When it first reared its head almost three years ago, the press acclaimed WarTorn as a breath of fresh air for the RTS genre. But back then it was due out in late 1998.
Since then the times they have a-changed though, and today 3D spinny-rotatey™ strategy games are ten a penny. So does WarTorn still have what it takes? EuroGamer investigates...
War Is Hell Entertaining
It's 2999 AD, and the Earth has been at peace for centuries. The problem is, let's face it, peace is boring.
So the people of the future have come up with WarTorn, a real-life war-game where teams fight it out over a series of massive "war arenas", using a range of replica 20th century military hardware including tanks, boats and planes. Victory will carry you through to the next round. Defeat will carry you through to the field hospital.
It's a nice twist on the usual "centuries of struggle" and "battle between good and evil" plot-lines that most real time strategy games fall back on. Instead of an epic struggle for freedom, you are taking part in a spectator sport, fighting for ratings and money.
It also nicely explains all the peculiarities of real time strategy games, such as where all those shiny new units come from, why you start each battle with only a handful of resources, and why the terrain is always set up to funnel your troops into the enemy base...
Resource management consists of taking control of "pre-fabricated extraction buildings", which will then provide you with the raw materials needed to construct your base.
These resources can also be traded with other teams in exchange for new units during a battle, helping to prop up your war effort in the face of the enemy's attacks.
And to make things more interesting, your units can also be built and customized in the field, changing their armour, weapons and even engines to design your own hybrid units. Sadly WarTorn is no longer the only game to offer customisable units, but it does look to be more flexible than most.
And that's WarTorn's biggest problem - it's already almost two years overdue, and many of the features that would have been groundbreaking back in 1998 have since been included in other games.
And if it slips much further, WarTorn is likely to be drowned in a flood of similar games, such as Ground Control, Dark Reign II, Star Trek : New Worlds, and the English language version of Earth 2150.
WarTorn might not be as revolutionary as its designers had hoped, and the graphics engine certainly isn't the most advanced out there, but it should be a fun and, above all, novel RTS game.