by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
All strategy games are equal...
It is an oft-heard complaint that real-time strategy games are all pretty much the same.
These days they really only come in two flavors; games where you are required to build a base and wage war from there, and games that require you to wage war to earn the reinforcements that are needed to be victorious. The latter often leaves you feeling not quite ready to attack, yet forced to do so anyway, because no reinforcements will come unless you do. The economic aspects of the first however, give you some control over how large your army is, and as a result this ‘flavor’ has always been more appealing to me... And then... came World in Conflict.
Commanding an army, or small part of it anyway
The year is 1989 and The Berlin Wall is still standing as firmly as it ever did and – in this version of history at least – hordes of Russians are crawling over it to invade Europe. NATO, not being prepared for this act of aggression, is overrun and pushed back to defend itself along the German borders. You play Lieutenant Parker and are part of an effort by the US army to stop the Russian invasion. In that capacity, you command a wide variety of military units while carrying out the orders of your commanding officer, Colonel Sawyer.
That is not to say that you will be commanding a big army. Most often you will find yourself in control of a small force, allowing you to concentrate on a small part of the overall battle. But that doesn’t mean battles are small. The battlefield occasionally flares up with high concentrations of red and blue dots that depict enemy and friendly units. Other commanders are fighting to achieve their goals right along side of you and although these don’t immediately affect your chances of victory, it is done so well that you do feel a part of a bigger whole.
Earn ‘m, to spend ‘m
World in Conflict won’t let you build bases. Its only economy comes in the form of reinforcement points that you will have to earn on the battlefield. Most missions have phases during which you earn no points whatsoever, until you have achieved a particular goal and a large batch of points becomes available. At other times, simply destroying enemy units will cause points to slowly make their way to your ‘account’.
Spending these points is fun, but not as easy as it sounds. You will have to think ahead and not of the now. New units can only be dropped in certain areas on the map and take some time before they are flown in. They are rarely able to land where they are needed so the battle situation may have changed completely by the time they first see action. Having ordered infantry to deal with infantry is no use when the enemy has since brought in a regiment of tanks, right? So thinking ahead pays off and is often the difference between failure and victory.
No Pros and Cons at this time