Tom Clancy's EndWar - 360 - Review
For console fans, RTS gaming has long been a road paved with frustration and hardship. Whereas PC gamers enjoy the fruits of robust button-mapping and intuitive mouse/keyboard configurations, console gamers have been limited by often overwhelming and confounding gamepad setups that cause loads of grief. Whereas several competent strategy titles have stepped up to the plate to finally give consoles that unattainable shot, few have even come close to what the PC can do control-wise. However, Ubisoft’s latest new IP from their Tom Clancy’s series is looking to finally give console gamers something to be excited about.
Tom Clancy’s EndWar is the prolific writer’s latest video-game franchise, this time taking on the console RTS genre. However, instead of simply being another sorry effort, EndWar brings an intriguing new element to the mix: voice command. Using an Xbox LIVE headset, you’re able to bark commands at your units, deploy new vehicles, and move and attack your enemies. And here’s the real shocking part – it actually works very well.
EndWar uses voice commands better than nearly every other game that has tried to do so and as a result successfully circumvents the unwieldy controller issues of just about every console RTS out there. The voice elements are very responsive, allowing you to command your units about as fast as you can think about where you want them to go. Unfortunately, while the concept of the game works very well, there are some problems within the game, namely simplified strategy mechanics and a lackluster campaign. While all the elements might not be there yet, EndWar is still a very innovative effort and a nice breath of fresh air for the RTS genre.
EndWar’s main campaign follows the military theater of events leading up to and during World War III. Taking place in the year 2020, EndWar’s conflict takes place between the three superpowers of the world, being the U.S., Russia, and the European Federation. The game’s solo campaign will give you control of each at some point providing you with a full understanding of the events leading up to the war.
While the game has some pretty exciting elements, the majority of the campaign feels pretty tacked together. The missions are generally pretty average fare, where you’ll often find yourself defending certain points on the map or trying you clear out all of the enemies, and each skirmish generally lasts about five to ten minutes.
Additionally, the units use a rock-paper-scissors method when it comes to which vehicles are more powerful than others. This system of checks and balances translates pretty well in the game, but feels overly simplistic and is likely to put off strategy purists.
The main meat of the game comes from the online Theater of War mode. Theater of War works as a persistent universe with real-time rankings for each of the three different nations. When you fight battles within the game’s universe, they’ll add to your side’s online rank. This gives you more control over the map and will grant the leaders better perks and boosts.
While commanding your units around using the headset feels great, controlling the camera does not. You’ll have to use the gamepad to adjust your camera to get a view of the action. However, this feels less that intuitive, as the camera can easily get caught on objects or stuck in a way that makes it very difficult to see what is going on. This can be especially irksome when the battles are very intense and figuring out which units to send where is a pain.
Graphically, the game looks pretty sharp, as the unit models are nicely rendered and the environments look pretty good. While it won’t dazzle you with cutting edge special effects or anything like that, it gets the job done.
The sound is pretty much the same way, as the game features a pretty sparse soundtrack and some decent voice work, as well as standard-fare sound effects.
EndWar is a solid entry to the RTS genre, with innovative controls that spell good things for the genre as a whole, if other titles can step up to the plate and take advantage of the game’s voice activated elements. While the game falls short within the campaign and some elements are overly simplistic, there’s still a lot here that strat-fans will want to check out.
Review Scoring Details for Tom Clancy’s EndWar
The voice-activated commands are some of the best implemented yet in a videogame, as they are responsive and do a fine job of fixing one of the biggest issues that console RTS’s face. However, the campaign feels average, and the rock-paper-scissors unit mechanic is overly simplistic. The problematic camera likely won’t win many fans either.
The environments aren’t too shabby, and the unit models look pretty detailed, but nothing here is poised to dazzle you.
The sound effects sound pretty good, and the voice work does what it should.
While the gameplay feels a bit too simplistic, the voice activated controls are the best control scheme for a console RTS yet.
The game’s Theater of War mode provides much of the meat of the game, allowing you to join a nation and fight it out in ranked matches within a robust persistent world.
EndWar is a solid RTS game that benefits from an innovative and intuitive control element, but falls short in a few key places.