It's hard to actually review a Real Time Strategy game that presents itself lacking a few of the features that makes an RTS. Like base building and resource management to name but a couple. That's exactly what I've done with World in Conflict. I've been playing this for a few days now and since I was a big fan of Ground Control and Ground Control 2 from the same developers I had to get my hands on this one.
So, what is World in Conflict?
The story is quite a dark one. Russia invades the US and breaks through Americas defences, throwing you in as a commander in the middle of a pitched battle right from the get-go. It's told through the medium of gorgeous gritty looking in game cut-scenes and has a kind of 'Hollywood' action-movie direction to the proceedings. The excellent camera-work follows the characters down to the smallest detail.
Ok, that little bit out of the way I'm not going to spoil the story, I can only say that it takes some twists and turns and definitely means the game has lasting singleplayer appeal as well as frag-your-mates appeal in multiplayer.
Back to the actual game: It's deceptively simple and the lack of traditional farm-this resource management may put a few people off. You do have a resource, these are points that you can use to requisition new units and drop them in off map by air-support planes and choppers. You don't have to worry about constructing a base or making complex defensive positions.
You can pile troops into buildings and set up protected areas with careful placement of units. There are transport units in both the air and land roles as well.
The game has a Mega-Map. If you've played Supreme Commander you'll know this means that you can zoom right out and see a massive view of the battlefield as well as all your units and so on, the Mega-Map works pretty much like that and allows you to get a commander's view of the battle. It's here that you can place your dropzone in multiplayer and see the tactical slide of the battle as it progresses.
You have four specialities in the game: Armour, Air, Infantry and Support. These roles are all different and have their own strengths and weaknesses that rely on the other roles to support. In a multiplayer game it's a good idea to have a mix of these roles in your team otherwise you'll find that the enemy will quickly outmatch and outgun you.
Gameplay usually finds you having to locate and take control of Command Points around expansive and highly destructible maps. These locations are massive and you can take an hour or so to complete some of the missions since they have multiple objectives that require some serious thought rather than wading in with a bunch of tanks.
You can use cover and flanking techniques against the enemy as the units in the game are based on a rock/paper/scissors kind of principle. Some are better against others and so forth. Using these roles correctly is the key to success. Some of the units have special abilities that can take the form of an offensive attack (Tow missile) or defensive action (smoke screen).