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This gorgeous looking real time strategy game is set in an alternate history where the Cold War gave way to an epic conflict across the globe. The USSR invades the United States and Europe sparking a war of attrition which quickly turns nuclear. In the compelling and engrossing single player game you have to complete a number of unique missions and the game has been skilfully designed with high production values. There is also an addictive multiplayer option which forces you to focus on co-operation if you want to emerge victorious.
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You play the game as a green lieutenant and as things progress you’ll meet a varied cast of characters who are brought to life thanks to some terrific art, FMV sequences and quality voice acting. Surprisingly the game has a bit of emotional depth and as you take charge of NATO and US forces it is impossible not to be drawn into the realistically portrayed struggle. Alec Baldwin provides the voiceover for the mission briefings and this adds a further touch of gravity to the proceedings. The set up and background is excellent and extremely immersive.
The game-play itself is quite complex so you should probably check out the tutorials. Camera movement is standard WASD and you start each map with a number of re-enforcement points which you can use to call in more troops. The array of destructive options at your fingertips is impressive and tactically speaking the approach you take is left up to you. You get a rolling series of objectives as you play and when one gets ticked off a new one pops up until you have completed the level. They range from capturing and holding areas and buildings to destroying specific locations or finding people.
There is a definite learning curve here and you will need to master the ability to multi-task. Things can get extremely chaotic and it is not always easy to stay on top of the battles. You can pause the game at any time but you can’t issue orders when it is paused so you’ll need to learn how to handle the pressure in real time. You get a different choice of troops and weaponry in each mission and the tactical depth is satisfying and prevents the action from ever feeling repetitive.
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This is where the game really shines. The visuals are amazing and the epic destruction which is visited upon the cityscapes can hardly fail to impress you. The environments, unit models, animations and visual effects are all top notch. The FMVs are also well directed and extremely cinematic. Explosions are beautifully done especially the tactical nukes and when you combine the visuals with the immersive sound effects this game really captures the essence of war.
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The clever multiplayer option is a tactical challenge which encourages you to work with others to present a united front. You’ll choose a speciality and in order to win multiplayer battles you’ll need a well balanced team with good communication and tactical skills. Headsets so you can chat to each other are pretty much essential. The multiplayer maps are also well designed and while there is an option to play smaller scale battles without the classes this development is what makes the multiplayer option fresh and exciting.
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You are going to want a great system to take full advantage of this stunning title so while the game will run on these specs it will be a better experience on a faster system. You’ll need at least a 2GHz processor, 512MB RAM (1GB or more is a lot better), 8GB of hard drive space, a 128MB video card which is DirectX 9c compatible and a sound card which is DirectX 9c compatible. You can tweak the detail level but you’ll really want to experience this in all its glory.
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World in Conflict is a quality RTS release which is easy to pick up but offers a decent level of depth. The single player is enjoyable and teaches you all the necessary skills to get the most out of the multiplayer which is the main attraction of the game. Introducing class based team game-play into the RTS genre is a good move and if you can play with a group of like minded people you can expect some terrific epic battles. Visually it looks great and in general the level of polish is excellent throughout. This is a fresh entry in a stale genre and RTS fans will definitely want to get their hands on a copy.