Previews// Tom Clancy's EndWar

Posted 4 Nov 2008 08:50 by
Games: Tom Clancy's EndWar
If you’ve ever played a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game on a console before, chances are you’ll know that it’s not exactly the most wieldy experience in the world. The genre seems best suited to the PC, simply because a mouse and keyboard is best for managing what you see on the screen – a bird’s eye view of the entire battlefield.

UbiSoft Shanghai’s EndWar is different to most console RTSes though, because you control all the action using your voice. Equipped with some impressive recognition technology, commanding units is as simple as holding down the Right Trigger and speaking into the microphone.

Every military and hostile unit is numbered, so you need only say, “Unit One, Attack Hostile Two” in order to engage in combat. Other commands, such as deploying new units, securing uplink stations and ordering air strikes are achieved using a similar voice phrase. You can even group more than one unit together and call all your units to rain hell on your opponent’s base – or retreat if you’re getting beat down.

The result is a totally new approach in console RTS gameplay, which circumvents the immediate issue of having to replicate the intuitive controls of a keyboard and mouse. Other changes include the position of the camera itself – rather than go for a classic overview of the entire map, EndWar moves the perspective to a third person view, behind whatever unit you’re currently focusing on. A miniature map in the corner of the screen details exactly where every unit is placed.

While there are plenty of input and camera differences which break from the norm, EndWar still feels like a classic RTS underneath, right down to the execution of story and the campaign mode. The year is 2020, and World War Three has broken out between the main three factions left on the planet: the US Joint Strike Force, known for their impressive air and ground assaults; the European Federation Enforcers Corps, which specialise in electronic warfare; the Russian Spetsnaz Guards Brigade, famed for their defence and competence in armoury.

When you start the game, you’re treated to the World Map, which is littered with different coloured hexagons representing the occupation of a particular faction. Orange spaces are controlled by the US; Europe reigns over the blue areas and the greens belong to Russia.

Like a game of Risk, the World War is broken up into turns and phases, with the opportunity for each faction to attack and defend one of their occupied areas. You won’t be able to play in every mission presented to you, so you have to make tactical decisions as to which strategy is most important: conquest or defence.

After you’ve made a mission choice, you’re directed to the Deployment screen, where you can choose your starting units out of a potential two or three. These units will end up in your landing zone, denoted on the map you see there. You also get a chance to see the Generals that you will be playing against – in the single player campaign, these will be AI opponents that each have a different style of play, and dynamically change their strategy based on your own abilities and strengths.

In an online game, you’ll see your human nemesis and rank. As you progress throughout the game you get to ‘level up’ your troops and upgrade their weaponry too, and you can use your own strengths to their weaknesses.
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Games: Tom Clancy's EndWar

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