The gaming gimmicks of 2008

Voice Control

Compared to a PC keyboard, the limited number of buttons on a controller means complex games are always going to run into problems. RTS games in particular suffer on consoles - you simply can't do everything you want all at once, or as quick as you'd like. What we need is another layer of control. And, since you're always going to be quicker to voice a command than you are to thumb the required buttons, real-time strategy title EndWar is throwing out the traditional controller altogether and opting forfull voice-active gameplay.

You will be able to use a pad if you can't get used to the total vocal action, thoughour own experiencesuggests the system is a welcome innovation. Commands span the simple 'go here' and 'do that' routines, but alsoappear to delveinto the more complex RTS tactics, like selecting all of a certain type ("Calling all riflemen") and forming selective bands of units ("Create group"). You'll also use speech to pan around the battlefield, hopping between views of different units - though there's no free camera available, meaning you'll have to carefully plan your advance.

It's interesting to note, though, that Electronic Arts' Army of Two appears to have dropped its intriguing buddy-chatting voice control. Back in the mists of time at E3 2006we saw a versionof the game that enabled you to carry out synchronised sniping by calling "Go on my mark", or prompting your ever-present comrade to arc left or right while parachuting into the target zone with a quick voice command. Our friends at PSM3, however, report that the feature seems to be absent from the latest build. Maybe EA realised the GamesRadar sleuthswere onto them.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.