previewed on X360
End of the world?
When a game assumes that you completely understand the fundamentals of the gameplay that the game entitles, you will find that what seems great on the surface becomes nothing more than a frustrating experience of misery and woe. Or, you could try learning the game before diving in. Yet if the game doesn't throw you a bone, you are a sitting duck. Even those determined to learn and play have a challenge with Ubisoft's latest creation, Tom Clancy's EndWar. I feel a bit bad for implying the game is nothing more than rubbish because quite frankly, it isn't. Still, it was hard to love at first sight.
Hook, line and sinker
For all the World War II games out, it is great that Ubisoft decided to pick a war that isn't based on that dreaded campaign. Even better, they picked one that hasn't happened yet, allowing the developers to run wild and create what is a surprisingly interesting story. You find yourself part of the United States forces as they try to deploy a space station capable of many militaristic maneuvers. The two other supreme world powers, Russia and the European Union, don't take kindly to this. Add in an unknown terrorist group and you have a cauldron of excitement that is bound to lead to World War 3, and it does. You have to take control of the American armed forces and delve into combat you won't find anywhere else.
Easily the clearest draw is that you will find a relatively abundant amount of current global issues still in play in this amazing war scenario. Set a few decades in the future, oil is still a huge factor, even of the upmost importance for a nation to survive. Russia, who has most of the world's natural gas and oil supplies, profits from its booming economy by spending on its arsenal to secure itself. On the other hand, America is still trying to convince everyone that it is the most superior nation with militaristic space defenses capable of deploying what is essentially living hell on anyone that spits in there direction. In the middle is a pissed-off European Federation who is on the verge of starting a global-scale war.
Even though EndWar doesn't take place at this day and age, it is so close that it makes it hard not to be drawn in. Fascinating is only one of many words to describe Ubisoft's in-depth take on the near future. Not only that, but don't feel surprised when most of the sparks that may start the fire of World War III are things you may feel troubling in your own life. I'm not going so far to say you are fighting a personal battle here, but it gets pretty close.
Don't panic... much
Real-time strategy has never been my thing. In fact, strategy titles have often been so confusing in certain situations that they just frustrated me. EndWar, sadly, does nothing to remedy this. It seemed to worsen the part of my brain that just can't deal with this kind of game. Simply put, EndWar is not a pick-up-and-play game. You can't just jump in and expect to blow everything to pieces. The worst part is that EndWar slaps you in the face and forces you to get right into it without much warning. Granted, I didn't find the lowest difficulty that hard on the first mission, but I wasn't wiping the floor with the enemy either.