World in Conflict has been one of the most anticipated games of this year, for a very good reason – one look at any of the screenshots or videos from the game is enough to send most PC gamers into a frenzy of OMGWTFs and we’re no exception – once word spread through the office that we’d gotten hold of some copies of the multiplayer beta, everyone started clustering around our screens with excitement. We weren’t even looking at porn either.
In fact, a quick go through the tutorial and a few multiplayer matches later and we came to one shockingly good conclusion; World in Conflict is better than porn, better than almost anything we’d ever seen before. It’s gorgeous, graphic, detailed and in-depth and we relished every step as we each got to grips with the multiplayer only beta.
But enough vague generalisations, a game with such extensive detail as World in Conflict needs to be covered in specific, screenshot full detail. So, let’s delve right in and have a look at what is shaping up to be one of the finest RTS games we’ve ever played.
Gamers, meet Awesome
Developed by Massive entertainment. World in Conflict is set in an alternate timeline where the Warsaw Pact is on the brink of collapse and the Soviet Union decides to blackmail the UN into supporting their economy or face an invasion of Western Europe. Given that this is an RTS game and not a global accountancy simulation, you can probably guess what the result of this threat is.
World in Conflict allows players to play as either the Soviet forces or the United States and wage war from either side across massive levels which take a basis from America, Europe and Russia. The final game will see a strong singleplayer game bought in, but in the beta we only got a chance to play the multiplayer aspect so we can’t really give many details of how the singleplayer side will shape other than that it will feature many of the same unit mechanics and tactics as multiplayer games.
One thing we do know for sure is that both the multiplayer and singleplayer modes are distinctly different from the usual RTS fare and don’t feature any form of resource gathering or base building. Instead, multiplayer allows multiple players to jump in on one of the two sides and choose a role they want to specialise in; Air, Infantry, Tanks or Artillery. Players then function as a general for that team and must co-ordinate with other team members in order to stand a chance of winning.
In fact, team organisation is a massive element of the multiplayer game as, instead of building a base which allows units to be churned out at a constant rate, players must ship in reinforcements from outside the level. Reinforcements can only be shipped in at certain, but regular times and require at least half a minute to arrive at the drop zone, which is usually situated far from the heart of the action.
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Thus, gameplay becomes a matter of coordination and communication and, while any player can ship in any unit, shipping units in from a different speciality has an increased price.
In a standard multiplayer game then, a team may be made up of four players or more, each with their own speciality and strengths. Air forces for example are quick and nippy, but vulnerable to attacks from tanks and will often need support from an artillery specialist to help take care of the armoured opposition. Artillery on the other hand is slow and vulnerable to close-up attacks from infantry. All this information is quickly and easily summarised on the reinforcements menu, which means even utter n00bs can hop in and find a home.
We only had access to a small number of levels in the beta, but what we saw showed us that the balance of level size and players has been carefully thought out - especially when gameplay involves to movement of small squads of units as only a small amount of units can be bought in at a time.