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Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo
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Old 08 Nov 2008, 11:51   #1 (permalink)
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Default Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

Thanks to Fallout freezing, I decided to try out the demo for Tom Clancy's End War.

I liked it in theory - the videos looked great, and I was more than a little intrigued by the voice control.

So, I gave the campaign mission a run through (its so short I won't detail that here) and the single player skirmish.

Basics

Well, its your typical strategy game really. 3 Factions and a Semi-generic storyline.

Thats not bad - don't get me wrong, its quite cool. I've also heard that you will encounter such units as Ghost Recon from his other games.

Two things are immediately apparent in this demo - you are right there in the thick of things (havn't yet figured out how you "world view" if you even can). You can only see a limited range around the unit you are looking at - which does add nicely to realism.

It also makes your helicopters invaluable - being higher up, they are THE scout unit of choice.

The second thing you notice is the "lack" of units, but this could just be the demo. You essentially have your anti infantry infantry, Engineer unit, then you have one tank unit, one air unit, one transport unit etc. This appears to be done to make the control work - which I will get to further down.

You appear to only be able to control a limited amount of units at anyone time as well - 15 from the demo. This isn't a problem though.

Gameplay

The gameplay is simple, and impressive. Visually stunning, you are put right in the action - believe me, when you see the enemy set off a WMD on you units, you do start to panic being right in middle of it

As I noted, you are limited in what you can see to a unit - its easy to move the units around however, most of the gameplay appears to centre on taking objectives, so a lot of the movement orders are simply - Take objective Sierra, for example.

The skirmish game revolves around taking objectives. You don't build a base, you call in the reinforcements from a "Command Points" system, which regenerate over time and you also gain when you take a objective. These are used to call in reinforcements, use some special abilities like a Sitrep, and create new landing zones for your troops to arrive to.

I don't think you build bases, but I've only played the demo so far.

Controls are simple. Sticks for camera, D-pad to select one of your units. See below for more.

Units

Its a very rock-paper-scissors design, with Riflemen being good against riflemen and engineers (and taking positions) but very weak against tanks. But by the same token, Tanks won't walk through infantry like they aren't there - tanks will struggle to damage them as much as they would other tanks.

Most units have a variety of actions, different for all 3 factions, riflemen can take cover and garrison, engineers can upgrade units or plant mines, and your command vehicle can launch UAV's and deploy combat drones. There is a lot of variation in such a small selection, it really makes you think a lot.

Did you hear that? Voice commands

Lets face it, this is THE reason this game is in the lead here amongst strategy games. Its flawless.

I'll admit it can miss an order, so you have to repeat, but it picks up everything brilliantly.

You pull RT to open the coms, and then speak and release when done. You can control every aspect of the game from this with no other buttons needed.

I was scouting with my choppers and they came up against their weakness, so a quick "Unit 6 Retreat" got them out of the fire.

Organizing an offensive is a lot of fun. Pulling RT then issuing voice orders to all your troops is incredible - you havn't got to worry about targetting, all you need to know is the hostile's name or number - "Unit 1 attack Hostile 2" etc.

You can pull in reinforcements with voice as well, a simply "Deploy Gunships" will order in some air support to the next available slot.

Every aspect of the game can be controlled through this - and believe me, nothing is as satisfying as saying "WMD attack hostile 3" down the mic.

Final Thoughts

I like this. In fact, I think I like this enough to buy the game at some point. There are a few niggles - being a old school strategy gamer, I like to see the whole theartre of battle, rather than being with your units, but this is hardly the end of the world.

Voice commands are what have made this game - its turned out a hell of a lot better than you'd expect, it easily recognizes your input, and using voice is far simpler than using a controller.

You can chain orders as well, so keeping down the trigger you can order "unit 3 move to Alpha. Unit 3 camera" which will set them on their way and move your view over to them.

Graphics - 8/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Control - 10/10 - the voice command, tops it.
Overall - easily a 9/10 from me.

It helps if you like strategy games, but if you do and aren't too worried about the lack of high up view, then I'd say to pick this up.

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/42186.html

Enjoy
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Old 08 Nov 2008, 18:59   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

I lurve you! :-*

What faction are you playing as? Do you get to choose in the demo?
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Old 08 Nov 2008, 22:34   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

You can play as the European Federation or the American jsf. Plus the campaign mode as the americans,
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Old 08 Nov 2008, 22:39   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

I have the full version of this, bought it yesterday.
It is pretty much awesome.
And voice commands, that's just more awesome. Sometimes the odd command is missed or misinterpreted due to my accent, but it's nothing major.

Maximum units to command at once is 6-8 currently in the campaign, but my Battalion (American JSF 16th Armoured) has about 16 reserve units. Over the course of the campaign they can gain promotions, and you can buy them both equipment and ability upgrades. Most upgrades also have a graphical effect on the units they are applied to, for example upgrading transports with the first attack upgrade gives them beefier turrets with better guns in them. Upgrading defense on artillery puts on side skirts and reinforced armour. Upgrading Attack on infantry (at second level) gives Riflemen squads a Designated Marksman or Engineers a SAW. Some upgrades require a certain rank however, but all upgrades are persistent. Oh, and all units are visible in the barracks, set out in neat rows as you move the camera around to look at them.

The persistent upgrades thing is actually very cool, because it means that even if you lose every unit in that section (all tanks, all gunships, all riflemen, etc), the next unit coming in to replace them (always free, but also always at the lowest rank) will get any equipment the previous unit had at the applicable rank(s).

