World in Conflict hands-on

Friday 12 May 2006
In between quite literally running around the E3 show floor like some sort of crazed report-o-bots, we've managed to have a quick play of Massive Entertainment's recently announced RTS World in Conflict, and can only conclude that it's a real-time strategy aimed at gamers who don't like real-time strategies. Which, you understand, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

There's no base building, no resource management and - in the multiplayer demo we got involved with, at least - it takes place across intensive bursts of 12-minute-long RTS deathmatches.

As we revealed last month, the game is set in an alternative 1989 in which the cold war between America and the USSR has escalated to such a degree that the US has been invaded by Soviet forces. Indeed, members of the development team could be seen on their stand wearing fetching 1980s-style US and USSR tracksuits, just for added effect.

Aside from the sheer brevity of proceedings, the pace is maintained via what could be best described as rolling reinforcements. Credits for reinforcements can be used to order more units as soon as you start losing troops, and back-up arrives within about 20 seconds.

Victory is attained, inevitably, by capturing certain strategic points, while a sliding scale at the top of the screen indicates which particular military behemoth has the advantage.

The single-player game will, we're told, "probably" contain longer missions, although much of the balance of the one-player experience will be informed by the multiplayer beta, which launches in late August. The finished game will land in shops in spring 2007.