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For the first half hour, you might feel a bit of a numpty playing EndWar. Everything in the game is controlled by the sound of your voice. You bark commands into a headset to make the tanks, planes and troops move around the map and attack enemies. How weird.
EndWar lets you concentrate on tactics rather than what button to press. It takes around five minutes to train the voice recognition software. After that, we were truly impressed with its ability to understand what we were saying, even through our thick accent. Knowing how to issue commands is also clear and straightforward. First you say the name of the unit, followed by the type of action (move, destroy, secure, etc.), finishing with the name of the target. For those too self-conscious to speak out loud or the quietly spoken, the standard controller is also supported.
There are some subtle differences between the three warring factions, and thankfully they seem reasonably well balanced, if not as varied as other RTSs. Russia’s units are heavy-duty and pack a punch saved up since the Cold War. European troops have more advanced weaponry, such as orbital laser strikes and robotics. GRAW fans will most likely opt for the American forces, primed with superior air support from HAWX and stealthy assistance from Splinter Cell’s Third Echelon.
Unlike other RTS games, EndWar isn’t about building resources, and the paper, scissors, rock-style combat will seem too obvious to hardcore players. A more technical challenge involves the way surviving units can progress through six ranks, adding new perks. It can be stressful deciding whether or not to risk losing them in the heat of battle, or to evacuate them from the field when the chips are down. The game’s cover system, forcing you to move infantry with care through destructible environments, also stood out. Compared to other RTS EndWar is basic, but it has the makings of a unique series.
Nov 4, 2008