And there are only 7 unit types, which are very rock-paper-scissors.
Riflemen - Good vs Engineers. (vs All Infantry in/out of Cover with the Snipers upgrade)
Engineers - Good vs Transports, Gunships while in cover, useless while out of cover.
Transports - Good vs Gunships.
Tanks - Good vs Transports.
Gunships - Good vs Tanks.
Artillery - Good vs all ground units at long range.
Command Vehicle - Good for medium range ground combat (has attack drones, can be upgraded with recon, then attack, UAV)

The campaign is quite interesting, essentially being a giant game of Risk. The object of the campaign is to either capture a majority of territories (28) or control all 3 capital cities. Each stage of the way you will usually be presented with at least 2 battles (only once in 8 turns has it narrowed down to 1). The crux of the matter is that you can only fight one battle per turn, but that it will have consequences further down the track.

For example, performing a Raid on an enemy Base (tile with a '+' in it) will cut off the Base's support to all adjacent tiles for the next 3 turns. (Reduced number of available enemy reinforcements.)

The campaign can be played as any of the 3 factions, and as one of 8-10 Battalions within the faction, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and force limitations. Each faction has a slight difference from the others, for example Spetsnaz tend to have more heavily armed vehicles, while the JSF excel at stealth. The battalion type (Airborne, Armoured, Tactical) can also influence how and where you start in the campaign, and online.

Online play is interesting, as it uses the same structure as the campaign, but the turns are in realtime, every 8? (didn't play that long) hours. The results of all the battles happening in all the territories are then calculated and the results displayed, opening or closing avenues of attack. For online play you also have a persistent battalion, just like in the campaign.
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Old 08 Nov 2008, 22:40   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

D: It's been released? I thought it'd be released in a couple more days!

:'( If you loved me, you'd buy a 360 and End War for me.

:shifty:
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Old 08 Nov 2008, 23:21   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gangstak Obama
:'( If you loved me, you'd buy a 360 and End War for me.
But I don't love you. :P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CmdrBonesaw
"Drop the shovel, and stand back from the keyboard!"


We have done the impossible... and that makes us mighty.
Firefly is pretty much made of Awesome, Funny, and Aww. Sometimes simultaneously. We'd better stop before we quote the entire script.
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Old 09 Nov 2008, 20:40   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

I tried the demo, and it looks pretty intresting. I think I might buy it.
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Old 09 Nov 2008, 21:13   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

Thanks for the insight to the full game rav i just wish i could get this, but with me and gears, its a lot lower priority
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Old 10 Nov 2008, 01:51   #9 (permalink)
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Default More EndWar Information

Units, Deployment & DefCon1
Maximum I've seen commanded so far is 12 units at once. You start out each mission with a deployment of between 2 and 8 units, leaving up to 20 units reserve. Some maps also have a deployment limit, or a maximum number of a particular type of unit that can be deployed on them at any one time.

Over time, and by capturing Uplinks and destroying enemy units you gain Command Points (CP), which are used to call in reinforcements which cost 4 CP each (2 CP if you are in DefCon 1) or to utilise off-map support such as Airstrikes, EM pulses, Force Recon (which deploys regular army troops to garrison a location) and to utilise Forward Command, which allows you to designate an uplink as your new landing/deployment zone for reinforcements.

In DefCon 1 you (or your enemy, whoever happens to be losing) get emergency authorisation to Crash an Uplink or use a WMD. Crashing an Uplink removes it from play for both sides (and has a nasty pyrotechnic & EM side effect for nearby units) while a WMD can target any Uplink or visible hostile unit. Each faction has a unique WMD, for example, the JSF has the kinetic strike, which when deployed shows a picture in picture view of the satellite firing three kinetic darts. The screen then gets an orange tinge as the darts slam down in the distance (fully visible in replays/on the map).

Graphics & AI
Something else I like about the visuals is the semi-realism, shots miss, some missiles/shells are duds, some heavy ordnance misses the mark (by quite some distance with long range artillery on occasion), infantry will go to ground, breach and clear buildings, take cover intelligently. When a unit is down (25% health and 0% shields) it will fire white starshell above its position (and its health bar will turn white) and prepare to evacuate, if successfully evacuated the unit loses no experience cannot return to the current battle.

Another graphical plus is the fact the battlefield is persistent for the duration of the mission. If a tank is destroyed at point X, the burnt out hulk remains at point X for the rest of the battle. If artillery fire made craters somewhere, they stay there. If a building is damaged enough it will fall down, and infantry inside will attempt to find new cover.

Controls
It works fine on controller, but it just seems a bit limiting not to be able to use the headset.
The voice recognition can recognise commands in 5 languages (English, German, French, Italian & Spanish iirc) and in many accents of those languages. It may pay to use the voice trainer in the options menu to calibrate the voice-recognition software before playing. As for the utility of voice recognition, I have had a few commands not understood, or misunderstood, and a few odd ones that actually work, despite being different words.

eg: Unit 1 Attack Hostile 1 is normal, but I can also use Unit 1 Engage Hostile 1.

[hr]

Oh, and Rafe, you know you want this… :shifty:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CmdrBonesaw
"Drop the shovel, and stand back from the keyboard!"


We have done the impossible... and that makes us mighty.
Firefly is pretty much made of Awesome, Funny, and Aww. Sometimes simultaneously. We'd better stop before we quote the entire script.
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Old 10 Nov 2008, 04:09   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time for the End War - thoughts on the demo

What do you know about the units and upgrades...:shifty:
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Moral of this story... in real life or in a pen and paper game... do not piss off Delpheus or he will OMGWTFBBQPWN your face with a uber hit.
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