What I'm Playing - World in Conflict

The basic premise of World in Conflict is more than enough to make you sit up and take notice.  And, once you start playing, the gameplay and storyline will keep you engaged and interested for the length of the campaign.  The year is 1989, and instead of the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union decides to make a bold, final move to maintain its status as a superpower.  The attack on the mainland begins in Seattle, and I have to say it was a lot of fun watching the virtual demolition of the Kingdome, as well as seeing how much of a mess the I-90 interchange used to be.  Well, for those of you not living in Seattle, I mean to say that it's very impressive how realistic and detail-oriented the maps are.

Another in the latest move away from true RTS gaming and into RTT (Real-Time Tactics), World in Conflict is quick and easy to learn, but tactically incredibly complex.  Weather, terrain, and types of units all mesh to create a very complex, deep war-gaming experience.  If you've ever wanted to control ground units, Humvees, tanks, artillery, and helicopters all at once, this is the game for you.  Plus, you get to see what is perhaps the best rendering of nuclear weapons yet to be seen in all of gaming.  When you see the flash that takes up your screen, followed by the shockwave rendering outward from the center, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Also, there is a great point in the campaign where you're playing in an irradiated area, and your screen is gray, choppy, and radio communications are spotty at best...the realism factor here is extremely high.

However, this game isn't solely great because of the unit control, or even the units that you control...as you rack up your kills, you score points with which you can "buy" tactical strikes, ranging from napalm to tank busters to the aforementioned nuclear strike.  These tactical options really do make or break you in the middle of a tough battle.  The importance of being able to wipe out a battalion of tanks before they can rain metal death on your infantry can't be understated.

And, of course, there's the story.  For many war games, the story seems really to be tacked together, giving you excuses to start up disconnected skirmish after disconnected skirmish.  The story starts off slow, but as it jumps between "present-day" and the few months leading up to the Soviet invasion, the characters become very, very well-defined.  In fact, there are many "wow" points in the storyline that pull you in deeper and deeper.

In a previous review, I said that Warhammer 40k was my second-favorite RTS game ever - World in Conflict is far and above that, and definitively sits in the #1 spot on my shelf.