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World in Conflict Preview

publisher: Sierra
developer: Massive Entertainment
genre: Strategy

CPU 2.5Ghz, 128MB VRAM video card, 1GB RAM, 2GB HDD
ESRB rating: T

release date: Sep 18, 07
» All About World in Conflict on ActionTrip

After entering Massive Entertainment's closed beta for World in Conflict, the company's promising real-time strategy, we engaged in some serious RTS fun and are now ready to give you the lowdown on the game's online multiplayer segment.

I'm sure you all know about the game's premise by now. If not, head over here to read our recent preview, which explains more about the game's setting and key features.

As we entered our first battle, we sided with the Ruskies and were well on our way to conquer and claim our territory on what appeared to be quite a sizable map. After that, we played a few rounds with US military forces. Bear in mind that only two Domination maps are currently available in the beta, but the developers have plans to introduce two previously unseen multiplayer game modes: Assault and Tug of War. We're yet to try those two out of course.

Even though the games belong to different genres, during the first several minutes of gameplay, both 2lions and I couldn't help but notice a few distinct similarities with DICE's Battlefield series. Aside from the most obvious ones; the vehicles, craft and map design, there are a few other interesting similarities between the two titles.

Players may choose their branch of military at the start of each match. They can opt for support, armor, air or infantry (and may switch later on during the match if they wish). But the point is that World in Conflict multiplayer feels almost class-based, much like Battlefield.

Choosing armor means you'll control medium, light and heavy tanks and similar armored vehicles, such as transports packed with AA protection and so on. Players sticking to air units will mostly be operating various types of choppers, each designated for taking out specific air and ground units. Playing with the infantry means you'll be supporting armored vehicles and air units in combat, while hiding behind tree lines or within buildings, and of course doing your best to conquer various control points. If you decide to play with the support class, a mix of artillery, anti-air and other units will be under your control. Generally, having separate classes is a commendable addition and gives players the opportunity to concentrate on specific units and particular style of play. (As well as offering a rock, paper, scissor type of gameplay. - Ed.)

The most enjoyable aspect of the WiC multiplayer was seeing how players are able to employ teamwork and good tactics to achieve victory. Coordinating attacks and teaming up to defend key locations on the map is the essential part of this strategy game. Another enticing element is that you never know which direction the battles is about to take. One thing's for sure though, in a matter of minutes a small skirmish quickly turns into a huge epic battle with massive explosions, gunfire everywhere, missiles and AA fire whizzing from all sides, as each side struggles to gain the edge. In the middle of this chaos of modern-warfare, an unexpected wave of jets can bombard the hell out of enemy ground units and on top of that the battlefield may become a wasteland after a powerful nuclear strike.

This kind of atmosphere prevails throughout most of the matches and it's largely what players can expect out of an average multiplayer encounter in World in Conflict.

Once you join in the battle frenzy, the action doesn't stop and each time the experience feels different, given the variety of units and classes. In one of the matches, I unpredictably found three of my choppers in a nasty situation. After a long and draining battle involving a hot-spot close to a Super Market, I was the only one on my team near a crucial control point and I had to defend it. My teammates told me to hang on, but all our reinforcements were farther away than the enemy's, so I had to protect the control point as best I could. To make things worse, I ran out of reinforcement points, so I couldn't summon any units of my own. I was pinned down and pretty much a goner at that point, until I saw a large group of friendly infantry units marching across the field to my aid. Enemy anti-air infantry was quickly wiped out by our sharpshooters, which remained hidden from sight. They were a sight for sore eyes. (Hidden and yet a sight for sore eyes? Interesting. - Ed) At the same time, our teammate in control of support class sent in a wave of barrages from his artillery units (capable of firing halfway across the map). My choppers held the enemy at bay long enough for infantry and armored support to arrive. Eventually, not a single one of my helicopters was left, but the match ended with our team triumphantly seizing a key territory and gaining a tremendous advantage.

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