Total Domination is a Massively Multiplayer Online strategy game by Plarium, a company known today as an online strategy giant. In fact, Total Domination was the game that started it all – it is the first strategy title Plarium ever released, and it’s impressive to see that the game still holds its own, and enjoys a large and active community after 5 years. True, all of the company’s games that followed this one have only improved on the core gameplay, but Total Domination still manages to deliver its own unique, if slightly bareboned, experience.
You are a Commander!
First thing you’ll notice when starting the game is its settings. You don’t see a lot of post-apocalyptic MMORTSs, since most of them tend to prefer fantasy realms, and being able to send scorpion-shaped tanks and giant mechs to fight flesh-eating mutants is a nice change of pace. The units, buildings and overall design goes deep into classic, dark sci-fi territory, and I really enjoyed the bleak atmosphere; it really adds to the weight of your every decision when you feel like the fate of humanity is on your shoulders.
And according to the game’s arching story – it is. You are a Commander, one of the last great strategic minds the human race has to offer. Since Total Domination is a post-apocalyptic title, an apocalypse taking place prior the game’s event is pretty much a given. In TD, we get like 5 different apocalypses to choose from. Civil war, deadly virus, nuclear fallout and the aforementioned mutants all team up to take down the last humans still living on Earth. It’s up to you, the player, to preserve your Sector and help your people thrive in these harsh conditions.
To do so, you’ll collect resources, construct various buildings, and train offensive and defensive units. TD follows a very classic strategy game formula when it comes to the gameplay, and you won’t find a lot of new features you haven’t seen in other RTS titles. Base management and developing your skill tree, here called “technologies”, are still the key to successfully rising through the levels and domination the wasteland. Where TD really shines is in its online and MMO features.
Total Domination is at its best when you play together with, or against other Commanders. On the basic level, the PVP is rather straightforward, and mostly consists of you amassing a strong enough army to overpower the defenses of another Sector. However, once you join a clan a whole new world opens up before you – a world of global warfare, military campaigns, and politics. Once you establish yourself as a dedicated player, you can start taking part in clan warfare, and it’s brilliant. All of a sudden you realize that everything you did in the game so far has basically been a tutorial – TD doesn’t really start until you are fully immersed in the online part of Online Strategy.
There is a single-player experience for all you lone-wolf types, but it isn’t the main attraction, instead serving as another thing to do in between PVP battles and clan meetings. While it is possible to play the game alone, it probably won’t hold your attention for very long unless you embrace the multiplayer aspects of it.
Total Domination has that old-school charm to it, a charm fans of strategy titles will undoubtedly enjoy. The game’s rather simple gameplay makes it a great entry point for online gamers who always wanted to dip their toes in the strategy genre, but were too intimidated by the steep learning curve. However, don’t let that simplicity fool you; Total Domination does give you the time to get your bearings, but once you start playing it as the MMO that it is, it will dominate your days and nights.
Total Domination is currently available on all internet browsers, as well as iOS and Android devices as Total Domination: Reborn.
Do you have the guts to face the horrors of the apocalypse?