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Ambitious but flawed action/strategy hybrid
While the premise behind Eco Phantoms is certainly intriguing, this obscure action/strategy hybrid is largely a disaster that is only worth playing for its sheer novelty value and its surprisingly decent visuals. The fairly detailed background describes how the player returns to Earth from an outer space delivery contract only to find that the planet has had all its resources sucked out by the invading Eco Phantoms. Taking it upon yourself to steal one of their craft, you head to the surface to explore the three domes which house these dastardly aliens and their life-destroying equipment. You must make your way through these domes, rescuing prisoners, engaging in combat with the Eco Phantoms and collecting resources. The game plays out in 3D first-person perspective, with players flying their stolen craft around the well-realised and atmospheric dungeon-style environments, picking up data spheres and managing your limited resources. While Eco Phantoms is certainly ambitious, it unfortunately just doesn't work. There are several different elements to the game, but they don't gel together smoothly. Things are made worse by the over-complicated and fiddly controls which crank up the frustration factor and this really is a shame, as the essence of a good game is clearly present, but it has been let down by some poor design. As mentioned, the graphics and atmosphere are excellent and it is just a pity that the rest of the game doesn't live up to the visuals or the basic premise. Check out Descent or Forsaken for a more enjoyable slice of action.