I remember my first real-time strategy game. It was Dune II, and the year was 1995. A friend of mine suggested I try this unusual game, which he described as the ultimate blend of strategy and action. I was hooked instantly and played Dune II for many, many nights until my faction secured the lands of Arrakis by defeating all of its enemies. My addiction for RTS games was born.
Since then, I have played many RTS games; each brought a new innovation to the genre. Over the past few years, I felt that the transition into the 3D battlefield has been rather slow and uninspiring. Company of Heroes was a nice attempt and, overall, a great game. However, it carried with it a level of strategic resource management that I did not care for. I wanted the next-gen RTS game to focus more on the actual battlefield mechanics rather than the "behind the war" resource management.
I always have appreciated the level of detail in 2D isometric RTS games. Nevertheless, I have continued to wait for that perfect RTS with the detailed 3D visuals, intuitive strategic and tactical gameplay, sharp artificial intelligence, no dirt farming, and above all, no resource management.
The wait is over folks. My dream RTS has arrived. World in Conflict is the new chess! It is fast-paced, has a perfect paper-rock-scissors game design, deep story narrated by Alex Baldwin and comes with mind-bending 3D visuals. One more thing — the game features the ultimate showdown: Soviet Union vs. the U.S./NATO. If you are old enough to remember the Cold War, you will have a deep appreciation for the portrayed fictional conflict.
The in-game battles are ultra-realistic, and the savagery of war swiftly can turn a peaceful town into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Everything on the 3D battlefield is destructible just like in the real world. This is a huge tactical and aesthetic bonus.
World in Conflict is intuitive to play. The learning curve is not steep, and within minutes, you will be waging war — provided that you have some basic familiarity with the RTS game genre. If you are completely new to this type of gaming, a very fast-moving yet thorough tutorial section will get you running in no time.
Massive Entertainment, the developer of World in Conflict, has a long history of making such RTS classics. In World of Conflict, the developers have taken the best aspects of their previous two games and integrated them into the successor. World of Conflict is revolutionary in many ways that set it apart from other currently available RTS games. You will experience deformable 3D terrain, total destruction, multiplayer specific roles based on the chosen branch of armed forces, ultra realistic DX10 visuals (i.e., God Rays), and an engaging single-player campaign. This is the true evolution in RTS games.
The gameplay is realistic, as both the single-player and multiplayer portions of the game allow you to control a small group of units. In addition, the game rewards you for good gameplay with tactical bonus points, which can be used to purchase such things as precision airstrikes, artillery fire, etc. The ultimate tactical extra is the tactical nuke, which can be very useful. There are no tank rushes in World of Conflict. You can't just amass 50 tanks and run over your opponent. You have to think within the limitations of what you have but realize that you will be given reinforcements, albeit with little experience. In other words: Veteran status helps in the single-player campaign, and one should carefully take on the enemy.
There are three types of units in each of the four main military branches (infantry, air, armor and support). For instance, one can choose between a heavy main battle tank, medium tank or light tank. Each unit has its advantages and disadvantages. Heavy tanks are excellent at both offense and defense on a large battlefield. The downside is that they are expensive, ineffective in urban areas and can be decimated by helicopters if they lack anti-aircraft units. These attributes apply to each unit within all military branches. What is amazing in World of Conflict is that no single unit is the king of the battlefield. It takes a specific combination of units to achieve a certain task.
The multiplayer aspect of WiC is both innovative and a lot of fun. You essentially take on a specific branch of the military within your team (i.e., controlling your team's air force). This type of team-oriented gameplay ties together the overall effort and brings an entirely new approach to RTS multiplayer.
There is built-in voice over IP communication, which makes strategizing with your allies easy. World in Conflict supports up to 16 players in both local area network and online configurations.
WiC is a graphically scalable game. If your computer is about two years old and can run Battlefield 2 you should have no problems. You can further improve the game's performance by turning off such features as dynamic shadows and by toning down numerous other special effects.
Overall, World in Conflict is an excellent progression in the realm of RTS games. It is intuitive, highly addictive, fun and, above all, worth every penny. It earns my top recommendation.