Many years ago, I owned a computer with a very rudimentary voice-operated word processor on it. I can't remember the name of the particular bit of software, which is probably handy from a legal point of view given what I'm about to say about it, but I do remember that it was a dazzlingly effective piece of technology, so long as what you required was an easy means of taking letters, shopping lists, CVs and college essays, and transforming them into conceptually challenging works of modernist free association. It was a lovely idea, but it didn't work.
Eurogamer is stirring. "That's completely unfair!" bleats Michael de Plater, with a whiff of the naughty schoolboy, in his unmistakable south Australian drawl. "I've been really good on cutting stuff!" pleads the man who is creative director on Tom Clancy's EndWar, the voice-commanded console RTS that embraces Anglo-Saxon accents of all flavours, from Camden to Canberra, with several tongues in-between.
Part one of our strategy and simulation roundup covered Halo Wars, Civilization Revolution and Football Manager Live, amongst others. Here's the rest of the best.
Yeah, it works. Best to get that out of the way early. Because if you've been paying the slightest attention to Ubisoft Shanghai's ambitious and risky attempt to reinvent the real-time strategy genre on console, it really all boils down to one question. And that, in short, is the answer. Voice command in EndWar? It works. Really well, actually.
"I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but I do know World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
With its console focus EndWar might seem like an obvious riposte to EA's Command & Conquer and Lord of the Rings strategy games, but speaking to creative director Michael de Plater at UbiDays, we're told that's not the case. There's no base-building, the camera's almost third-person, and the focus is on battle tactics, with Total War-style squads - infantry, artillery, tanks and the like - issued orders via pad and headset, and relatively limited reinforcement available to bail you out.