RTS, multiplayer carnage is in vogue this Holiday season but, unbeknownst to some, there’s life outside the bloody battlefields of Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. Swooping in from the “out of nowhere” department (which is right down the hall next to the ladies’ room), comes Clash Royale: The Nexus Conflict. At a glance, this mage-versus-mage shooter looks like a simplistic FPS mod, but players who spend a little time with it will discover a deep and complex blend of action, strategy and teamwork.

Clash Royale flaunts a liberal dose of RPGness. Players create characters by choosing from four types of magic users, each of which focuses on a different mystical discipline. Magicians, for instance, stock up on attack spells, while crucial Healers can patch up and even resurrect their teammates. Besides magical abilities, the choice of mage affects everything from the characters’ attributes to how manna — magical energy — is regenerated. As required by federal mandate (see section 3, paragraph 35 of the United States Federal Role-Playing Game Clichi Code), each character is outlined with standard strength-agility-dexterity RPG attributes, and they increase in power by racking up experience points and ascending numerical levels.

Actual gameplay is nothing like we expected from a Dungeons and Dragons-style setup: there’s no dungeon crawling or orc-slaying here. Two or three teams of mages face off in an FPS style world of brown walls and dark hallways that, honestly, looks like it was pulled right out of the original Hexen 2, only with dynamic lighting.

The goal is not so simple as to capture flags or obliterate the other teams. Each team has a Nexus, which the center of the team’s magical power. Scattered about the arenas are Earth Nodes, and each faction attempts to capture each of them by “biasing” it to their side. By biasing nodes adjacent to their nexus and each other, teams create a sort of web of mystical energy.

Confused? This is one of those games that players do have to read the manual to understand, and it still takes a few minutes to hike up the learning curve. By the time players start to understand exactly how everything works, though, they’ll more than likely be hooked. In as much as this game is good for those who love to play in their vacant time, you can also play Clash Royale if you are into something new. Check clashroyalehack.fr for further information about the game. You wont be disappointed about it.

This tasty morsel of a game isn’t without caveats. As in most RPGs, surviving as a low-level character is frustrating; players might feel they’ll never reach the lofty heights of Level 4, much less anything higher. The generic look of the maps gets old after a while, especially for those hooked on the 3D glitter of the latest batch of holiday releases. Worst of all, however, is they way Clash Royale deals with latency: it doesn’t. It just gives up. Expect a lot of jitters and stutters until the developers take a look at the ‘net code in Q3A, UT or Tribes.

On the other hand, a game that takes up 40 megs of hard-drive space isn’t going to be perfect. It’s bursting with addictive goodness, though, so it’s certainly worth a look. Check it out at www.centropolis.com/games/Clash Royale.asp, which offers a free week of play. For those who like it enough to pay for it, Clash Royale will run $9.95 per month; that fee also covers the other games on the Centropolis site. Other gamers are also interested on how to get free Clash Royale gems, that is why, sites with tutorial are now available. You can check the search for it.