Although the PC market is continuously flooded with real time strategy games, I can never have enough, especially if we’re talking about old school titles. Yes, I’m a sucker for classic RTS games in which I have to build a base, build a huge army and win instead of becoming a “true” general winning battles with less troops but more courage and skill. Maybe because I’m not too skilled when it comes to such games… who knows?
The truth is that Tom Clancy’s EndWar didn’t sound, at first, like a game created for me. With bling-blings and a gameplay that reminded me of World in Conflict (another high quality title I couldn’t really digest), Ubisoft‘s strategy made me buy it just with the offering of the innovative control scheme – which, to be honest, was made for the console version since RTS titles are impossible to play without a mouse and keyboard.
But we’ll get to that a bit later – right now, let’s see what does Tom Clancy’s EndWar deliver in terms of story. In a few words, I’d be tempted to say “not too much”. We have the conflict which arises out of nowhere to change things around a little: Russia becomes the most powerful nation in the world, the Western Europe unifies into a single nation and the US strive to survive, while the other nations simply vanquish, since three playable factions is already too much, right? So let there be war – World War III, in other words. And that’s it!
But what the game is missing story-wise is corrected by the awesome gameplay and concept, right? Well… not really! I mean – it depends what you want from a real time strategy title. If you’re up for a more “casual” type of game, you’ll love EndWar! The gameplay is simplistic and shallow (it’s a console port, after all, and we all know how limited consoles are when it comes to strategies) and it gives you control over a limited number of units – no bases, no repairs, nothing except for the limited option of replacing the units. Which, unfortunately, are not too varied in the first place: we have the classic rock-paper-scissors type of play and all factions have almost identical units. At least the balancing of the factions is perfect, right?
The biggest feature of title is, after all, the ability to use voice command and in this case, it’s a must use feature since it makes things much easier and it really offers a great experience. If you have a helmet to put on while playing, you’ll probably feel you’re a true general on the battlefield. It’s that intense! Unfortunately, you shouldn’t let yourself to get too carried away since the voice commands should generally be spoken calmly. And it’s kind of awkward to stay there and calmly order your killing machines to do their job. But probably Ubisoft also wanted to make sure that gamers of the future are calm and cool.
A big problem with Tom Clancy’s Endwar is the units AI. Although it’s not a big surprise anymore to see infantry units staying like sitting ducks and taking fire, calmly waiting for your orders to retreat, but it’s still frustrating. The same can be said by the pathfinding of the units who tend to get into each other’s way or into debris blocking the way, but if you pay some attention to what’s happening on the screen, it’ll be fine – even though that might be a problem from time to time, since the camera too goes crazy every now and then, making your life harder. But take a deep breath of air, since you have to calmly tell your troops what to do next!
Another problem related to the bad camera position and the voice command system is the numeric assignments of the opposing troops which will often be tough to decipher and therefore you will have to wait and get some unnecessary fire. Which is very, very frustrating.
However, playing Tom Clancy’s EndWar is not at all as bad of an experience as it might sound. Actually, the game is pretty simple and I’m sure the more casual players, as well as those new to the genre will have no problem adapting to the game. And they’ll also love most of the features, too – especially the ability to carry over veteran units and purchase weapons and skills to the units. It adds a welcomed bit of diversity and overall expands the game.
Visually, Tom Clancy’s EndWar rises up to today’s standards and delivers some absolutely beautiful graphics – even better looking than the eye candy which was World in Conflict. The sound is also flawlessly done and adds up to a great experience.
EndWar is not a title to be played by the most hardcore RTS fans since it lacks the depth of a genuine computer real time strategy game. However, for a new experience, some quick gameplay and intense action, as well as the voice command system, Tom Clancy’s EndWar is a valuable product which will most likely be enjoyed to the max by the more casual players. The game is not a diamond, but it’s much better than many other RTS games.
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