Demigod is a real-time strategy game, but it's a different kind of RTS. There's base-building, resource harvesting, and big epic battles, of course, but each aspect is done just a little different from it's genre counterparts. I got a chance to play a beta of the game to see exactly what it was all about, and I walked away from it quite impressed with what the results might be.

To start, Demigod is about an empty hole in a pantheon of gods, and the many demigods that wish to fill the position. To do this, they fight amongst themselves, with their own weapons or their creations. The player controls these demigods directly as their units are automatically spawned from portals, rushing forth to attack the enemy base and various control points around the map. Left to their own devices, these creatures from both sides will simply smash into each other like waves in the ocean, creating a stalemate that won't readily be overcome. This is where you come in. With your power, your actions as a demigod can sway the results of the battle in great ways.

There are two classes of demigod, and they will determine what your playstyle is. The first, the assassin class, has the game play out more like an action-rpg than an actual strategy game. The abilities of this class are based more around abilities that assist your creatures in battle and do direct damage to your enemies. The Rook, for example, is a walking castle with all manner of seige weaponry attached to his body. With his massive hammer, he tends to take the direct route in battle: smashy smashy! The other class of demigod is that of the general. As you might expect, this class plays the game more like a strategic experience; you're given abilities to strengthen your defenses as well as summon minions to your command. While the generals perform better from a distance (they tend to be weaker than the assassins), there's nothing stopping them from heading into battle and performing some attacks of their own.

The game plays like an RPG in more ways than one: defeating enemies will earn your demigod experience points and money. With the money, you can purchase items to power up your demigod or upgrades to power up your buildings. The experience, on the other hand, is used on your demigod to upgrade their abilities and in general make them a tougher force to be reckoned with. With the incentive of money and power, you'll find yourself running into battle to see how much of it you can actually gain (and, more importantly, to gain it quicker than your opponent). Of course, your demigod can perish - as they're not invincible - and when he or she does, they'll be out of the game for a set time. While this may not be an instant loss, it does mean your opponent gets a substantial advantage for the time you're off the field.

The concept of Strategic Zoom has returned from Supreme Commander, another of Gas Powered Games RTS titles. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, just think of being able to zoom so far into the atmosphere that the entire battlefield is available before you, then being able to zoom right back down to focus on a single unit in combat. All in a few strokes of the mouse wheel. Though that may mean you'll be spending time pretty far away from the battlefield, it doesn't mean the graphics aren't still nice to look at. The game's style is that of a fantastical future, with magical technology abundant, and it looks pretty good up close. The sense of scale is quite impressive as well; seeing your massive demigods paired next to the small units that rush across the battlefield really gives you a sense of how large and powerful these units you're controlling are.

Demigod looks to be quite impressive, and it'll be interesting to see how it's picked up by the general gaming community. Set to release later this month, Demigod looks like it's ready to change what an RTS means.