I want to kill a quick rumor about this title. This is not just a multiplayer add-on to the original game. Order of War: Challenge
has every right to be considered a standalone game. When I saw the price point of $9.99 on STEAM, I was very surprised. If you own OoW
, you do not have to purchase this add-on. It will be installed automatically. There is a ton of new gameplay material, plus 12 new maps. There is even a Co-Op Mode. I had to dust off my GameSpy network password to get started, because they are hosting the servers, but it was not a large intrusion. Most gamers have already had to cross this bridge for other games.
Once you have logged in, everything you need is right there for you in the lobby. You can search for, or create, a game in the Games Room. Automatch is the quick-start option that will throw you in a game with players of similar skill. If that game is not available, you will move to the Games Room. This prevents you from getting thrown into a match against a superior opponent. You can view your statistics, which translates mostly to how many units you have lost. There is nothing more sobering than to look at the number of your fallen digital warriors to remind you that you're not the military strategist you thought you were. Lastly, there is a Leaderboard so you can see who is the military strategist that they think they are.
Creating a game in the Games Room will show you everything that is new and cool about this game. There are 12 maps and six game modes to mix and match into many interesting scenarios. You first choose if you want two or four opponents. Two of the six game variants are affected by this decision. You can only play Survival, Co-Op Mode, with two human players versus the A.I. The Free for All is played with four players. The remaining four can be played with either two or four players. Secure the Base demands you secure not only your base, but your opponents' as well. Expansion creates several control points you must hold while neutralizing your enemy. Instant Battle creates a balanced head to head battle that is won with tactics over expansion. Last was my favorite, called Mercenaries. In this mode, you hired your army from a finite resource pool. This made your decisions when creating your army as important as the tactics you want to use to defeat the opponent.
Each of the new maps presents a very different way of looking at the field of battle. Standard rules apply here when it comes to any map-based game, be it an FPS or RTS, which is know the map or die. Expect to have some growing pains, even if you were good at the original OoW, as playing real opponents is different every time.