The Cold War Goes Hot
Product: World in Conflict
Company: Sierra
Date: 07/19/2007
Avaliable On:

What if the Berlin Wall never fell? What if the U.S.S.R. was able to get a foothold on Europe. What if World War III ended up on America's door step? These are the questions asked by Massive Entertainment and the frightening answer is a massive battle on American soil.

World in Conflict is a real-time strategy game that cuts out all the fat and just goes straight for the action. The game boasts 23 multiplayer maps and 14 single-player ones. In the single-player campaign, you will control US troops in America for about 40% of the battles, while NATO's forces will be at your command in Europe for 30% and the rest of the fights will take place in Mother Russia.

World in Conflict does several things in order to attempt to appeal to a wider audience than the standard RTS gamers. One of the changes they made was to mess with the control scheme. While playing through the game, you will control the camera and troop movement in a style very similar to the FPS style. This means that people who find the controls of standard RTS too removed and hard to control might have a better chance of picking up this title.

Players can take on one of four specialist roles in their battles. These are Armor, Support, Air and Infantry. The benefits to being one of these types of players is that soldiers and equipment that fit into those roles are cheaper for you than the other types. When you start up a match, the game suggests a role for you based on which of the other roles are currently filled by other players. Then its off to the battlefields where you can start sending out your troops based on an allotted amount of credits.

In order to prevent you from needing to gather resources in order to buy more troops, the game will reimburse you the cost of any troops that fall. This means that you can keep recycling your resources until one of the two sides has achieved the win condition. This lack of having to gather resources, and the fact that all of the towns already exist, is how Massive Entertainment streamlined the gameplay so that you can go straight to the meat of World in Conflict. This is the other change the developers made to the stereotypical RTS in order to get a wider audience into the game.

It looks like World in Conflict answers a lot of non-RTS gamer's problems with the genre, but it will be interesting to see if hardcore strategists will still find this title interesting.

Look for the PC version of World in Conflict to come out this November with eight versus eight action, while the 360 variety will be later with four versus four gameplay.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated