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SummaryI really wanted to like this game...
The GoodI really did...
Yes there is something about seeing the statue of liberty and the Soviet hammer and sickle on the front of the box with nuclear explosions on the back.
The story to the game (as if we really care with an RTS) is that the Soviet Union did not fall in 1991, rather got organized and launched a surprise attack on the United States by invading US ports while transporting military hardware disguised as cargo vessels. A sudden and surprise attack on American soil by Soviet forces was covered (rather ridiculously) in a movie known as, "Red Dawn", but instead of having to rely on high school kids to defend America, we have the US military.
The graphics in the game are probably the best of any RTS, and will likely remain that way for a long time to come. The camera angle and positions is an entirely new and breakthrough approach. For those of you familiar with Virtus Walkthrough Pro, it's something like that perspective but with better graphics. You can even go down to street level in first person and enter some buildings and walk alongside troops and armor. While it was possible to do this in Company of Heroes, the big difference here is that the game can be played from this perspective, where CoH could not. You could force a top down view, but it's actually harder to play the game that way, and the maps can be very large which further makes that perspective impractical.
There are a wide variety of off the map attacks and strikes as well. From mortar attacks, artillery, and chemical agents or nuclear strikes, to air dropping in tanks, infantry, or other supplies, a large part of the game is deciding on how to spend your "resources" (well, the game doesn't really have resources, you earn points that can be used for off map strikes by killing enemies) on which type of attack will be most effective against a certain type of enemy.
The sounds are decent, nothing new, but the nuclear explosions are the best and most realistic I've seen. The action is hot and fast moving, especially when you play online and have an 8 vs. 8 match with everyone dropping in units, firing artillery at hard targets, or conducting operations based on their roles.
In multiplayer, you can decide the type of role you wish to play. Support has access to artillery and anti-aircraft equipment. Air has helicopters, infantry is self-explanatory. What's more is that each individual unit typically has a special attack and defense which can be used and has a cooldown timer. Tanks have a smoke screen making them hard to hit, Bradley vehicles have a TOW missile which is good against other vehicles, infantry can sprint, etc.
Lastly, the multiplay is smooth, easy to connect to, responsive, and well executed. Rare in a brand spanking new release.
The BadShock and awe! Have you ever heard the term, "if you can't win 'em with words, baffle 'em with bullshit?". That would describe this game, for me at least. There is no doubt that the graphics, camera angles, and level of intensity as 16 people lay down airstrikes and artillery barrages is unmatched. But when we take a look at the actually gameplay, a lot is left to be desired...
For one, there are no bases and no resources per se. You have an unlimited number of units to call upon, although limited in the number/type you can have on the battlefield at once. This means that you can never be knocked out of the fight unless all of your territories are captured or the game timer runs out and the side with the most points wins. I am just as strong towards the end of the game with your army controlling the map as I was at the beginning of the game.
The combat is less reliant on tactics, and more reliant on the type of role you and your partners are playing. For example, everything is basically set up as a rock/paper/scissors type thing. Choppers destroy tanks, tanks destroy anti-aircraft, anti-aircraft destroys choppers. With rare exception, if you don't have your rock vs. their scissors, you will lose. If your team focused at the beginning of the match on air defense, and they went for ground offense with tanks, you lose. Too often the game is determined before it starts.
Units do not move quickly enough, so once someone decides to attack your units, it's pointless to try to move them out of harms way. They'll never be able to get away. I even chase down choppers with my AA and can stay in range as I shoot them down while they run. Poor. To make matters worse, you can see enemy units approaching, long before they are even in firing range. There are no sneak attacks, everything is out in the open, it's just a spam fest (spam is a term sometimes used in video gaming to describe random chaos).
What's more, there is zero defense against off target bombardment. If you can be seen, you can be hit, and you can be seen almost everywhere on the map.
Micromanagement is possible, but not rewarded. Sure, infantry moves slowly but I can move them into transports to get them into the action quicker right? But that's a moot point. The time it takes to move the infantry into and out of transports, I could have just changed my drop zone to where I wanted to be and drop more units there.
On the third multiplayer game I ever played, I took the very top spot in a 16 person game, over people that were ranked very high. What did I do? Just run units into the dogpile of enemy units at the center of the map. I didn't use strategy, tactics, or any kind of thinking. I just clicked on units to attack at the center.
The campaign? There is only one, and its hindered by all of the voice acting. You spend more time listening to reality TV type drama between officers bitching about this and that than you do actually playing the campaign. There is even a button to skip dialogue, the designers must have known it was that cumbersome. I like a little story with my action, but the campaign is silly and ridiculous.
The worst mistake with this game? All sides be it NATO, US, or USSR are pretty much identical. A terrible error! In reality, there are stark differences between US, European, and Soviet battle strategies, and the equipment varies greatly as a result of this, but not in WiC. All sides have access to the same arsenal that has the same strengths and weaknesses that do the same things. The only difference is the name of the unit and its graphic. How could they make all of the sides identical!?