Tom Clancy's EndWar • Page 2

Better not have soldier headset.

With no specific resource-gathering necessary (no oil, remember), EndWar instead utilises a regenerating Command Point system, allowing you to replace downed units at the cost of four CPs. Over time, CPs regenerate, and you also gain a CP bonus every time you secure an uplink or kill an enemy, so the resources, if you will, come through positive actions rather than the more traditional route of going down pit. Stripping out the standard mining removes a layer of strategy, but it keeps you focused on the action rather than fiddly micromanagement. EndWar also employs CPs to power special attacks like air-strikes, force recon and electronic warfare. One CP, for example, finances an air-strike to help finish off bothersome targets, such as long-range artillery, without having to risk precious units to do the job.

On the whole, EndWar is at its best when it keeps things simple with clearly defined roles and abilities. By the time you're dealing with 12 units and multiple abilities, however, the slick, streamlined feeling of the early game is lost among fiddly nannying, and the player AI doesn't help with a few dim choices, like infantry units unable to stand on the right side of cover or take up new positions when theirs is blown. Pathfinding can be more than a little irritating, with units prone to blunder into danger when an evidently safer and equally swift route exists, and units regularly slide around trees and get in each other's way. When this happens in a combat situation, it often means a suicidal ceasefire while they untangle themselves. And having to dictate to a unit to use their special ability every single time is a waste of time, and can be exasperating when you feel like you ought to be focusing on more important matters.

Somehow they've made it look like Halo in this screenshot. Well done.

As a defensive game it's simple enough to handle, but unless you know what you're doing you'll get crushed even on the lowest difficulty setting if you take the initiative. Even when you're doing well, the game allows the losing opponent (during Conquest mode, for example) to unleash a WMD attack, potentially wiping out most of your forces. You could be wiping the floor with your opposite number and find yourself on the back foot in seconds. It's a great way of keeping players in the game when things are going against them, but it can be used in a ruinous way. The other player does get to strike back with a WMD of their own later, but by then the war may be lost.

There's also little difference between factions. It's generally accepted tradition to give each faction its own unique powers and abilities, but here it's limited to minor tweaks. Perhaps the time saved there was spent trying to solve the camera problems, as the zoomed-in default view also makes it easy to lose track of imminent danger. A zoomed out, overhead Sit Rep map can be called upon, and rectifies matters to some degree, but the game works best when you can see what's happening in multiple areas at once, not just some of the time.

Look closer and you'll see our good friends rock, paper and scissors duking it out.

Online, EndWar offers a persistent battle mode, Theatre of War. Essentially identical to the single-player game, players fight against human opponents and the results are calculated every 24 hours, and the battlegrounds re-established. In the same way as the offline game, you use credits and experience points to beef up units and continue your quest for global domination. All this works well for a while, although the scope is rather limited given that, once you've fought your battles that day, all there is to do is fight another player over the same maps. You do the same thing the next day, and while it's good to have persistency, the repetition starts to wear.

Making a genuinely accessible real-time strategy game for console owners is definitely a worthy aim though, and EndWar gets a lot of things right: a beautifully slick interface, stripped down mechanics, and the best voice-recognition system of any game we've played. It's got plenty to offer armchair strategists, but balancing issues, pathfinding and AI niggles and a disappointing lack of variety in factions stop it just short of its obvious potential. It's lacking a bit of Clancy magic, then, although we'll be interested to see where Ubisoft takes it from here.

7 /10

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About the author

Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed


Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.


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