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Massive Assault Network

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Wargaming.net
Developer: Wargaming.net
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Wargaming.net has taken their flagship title Massive Assault online with a re-release of the game, now with expanded multiplayer components. Dubbed Massive Assault Network, the core gameplay remains unchanged. As I said in my preview, this is a good thing, as it was pretty perfect the way it was. The big change is they have expanded the multiplayer component to include ranks, matchmaking, chat, and some new maps. There will also be a subscription fee for using these services.

The game's visuals were very nice for a game like Massive Assault, and they are only improved in Massive Assault Network. As I said in my Massive Assault review, the terrain and water look fantastic. The vehicles look great, are easy to recognize and easy to tell apart. The weapon effects and explosions are excellent. A battlefield that was once quiet and still while you were thinking about your strategy suddenly comes alive in missile fire and explosions as you begin making attacks.

The interface is equally impressive. It's very easy to make the interface for a strategy game cumbersome and hard to use. However, Massive Assault's interface is clean, streamlined, and just plain old perfect. Aside from when I was riding the usual learning curve, I was never confused by what I saw onscreen. The interface is a tiny bit clunkier for some online components. One has to go into the main menu to do things like send messages and such, rather than just having them built into the game's HUD.

The music of Massive Assault Network isn't going to win any awards, but it works well for this game. I've said that the true test of a game's music comes down to one simple fact. Does the player leave it on or turn it off? Well, I still don't turn this one's off.


Simplicity is the heart of what made Massive Assault is so much fun. It's true that this is a turn-based strategy game, but the gameplay is focused almost solely on combat. There is no resource gathering/management, no city building, and no technology tree to climb. This game is about buying armies to destroy other armies. My comparison to chess stands; Massive Assault Network is, in many ways, an advanced form of chess.

Lemme see if I can't summarize the gameplay for you. At its core it's about combat. The map is, technically, hex-based though you'll never notice hexes. You have an army of tanks, mobile rocket launchers, mechs, etc. Every unit has four battle statistics: armor, movement, attack, and range. A map has several bases on it. Every base you have under your control nets you cash each turn to buy more units. The only real twist is that you start off with several bases under your control called secret allies. The thing is, the enemy doesn't know they are under your control. You can reveal secret allies at the most opportune times to get the drop on the enemy. Of course the enemy has secret allies too; so you have to stay on your toes.


How does the old adage go, 'easy to learn, hard to master'? That explains Massive Assault Network to a 't'. The game gives you plenty of tutorial missions and scenarios to hone your combat strategy, but challenging human players is the focus of Massive Assault Network. This isn't Starcraft or Civilization; you can't just buy a butt load of the 'best' units and win. You're going to need to think long and hard about which units you decide to send out.

Game Mechanics:

The next paragraph is straight from my preview, and since nothing has really changed since then, neither has the paragraph. Since a single turn can take awhile to plan out, much less an entire match, the focus isn't on playing one game at a time. Rather, it seems to be set up for having several ongoing matches at once. It tends to work like this: you come home, start up Massive Assault Network, take your turn in several matches, and call it a day. The multiplayer window has several tabs that lets you list of all the games you are currently in. One list shows matches in which it is your turn, and another lists the matches in which you are still waiting for the other player to take their turn. There's a section for matchmaking and challenging opponents, and the last area is for chat.

The interface is a little non-intuitive at times. It took me a while to figure out how to send players messages in matches, and how to surrender, but on the whole it's pretty easy to figure out. I do have something positive to say on the mechanics front though. The game includes a rewind and undo button so that if you notice a mistake while you're moving and attacking units during your turn, you can go back and fix them. This is only during your current turn though of course.

Some may question charging players for a game that is essentially identical to the old one but adds a few maps and multiplayer components. However, players of the original Massive Assault get three months free, which is approximately the cost of the game. I said in my Massive Assault review that the game was pure gaming gold. The same can be said of Massive Assault Network. If you're a fan of Massive Assault, there's no reason not go pick up the newest incarnation of this game.

-Alucard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Stephen Triche

Minimum System Requirements:

Win98/2000/ME/XP, 256 MB RAM, 600 MHz CPU x86 compatible, 8x CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, 32MB Directx 8.1 compatible video card, 650MB HDD Free Space, TCP/IP connection for Internet play

Test System:

Win98, 448 MB RAM, 700 MHz Pentium III, Geforce 4 MX 420

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