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World in Conflict review: World in Conflict

World in Conflict is definitely one of the top games this year, with outstanding visual effects and an innovative gameplay system.

David Power
5 min read

If the Cold War did not end the way we know it, what might have happened? PC real-time tactical game World in Conflict shows us a possible scenario.


World in Conflict

The Good

Innovative gameplay system. Strong and smooth flowing story line. Excellent visual effects. Great deathmatch multiplayer action. Good length campaign.

The Bad

The Bottom Line

World in Conflict is definitely one of the top games this year, with outstanding visual effects and an innovative gameplay system.

Instead of the Soviet Union crumbling and the Cold War coming to an end, "Ivan" (as they are referred to) has unleashed a full-scale attack on American soil months after hitting France and Germany. In the midst of it is main character Lieutenant Parker, in charge of a Company of the American Army, trying to repel the invasion. As 2nd Lieutenant Parker you'll also cross over the Atlantic Ocean to fight in Europe with NATO forces. If however, you are a fan of the Red Army, sadly there are no missions from their point of view in World in Conflict. You can, however, command them as well as NATO in some fast paced multiplayer action.

Watch in awe as your tactical nuke punishes your opponent.

World in Conflict utilises a gameplay system which is slightly similar to that of Company of Heroes, where there is no need for bases or unit production buildings. The player instead is able to call in units via air drop using reinforcement points. These points are initially supplied at the beginning of each mission. Essentially, you will only have a certain amount of units on the battlefield at any one time. Once a unit is lost the points are reimbursed to continue your production of reinforcements.

Units available will depend on the mission, but having said that, unit choices fall into four specific groups -- infantry troops, armour class, mobile artillery, and air support. Each specific unit has their own unique abilities. For example, infantry riflemen can lay down grenade fire over a selected area, and your medium helicopters can utilise sidewinder missiles against rival helicopters. The types of units used on a mission will rely heavily on what you might encounter on the warpath. If you enter a strong urban environment it might not be such a good idea to send a platoon of tanks through, since they will get slaughtered quickly from the roof tops by anti-tank infantry.

To assist your units on the frontline you are rewarded with Tactical Points for controlling areas, killing enemies, and the like. These points are then in turn used to call in additional unit drops, artillery barrages, laser-guided missiles, air-strikes, napalm, and of course the big daddies -- tactical nuclear and chemical weapons. The shift in gameplay with these up your sleeve can be devastating. Bring your enemy to a halt and call in a precision artillery strike to pound them into the dirt within seconds. Even if you're being pestered by helicopters and don't have any anti-air defence, you can receive an air-to-air strike to save your hide, or even burn out the infantry in the tree line with a crispy napalm strike. Proper use of these weapons can turn a battle in your favour very easily.

With real-time strategy games where you essentially control an entire army and construct a base, the fast paced gameplay of real-time tactical has you in the fight for smaller objectives -- retaking a town, or holding a bridge. It is not all about the destruction of your enemy either, because at times you will be overrun by the Soviets, forcing you to retreat and hold a defensive position. This keeps the action following smoothly throughout the game and the course of battle can change after one strategic loss or gain. Knowing when and which Tactical Aid you might use can produce devastating effects against the enemy at the right time. Also barricading infantry in surrounding buildings and tree lines will prove way more effective than leaving them out in the open. So only having to focus your attacks with a small company of units compared to an entire army allows more depth of tactics to achieve your mission.

The multiplayer counterpart of World in Conflict is definitely an important feature. There are no pre-game chat rooms while you wait for enough players to get in to kick off your match -- games are found much the same as you would for a shooter. Pick a server from the list and jump straight into an ongoing battle. The game supports up to eight players per side as they wage war against one another to control key points in the different game modes. You will choose one unit role -- infantry, armour, artillery, or air. It is up to each role to support the other and work together to control all points at once. Each role has their own specific Tactical aids, so tactical nuclear weapons are at the top of the list to annihilate units at that crucial time. Don't worry though; games won't turn into an all out nuclear war, as Tactical points need to be earned to do so.

Battlefield environments are stunning.

Notably the explosions and smoke are visually appealing in World in Conflict. Each time you drop a barrage you will more than likely wait to observe the wake of destruction it leaves behind. When viewed at ground, the detail of each individual unit is very impressive, as are the battlefield environments. Cities look vast and don't seem to repeat the same blueprint, whereby towns reveal small glimpses of culture. Even idle boats in the harbour are incredibly detailed. Oceans and rivers look almost life-like with moving currents and when the sun hits the water it gleams, creating an almost blinding effect through your screen. All of this creates a visually stunning battleground that, once you are finished with, can be transformed into a very different state.

You are accompanied at all times by your Commander and fellow Captains along the course of a mission, barking orders at you as well as informing you of situational problems and encounters. The voice acting does an excellent job at exposing each of the characters strong personalities, which is headed by Hollywood star Alec Baldwin providing pre-mission story narration. Game sound effects, especially explosions, sound crisp and the closer you are to the action the more devastating it sounds.

World in Conflict is definitely one of the top games this year, with outstanding visual effects, and an innovative gameplay system. Each of the 14 missions throughout the campaign provides a good time of solid action, without being too easy for real-time tactical fans. The multiplayer will be a strong selling point in World in Conflict and with the deathmatch-like gameplay; you are assured of jumping straight into the heat of a battle without delay.