by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
When units then actually reach the warzone, another issue arises – that of pinpointing enemy troops in combat. Clicking ever so slightly adjacent to an enemy unit will result in your valuable unit walking right up to the enemy, guiding his way into enemy fire in doing so. So, instead of attacking from a nice safe position, troops will ultimately end up as casualties of war. And when I say each of your units is valuable, it is because gamers are only allowed a maximum of nine of each unit type. I guess this eliminates tank rushes, but it means that one erroneous click could lose a close battle.
It’s not all bad news on the gameplay front though. If you do manage to attack enemy troops, Elements of War does a reasonable job with terrain advantages. Units will make good use of the terrain they are in, with infantry in forests having decidedly better cover, whilst hills provide an extended viewing distance. This makes it much easier to see where enemy troops are positioned.
And Elements of War does have some interesting gameplay mechanics, especially as you progress through the game and gain access to some of the ‘elemental’ weapons. The use of these weather-controlling vehicles adds some originality into an otherwise standard range of infantry units, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and medics. The various weather effects are certainly enjoyable to experiment with.
It’s Raining Men
Another feature that works well for the most part is the Tactical Point mechanic. In Elements of War, there is no need for resource gathering. Instead, points are earned of completing mission objectives. The points earned can then be used to call in reinforcements. The one fault of this feature comes about when some completed mission objectives do not register, thus denying gamers of bolstering their armies. Weather effects also hinder the reinforcement process; causing gamers to have to wait until the storm has passed before the new recruits (or vehicles) can be dropped into the warzone. I personally quite like this mechanic though as it adds a touch of realism to the battles.
The interface is quite good too. The interface features are well laid out around the screen and are simple to navigate. Everything is easily accessible with simple to understand icons. And each section of the interface, be it the mini-map or the unit commands can be hidden away to keep the display uncluttered. Units can also be simply grouped together. Units of a similar type can be selected with a double-click on one of that type. Icons above the unit types make it easy to distinguish the small units from each other, which would be nigh on impossible if this wasn’t the case.
So, despite Elements of War having some cool features, the lack of polish and particularly the issue with path-finding, reduce this game to a mediocre Real Time Strategy title. Also, with just twelve single player missions, and all the problems with the game, there will be little encouragement for gamers to play through more than once. Elements of War can certainly be quite fun to play when you can look past the faults but it could have been so much better. Although, with a budget price and some unique game mechanics it could certainly be worth a look if you are an avid fan of real time strategies and want a game with a new take on the genre.
Some nice new features with the weather controlling vehicles
Looks and plays like something out the Red Alert era