Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tom Clancy's EndWar First Impressions

I downloaded the demo of EndWar today. For those who are unaware, EndWar is a RTS for the Xbox 360. Normally, I avoid these with a a vengeance, so what is the difference? It is controlled by your voice. So what it it actually like?

Well, actually, it was rather good. Technically, the voice recognition is fantastic. My only gripe with the actual tech is that is always tries to assign what you said to something. Whilst this is good to a certain extent, when you use the wrong word for rifle men, say infantry, you might accidentally deploy a tank. However, that is a small gripe - providing you say the right word, it is 100% perfect in my experience. The thing takes a couple of seconds to respond, making giving orders to multiple units quickly difficult. However, this is resolved with a easy to use grouping system.

Commanding with your voice may be a good laugh, but it is also a very effective way of controlling your forces in the absence of your mouse. You will be pleased to know that haven't been excesive, as is the case with some Wii games, and it really does feel like it has got the balance between your voice and your controller allowing efficient control of your troops. The whole game is suited to the voice command, the battle's happen before your eyes in a very up-close manner. The whole experience is very hands-on.

Even when you take away the voice control - how this game is controlled is suited to the console. It is possible to play without the mic, and I think this is a perfect demonstration of how an RTS can be adapted to the console. Simplify, zoom in and limit. The mouse and keyboard gives the user so much control, obviously a PC player can handle more. This is why I have faith in this and Halo Wars, console-only is the only way that you will get a game that controls well. A player can't manage a huge army, buildings, an economy and still form a logical plan of attack with two joysticks.

As for the actual gameplay, it is suited well to the controls. You must take objectives. Your units, of which there are a thankfully limited 8, all have simple strengths and weaknesses. The aim is to capture key points - which can only be done with infantry. However, you must protect the infantry, as they do not stand a chance against tanks or helicopters. While tactics aren't hugely diverse- defend your troops while they take the points, use special powers towards the end - as the points are scattered across the maps, your forces must maintain cohesion if you hope to hold on to the ones you have captured and captured more.

That is, if there is a higher difficulty. As per with all demos, this game was very easy. It did, however, offer a nice rating system that ranks how well you performed in the match (on both combat and mobility) One of the most exciting features about this game - a persistent battle world online - was not available in the demo. Online was, but I have not got round to trying it yet.

On a side note, I have completed Fable, posts, reviews etc. coming soon.

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