Rescue 2013 – Everyday Heroes
While no video game could possibly reflect the courage and dedication that our servicemen provide, it’s nice to sometimes pretend to be a hero, even if it is in the virtual world. What’s more, virtual games like “Rescue 2013 – Everyday Heroes” remind us of the dangers that these real-life “everyday heroes” face, something I wholeheartedly support. In this particular game, the player will take on the role of a fire department head who must manage a team and respond to emergencies as they occur. Before we get started taking a look at this game in further detail, I’d like to thank Katleen from Plug In Digital for providing me with a free review copy.
The main menu will allow the player to start a new game, continue an existing one, and adjust game options. There’s both a campaign and free play mode, allowing you to switch things up depending on your current mood. It’s worth noting however that saving is only possible while playing the campaign. This turned me off a bit, as most games that offer a free play mode allow you to save your progress. Freeplay is also the opposite of what I expected, as you have to complete missions within a certain time limit. After three failed attempts, the game ends. Again, I was disappointed with this mode as I really would have liked a pressure-free sandbox in which to mess around. The options menu allows you to adjust a variety of graphic and audio settings, including fullscreen toggles and screen resolution. There is a PDF manual available in the game’s install folder and does a fairly good job in explaining the gameplay mechanics. Some of the text didn’t translate well, but it’s understandable enough.
In terms of identifying this genre, I’d have to classify this game as a cross between an RPG and an RTS. RPG mechanics step into the fold when you take your station and its staff into consideration, as you’ll be trying to improve both in various ways. The RTS mechanics are more dominant during a mission when you have to select a unit and command them to move or perform an action. It’s quite an interesting blend and I must say that it works well in this particular setting. I was particularly thankful for the ability to manage my fire station as it gave me a sense of progression. The RTS mechanics were a bit cumbersome and overly complicated at times. The manual lists out the tasks the personnel are capable of, but they involve between eight and fourteen steps each. Treating a patient, for example, isn’t as simple as clicking them or an available medic and choosing an action…you’ll have to manually click this, then click that, then click this, then click that, perform a handstand, recite the entire score of the HMS Pinafore, and so on and so forth. Hotkeys and a way to streamline these tasks would have been welcome.
The in-game interface is fairly simple, though I did feel that the text was a bit on the small side. While at the station (management mode), you’ll have access to a series of buttons along the top of the screen. With these, you can access a build menu of sorts, view reports, manage assets, and etc. There’s also a status bar that provides a numeric value to things like personnel and vehicle count, maintenance and experience levels, budget, and the current date. The interface during a mission (action mode) is a tad different, displaying most of what you need in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Portraits of the personnel you currently have selected are laid out along the bottom. The dispatch screen pops up right before a mission, allowing you to assign specific vehicles and personnel to the scene. Not to worry, the game won’t leave you clueless as to what assets to bring.
The fire station itself contains multiple rooms, all of which can be customized with various objects via the build menu. Of course, it costs money to plop these objects down, but they provide your staff with things to do. Speaking of staff, you’ll be able to assign them jobs while they’re at the station which grant them both positive and negative effects, depending on what you task them to do. Assigning someone to the gym, for example, will increase their fitness level and make them move faster during a mission. Maintenance jobs help your mechanical assets financially, while cooking increases morale. This part of the game will help to organize your team, which in turn changes the way they behave out in the field.
Missions come in various shapes and sizes. Most of the time, you’ll be tasked with putting out a fire and/or responding to medical emergencies. Staff management becomes important here, as you’ll need to assign specific respondees to particular jobs. In one situation, you might task two people to fight a fire with a hose while another whips out a fire extinguisher. It’s important to keep in mind however that each of your staff members has a unique skill set. Some might have medical training where others do not, and some might have promotions that grant them special modifiers and make them ideal candidates for specific tasks. A senior firefighter, for example, will use less water than a regular firefighter. Not to worry, missions can be taken when you want to via the “alert phase” button at the fire station. While this mode is turned off, no new alerts will require your attention. I liked this idea, as it gave me time to tweak the fire station to my standards.
Overall, “Rescue 2013 – Everyday Heroes” is a decent simulator, but a lot of annoying gameplay designs holds it back from really succeeding. For one, the game isn’t exactly bug-free and the graphics could stand to be improved. The free play mode is more of a timed-mode and doesn’t include a save function, which makes little sense to me. The tasks personnel perform on-site are needlessly cumbersome and complicated, though this wouldn’t be so bad if unit selection weren’t so difficult at times. The lack of a difficulty slider, in my opinion, limits the audience that this game might appeal to. A simple adjustment of the time limit in action mode across multiple difficulty levels is all it would take in that regard. This way, folks who want a casual experience can play without worrying about the clock too much.
While I could name more examples, I’d be negligent if I didn’t point out the game’s strengths. I like the idea of managing a fire station and a budget. I’m also very appreciative of how everything is paced, what with the inclusion of the “alert phase” button. There is a nice variety of rescue vehicles available to player. Foam, water, and powder tenders, hose carriers, ambulances, rescue vehicles, EMS vehicles, support vehicles…you name it. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that these positives warrant a price tag of $29.99 (as of 7/18/13)…I’d personally price it closer to ten or fifteen bucks. The game has a lot of promise and hopefully, some patches can be made to help streamline some of the gameplay elements to make it more user-friendly.
Final Verdict: 5/10
You can learn more about the game by visiting the following websites:
You can view video play sessions here: