It wouldn't be surprising if you had never heard of Joint Task Force. Despite the game having the backing of gaming big hitters, Sierra and Vivendi, the big hype around RTS games this month has been for the upcoming Company of Heroes. Despite not having as much press coverage as CoH, Joint Task Force certainly warrants a look.

Rather than the overused World War 2 setting, the game is set in a 'not-too-distant' future. Instead of an obscure sci-fi storyline involving brain-eating aliens, this game has a hard hitting plot based closely on real world terrorism. In addition to this the developers have even tried to employ some new techniques to give the genre a boost.

We take an in-depth look at the game's storyline, the unique features, environments and the graphical options. Read on to find out whether it really has what it takes to be the best in the RTS genre. Troops - move out!

Joint Task Force Joint Task Force
Joint Task Force Joint Task Force

Gritty Storylines

The first thing I should let you know about the game is that it does something a little bit different to most modern games - an attempt at tackling serious issues in the real world. Set in 2008 the game is based around a military group called the Joint Task Force. These guys have a pretty important job, assigned by the G8 to protect the world from emerging terrorist threats (believe it or not, it actually gives you some fictional historical reference in the manual to how and why the UN came to the decision to create the JTF – gasp!). The first thing that jumped out at me is the storyline; I've never seen a game try to tackle political issues as seriously as Joint Task Force does.

2008 appears to be a pretty dodgy time in the world, a new Islamic extremist group called Matar has emerged, performing attacks that make 'Al-Qaeda look like The Village People'. The game storyline refers quite heavily to recent attacks such as 9/11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The game takes this real world historical background to create a not too unrealistic fictional future, in which terrorist groups are operating in a variety of countries, attempting to set up networks, incite wars and steal weapons of mass destruction.

Joint Task Force Joint Task Force
Joint Task Force Joint Task Force

The controversial nature of the storyline doesn't end there as, in true "24" style, there is corruption and underhand dealings going on with those who have the power. Not wanting to spoil the story too much let's just say it bears a remarkable amount of similarities to the latest of Jack Bauer's outings. If you need any more convincing of how edgy this game actually is, then take a look at the locations the battles are set in: Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia and Bosnia – not exactly the most peaceful of places.

Joint Task Force Joint Task Force
Joint Task Force Joint Task Force

I really like the fact that Joint Task Force has tried to take on serious modern issues as it's easy for developers to shy away from them. In one particularly harrowing situation where you're trying to stop a Serbian warlord from targeting Muslims, one of your soldiers asks you why you're stopping the Serbs killing Muslim civilians when it is the Muslim fanatics causing so many problems? It really brings the morality of war into the gamers mind and gives you a glimmer of understanding about how confusing war really is.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04