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World in Conflict Review
developer: Massive Entertainment
CPU 2.5Ghz, 128MB VRAM video card, 1GB RAM, 2GB HDD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 18, 07 (released)
|» All About World in Conflict on ActionTrip|
Having played the multiplayer beta of World in Conflict, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from the full version of the game. Gamers who are immediately disregarding this as just another generic RTS game, should reconsider carefully. Hell, just take my word for it and reconsider.
Okay, I'll try not to waste too much time talking about the setting and storyline. Suffice it to say, World in Conflict is set during the '80s and takes players on a turbulent ride through alternate history. Instead of ending peacefully, the Cold War developed into a worldwide conflict, as the Soviet Union proceeds to invade American soil. After launching a massive strike on Seattle, the Russians intensify their attack in order to strengthen their foothold on US territory.
Believe me when I say that the blatantly worn-out setting won't have any effect on the game and the overall experience. Thanks to the efforts of Massive Entertainment (creators of Ground Control 1 and 2), players are sure to enjoy the single-player campaign. Maintaining an exciting narrative all the way, the developers concentrated on characterization, giving the entire story emotional depth. Now, the game doesn't dig much into the background of your character, but rather focuses on some of the individuals that played vital roles in America's military campaign against the Russian invaders. It is through the emotions of these characters that players are able to immerse themselves in the story. There are a few impressively directed FMV cut-scenes as well, which also contribute to the story. With all this on the menu, each mission briefing is read by well-known Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin, whose vocal talents come off extremely well in the game.
There are 14 missions to go through in the single-player campaign, all of which will put you in command of either US or NATO forces. Sadly, you won't be able to experience the plot from the Russian perspective, but it is possible to control units of the Red Army in the game's multiplayer mode. (Can you say expansion pack? - Ed)
Players who didn't get a chance to try out the World in Conflict demo, should probably go through the game's tutorial, in order to grasp all the options, unit abilities, etc. The interface is intuitive and it won't take you too long to get the hang of things. Camera movement should be easy to handle for experienced and rookie gamers alike. Camera movement across the maps is handled in most part with WASD keys, so the control scheme seems almost like a hybrid of standard real-time strategy and FPS controls.
Unlike most real-time strategies, World in Conflict dismisses the idea of typical resource gathering, giving you a chance to concentrate on the gameplay, without any unnecessary micromanagement. You are given a certain amount of reinforcement points, which allow you to call in for backup when the going gets tough. As you come closer to your objective, you are likely to receive more reinforcement points.
The really cool thing about World in Conflict is that it never restricts players in terms of the tactics they can use on the battlefield. In almost every mission, it's possible to rely on a variety of special attacks that usually include napalm strikes, laser guided bombs, tank-buster strikes, a diversity of artillery barrages and so on. If you're overwhelmed by enemy choppers and have no flying units of your own, just call in an air-to-air strike and watch as your jets wipe them off the map. Of course, be quick when ordering the attack, before the choppers move out of the targeted area.
In most missions, it's easy to find a preferable strategy and execute it on the fly, using a series of different attacks. The smart thing to do is to use aerial recon (it's available in most missions) before making the first move against your foe. When you zero in on enemy positions, just call in artillery barrages and a few quick air strikes, after which you can send in a mix of air and land units to finish the job - repair units are a must, of course. The strategy can be applied to the multiplayer as well.
The atmosphere of large-scale battles is another praise-worthy facet of this game. It's obvious the development team took every precaution to make every scenario believable. In one of the missions, after a long and intense battle, your forces will be compelled to call in a nuclear strike. The next mission commences in the nuclear aftermath, as you strive to reassemble scattered forces. There was also a noteworthy visual element here. As the mushroom cloud slowly disperses, the once vivid surroundings transform, making way for a grayish, grainy kind of ambience, as the dreaded sound of the Geiger counter activates in the background, indicating high levels of radiation. With such moments, Massive manages to hold the player's attention, while maintaining the flow of storyline at the same time. The game is crammed with such scenes, compelling you to play on.
Convincing story presentation and characters in single-player, addictive multiplayer, great visuals and audio, variety of units and options, well-designed maps;
At times too demanding for your average rig, especially when playing larger maps, infrequent pathfinding issues; Russian campaign would've been great.