Act of War: High Treason

Act of War: High Treason

Act of War: High Treason

High spirits on the high sea, but feeling rum.

Condensed reviewer mode: on. Act of War: Direct Action. C&C Clone. C&C Beater. Explosions. Techno-thriller. Terrorists! Conspiracy! Actually really good. So-bad-they're-good cut-scenes. Should have sold more. Expansion pack!

As well as the usual selection of new units to fill out and help tweak the balances of the three-sides and a new single-player campaign (which sadly dumps the real-world footage of actors), there are two major additions to Act of War's actual mechanics: Mercenaries and Navy combat. They're so important they probably deserve a paragraph each. Carriage-return time.

Mercenaries are a shared-unit type, available via the same building to all three sides. They're essentially expensive, powerful and fragile fast-response units which you pay a set fee for and then pay a low repeating retainer as long as they're on the battlefield. They've got the second advantage of being able to be dropped anywhere on the battlefield as an instant response thing - the further into enemy terrain, the longer the delay until arrival while a mercenary chopper reconnoitres the terrain (it can be destroyed by the way, preventing you from dropping mercenaries on the enemy base). As well as basic types of combat medics or support troops you can, if you research appropriately, hire illegal mercenaries including the techno-thriller classic of a dirty nuclear device in the back of a truck. Mercenaries work, add a new element to worry about in the game and offer little worth criticising. So well done for them.

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Try Act of War: High Treason

New playable demo available.

A new demo has been released for the expansion pack to PC RTS Act of War: Direct Action - and it's now available via Eurofiles.

Act of War expansion details

Act of War expansion details

Naval combat, mercenaries, new MP modes - how it all works.

Atari and Eugen Systems this week spoke more candidly about the first expansion pack for Act of War: Direct Action, their highly-rated PC RTS. The pack's due out in March 2006 and features naval combat, mercenary units, a greater degree of multiplayer customisation and, of course, a new campaign.

Eugen's tried to ensure that the units in Act of War retain their correct proportions - or at least come reasonably close - so naval combat was obviously a challenge. Destroyers, aircraft carriers - these are big things. To achieve this, Eugen's worked with the camera so that you're still just as close to the action on dry land, but out to sea it zooms out to a more appropriate vantage point.

Ship to ship combat will be a bit more complex than simply turning and firing - each ship has various strengths and weaknesses so there'll be a real paper-scissors-stone feel to events. Cruise missiles fired from the back will be picked off by gun emplacements, for example, so you'll want to make sure you can affect a two-or-more-pronged attack relying on aerial support. Or torpedoes. Those tasty torpedoes.

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