World in Conflict
World in Conflict Review
Review By Dan @ 08:23am 24/09/07
Forget all about base building, unit training and resource collection. World in Conflict utilises a system similar to developer Massive Entertainment's 'Ground Control' titles, wherein your units are air-dropped onto the battlefield and reinforcements are supplied periodically. The more units you currently have in your command, the slower your reinforcement allowance accumulates, ultimately moderating the maximum amount of units in the scenario.
The units themselves are divided into four distinct groups, armour, air, infantry and support and all function in the rock/paper/scissors function's you would expect. In addition to their regular attack, each unit has both a special defence and offence ability adding yet another level of micro-management, accessed easily via hotkeys. Speaking of keys, control is another area where WIC differs from its current competitors - camera control being manipulated by the WASD keys, movement that will be instantly familiar to any first-person shooter players. The similarities with FPS gaming don't end there as I'll touch on more later with multiplayer.
First up though, singleplayer. WIC features a fully fleshed out story-driven solo campaign - objective based gameplay scenarios linked together with in-engine cut-scenes and radio orders. The storyline itself, despite a susceptibility to cheese, has been surprisingly well executed - a fact almost certainly due to the involvement of military novelist Larry Bond, perhaps best known as the co-author of Red Storm Rising with one Mr Tom Clancy.
Graphically, World in Conflict gets all the ticks. The engine is amazingly scalable, allowing both panning views of the entire battlefield and the ability to zoom right in on individual troops at street level with a level of detail once again comparable to first person shooter. Performance is similarly remarkable - any top level gaming rig will be able to get the most out of this game, while older machines will still be able to obtain playable frame-rates if they cut back on some of the trimmings. The game does also support several DirectX 10 only features, but in this gamer's opinion, aside from the handy dual monitor option (tactical map on one screen, action on the other) it's mostly just fluff. Sure, volumetric clouds and terrain deformation do look pretty but don't add all that much to an already lush looking game - not enough to justify a card upgrade for DX 10 compact if your frame-rates are otherwise fine, at any rate.
In the team-focused multiplayer modes, each player can choose only one of the doctrines (but can switch between them as the battle requires): armour, air, infantry or support, so tactical cooperation is vital to success. The interface allows for quick visual tactical requests such as requesting air-support or artillery, which will display an objective icon for your team-mates to accept. Voice chat is supported out of the box and tactical aid points can be transferred among your team mates. Almost have enough T.A. for that nuke? Ask your buddies to spare some of theirs.
All in all, World in Conflict is a worthy purchase for any real-time strategy fan or any team-based shooter regular that wants to try something different. The singleplayer, while well fleshed out, is ultimately forgettable, but the work invested in the multiplayer platform provides the potential for countless hours of real gaming entertainment here anyway. It's certain to please most visual-quality nuts and those nukes look spectacular no matter how you configure your graphic settings.