so There Came an Echo has made a bold move to implement it extensively. Full keyboard and mouse support is available, more on that later, however voice control is the superior prefered choice of controls.

The idea is a brilliant one. Voice commands are set to a small number of words in order to increase accuracy, but there is also full customization options for every command, allowing players to interact with NPCs in their own language, whatever that might be. Some of my friends have had good success, but I have a non-supported accent and recognition was a problem for me. I stuck to the programmed commands, practised them, switched headsets out to try and increase the accuracy, which did help some, but not enough, always costing me precious seconds to repeat commands.

I was hoping using some clicking would win me back more time because clicking is faster than talking, but in There Came an Echo, clicking triggers the NPC companion to issue the order to the squad vocally. The only time saving bonus is one of accuracy, the squad always understood her where as I had to repeat commands.

I think the voice control is well implemented within the game and when it works, it works beautifully. However, when it doesn’t, it is immensely frustrating. Voice control never comes easy with my accent that straddles two countries and jaw issues that can affect enunciation. I hope others have better luck because it is so much more immersive than hitting keys on a keyboard or clicking with a mouse.

Trigger warning

triggers 100

 

Cost-effective

It’s difficult to justify the price tag for There came an Echo if the voice control doesn’t work out well. It is a beautifully made classic RTS title, but the radial menu controls and the unreliability of the voice command input at times, makes it difficult to justify spending more than a few pound to try it out.

Specification

There Came An Echo Radial Menui


System requirements (minimum)

OS: Windows Vista 64-bit
Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or greater
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 8 GB available space

Recommended
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Athlon X2 2.7 GHz)
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9000 series / ATI Radeon HD 3000 series or greater
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 8 GB available space

 

Verdict

There Came an Echo is a beautifully designed game with an original soundtrack and the heavy focus on narrative is a welcoming feature. It runs smoothly, boldly tries something new and if the voice control was more accurate, it would’ve been amazing. The time pressure of a real time tactics game combined with voice control or a radial menu  – both slower input options – made it frustrating to play. If either worked well reliably, I think I would have loved There Came an Echo. It is a game that is rough around the edges, with much unrealized potential.

Product: There Came an Echo | Developer: Iridium Studios | Publisher: Iridium Studios | Platform: PC (Steam) | Genre: RTS/RTT | Game length: 4-5 hours |Players: 1 | Version: Europe | Release Date: 24 February 2015 |Content Rating: ESRB (Teen)

The game review is based on the PC (Steam) version of the game. This article was first published on 24 February 2015 and is no longer being updated. Information may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time.

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Chris Ellis - Founder|Editor

Currently an Open University student, editor, tech and accessibility expert for ergohacks.com

Lives in Amesbury, Wiltshire in the UK – otherwise known as the town about a mile from Stonehenge.