FIRST OC REVIEW OF COSSACKS 3 Okay, I had to be first at something. My initial impressions are that this game is more like a basic beta release than a finished game. My son, 22, who does quite a bit of gaming says this has become a bit of an issue since online releases of games have taken off. Developers seem to take this as a license to release games in essentially unfinished form. Their thinking is that they can progressively patch it later to a more finished form. I guess it gives them earlier cash-flow at a certain cost for the reputation of the game and the developer. Let us hope that C3 survives this wobbly start and becomes a more finished game by patches and that we don't have to wait too long for this process to follow through. I will address multiplayer issues as these are the ones I think OC care about most. The actual mechanics of the game will get covered in this process anyway. The main problem I experienced was the game freezing out or dropping out players at start up in multiplayer. Many games freeze and then reject players right at launch. I would say 4/5ths of my multiplayer attempts led to this. I also encountered a mouse pointer problem after trying to build stone walls. Pointer would not drag and box units after that. Moral of that story don't use stone walls yet. Otherwise, the play mechanics seemed okay. I have only tried 1v1. Cheats are still fully enabled in multiplayer, including the edit-like function of just dropping in units. I have read this on two forums but I have not encountered it myself that I know of. I have only had two successful games so it's a small sample. That said, other bugs are more of a problem at this stage, the starting failures being the main one. The primitiveness of the shell interface is a problem too. It has less options than the old GSC shell. The small maps and having no larger maps is major shortcoming in my view. Also, it is a shame that more game options are not available. A sophisticated game can do so much more in this arena. Supreme Commander, its expansion Forged Alliance and the modded FAF (Forged Alliance Forever) provide the following option. In setting up a game there is an option button to disallow any units or structures. This takes you to a secondary screen of options where any units and structures can be excluded from the game's permitted build queue by cross-checking the box beside the item. C3 could include this option. Then we, as OC, could cross out say stone walls, diplo units, towers etc. as we wished. Any structure necessary for progress to 18th would have no cross-out box beside it as it would be compulsory to leave it in the build options. There is just so much which can be done with good options. Buildings which have to be permitted for development progress could have their own options in this screen. For example, the market could have options of standard trading, no trading and say 1 trade permitted per x minutes. In this last option you could allow say 1 trade a minute, 1 trade per 5 minutes or 1 trade per 10 minutes. This would damp trading effects and prevent reverse trading. The game itself plays okay but it lacks many of the key control options we had in C1. For example, if you had a unit or units selected which were out of screen, say some lazy peasants via the lazy peasant button, you could hit the space bar to rapid jump-pan to those units. And what has happened to the command to toggle buildings as see-through or not? That command is very useful. In both, the shell and in the game, I would want to see all the good options and controls that old shell and C1 had, restored to us in C3. All in all, the game is almost okay as a beta except for shell game-launch bugs. But we need to see a lot of progress in fairly rapid time, otherwise we are not getting value. Admittedly, the game is not expensive. Even so, it needs to be better than it is currently. Let's keep hoping it patches up into something much better. I fear if they don't get good early sales they won't patch it up. Yet, how can they get good sales with this version being a bit wobbly, shall we say? I am a bit worried. Here's hoping.