A damned shame that the gameplay almost ruined it for me. Dogs of War
is a real-time strategy game, in the line of Ground Control
-- leaning heavily towards the tactics and less so towards the entrenched strategic warfare from the likes of Command & Conquer
and Dune II
. The problem is that the game is damnably difficult, and has a host of odd little, err, quirks that make the game considerably more antagonistic than it needs to be.
I’ll get into the Difficulty bit in the appropriate section, so let me talk about the rest of the game. You start each mission with a briefing, giving you the general gist of what you’ll need to do to accomplish the mission correctly. Then you go to the load-out screen where you assign the available troops to the various vehicles that you have at your disposal. As you progress in the game, your troops are promoted. As they are promoted, they become better at what they do -- faster, smarter, tougher. I like this a whole lot as it gives the game something of a continuity that games like this often lack. It also pisses the hell out of you when you see your fourth-level dude get nuked by indirect fire. Argh. You can also sometimes buy new hardware for the mission, giving you an added advantage should you pick the right troops for the job.
The battles themselves in Dogs of War are negotiated in classic RTS style, grouping troops, moving them around to the best locations, and engaging the enemy. Because of the 3D nature of the game, you can use the map’s natural defenses to your advantage, hiding behind hills and whatnot. Unfortunately, the 3D nature also bites you in the ass more often than not. This is especially evident in the Direct Control mode.
In Direct Control mode, you jump into the body/vehicle/whatever that you’ve clicked on and get to move that person around. It controls something like Abuse would have controlled had it made the jump to 3D. You move around with the keyboard and aim with the mouse. This is fantastic for units with long-range weaponry like certain tanks and snipers, as you can climb to a certain location and aim from afar, not relying on the A.I. to jump out and get killed. Problem is, it doesn’t work quite like it should. You can have perfectly clear LOS to a unit, and the game will pretend like there’s a large obstruction in the way, even when there isn’t. You often have to get to the very edge of a hillock or mountain before you can fire, and although I know that it would block it partially, there’s no way that it should be blocking as much as I see it. I’ve been running down a slight gradient and have not been able to hit a unit five “feet” in front of me because of some crazy LOS thing. This is absolutely ridiculous.
Did I mention the game was hard?