Number Five – World in ConflictPlatform:
Real-time strategy games split the bit-tech
offices pretty much down the middle and, while Tim is a massive fan of the genre, Rich prefers his violence to be viewed a little bit more up-close.
One thing we all agree on though is that World in Conflict
is an exception to the rule – we all love the game.
World in Conflict
is accessible in a way which few other RTS games are and tells a compelling story which knocks even classics like Command and Conquer
out of the water for some of us. The game uses proper characters with tangible back stories and very human faults and fears to tell a story that is realistically put together and carefully sculpted – that’s something few other RTSs since Red Alert
The gameplay too is new and involving. There are no resources to gather or cash to scrounge – merely limits on what can be airlifted in at one time and what units are available to the player. That forces the game to take on a freshly realistic feel, making you value each individual unit and want to use it to the most of its abilities.
World in Conflict, click to enlarge
In fact, the only resource which does exist is TPs, or tactical points, which are given to you by your superiors for sensible use of your units. Pitting infantry against tanks won’t get you anywhere fast, but using artillery to rout them is a more sensible choice and will net you points which can be saved towards special nuclear, germ and napalm attacks.
The multiplayer is by far the most interesting and appealing part of the game though and takes this sense of realism further. Instead of simply giving each player an army of their own, a base to build and resources to gather players are separated only in to two teams. From there players are forced to specialise in specific branches of the military – artillery, infantry, airborne and armour. Each one has strengths and weaknesses and players must learn to work together in a brand new way if they want to accomplish their objectives.
And they’d better learn that lesson fast – before the other team saves up enough tactical points and drops a triple-nuke on you, sending plumes of thick, choking black smoke rippling out all over the map. It's a favoured move of ours and, even though it's something which takes the co-ordination of three or four very skilled players, it's definitely worth the wait just so you can hear your opponents scream abbreviated prayers in terror before you swarm in with a fleet of infantry and artillery.
Number Four – CrysisPlatform:
was almost a hype-machine unto itself this year, gathering accolades and fanboys even before the first demos and previews were out. The game tells the story of a US soldier fighting aliens and Koreans on a small island with the aid of a nanosuit which enhances his butt-kicking ability.
The first part of a trilogy, Crysis
doesn’t sell on the story at all though and, to be honest, that’s a pretty good thing. It forms nothing more than a context for the violence.
Crysis, click to enlarge
What makes Crysis
great though is the open design and, of course, the graphics. The bleeding-edge beauty of the game is so intense that even running the game with three top-end graphics cards at once
we still couldn’t get perfect performance.
Some view that type of hardware-hogging as a bad point and to some extent they're correct – very few people will be able to play the game as it should be played. However, it does mean that the game is going to scale very well onto future hardware, meaning that Crysis
is a game for the future and one that you'll be able to return to time and again in the years to come.
The beautiful graphics are then accentuated by the custom physics engine which lets pretty much everything be demolished. Pick up chickens and throw them around, punch your fists through walls and grab enemies or just vault yourself over tanks and minefields – Crysis
is a game that lets players handle each and every battle their own way.
A disappointment to some, who expected the game to revolutionise the industry and were dismayed to find essentially a prettier version of Far Cry
is a fantastic game in its own right despite the heritage and frequent faltering of individual aspects.