In World in Conflict
, units have to work together to get anything done but they are also well equipped to fight smaller skirmishes without support for the large part. The majority of units have access to both an offensive and defensive power, each of which is targeted at a specific other unit attack.
Our favourite speciality was the Air forces for example and the offensive and defensive abilities of the helicopters in this category largely consist of air-to-air missiles (offensive) which are good for one off hits which yield high damage and IR countermeasure flares which fool incoming missiles from infantry. The recharge time for each unit ability is superbly balanced so that skirmishes become nail-biting affairs as generals wait for abilities to become available again.
For those times when you really need to hit hard though, each general has access to a selection of superpowers, which again break down into subcategories. There non-destructive (boring) abilities, selective attacks (better) like precision air-strikes and tank-busters and, finally, the indiscriminate attacks (uber). We shouldn’t need to tell you that the indiscriminate attacks section is where all the omgroxxor-factor is kept.
But its not as simple as point and click to fire a super-attack. Players must earn ‘tactical points’ first, which act as a kind of currency and can be traded over to other team members who impress you. TPs are otherwise earned by players who use their heads and choose the right fights. Killing a tank may take twenty scout helicopters ten minutes, only earning you a single tactical point but attacking the same tank with a long range artillery unit will take a fraction of the time and net you twice the reward.
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Super powers are rightly priced, with napalm attacks costing around 15 points for some quick infantry wipe-outs while the most powerful attack costs a whopping 80 TP points.
And yes, the best attack is the tactical nuclear weapon which has been appearing in all the screenshots. It really does look that awesome and is extremely
satisfying to use, capable of putting a massive crater in the ground and levelling buildings. More on that later though.
The gameplay does have some weak spots however, no matter how well refined, thought out and balanced the unit structures are.
For example, team playing is all well and good if it works alright, but the majority of beta testers we played with were completely silent if not standoffish and victory on a level was often more to do with the haphazard collision of the right forces at the right time. It may be less of an issue once the game goes retail and the game opens up to a larger audience, but it was definitely a problem for the beta.
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On the whole though, gameplay was a fluid and immersive experience even if it did take a while for some players to cotton on to the idea of playing as a team. The smooth unit dynamics and process of having to wait to bring in new reinforcements in multiplayer made each unit take on a personal value and become more important. It was extremely gratifying to see an RTS game which doesn’t allow a single unit type to be exploited or give easy access to a too-powerful weapons but instead forces teams to cooperate in order to achieve victory.
Now, on to the graphics because we know that’s what you’ve all been waiting for really.