Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Atari RTS says 'capture, don't kill'

Eugen Systems' Act of War: Direct Action not only looks gorgeous, but seems to have some thought behind it too. Surely not?

RTS games. We think we know them. According to Frenchmen Eugen Systems, we don't - their forthcoming Atari-published title Act of War: Direct Action is built on different ideas, like the need to medevac your wounded soldiers instead of just clicking on a Barracks and building some more, and the need to take prisoners rather than killing enemy combatants. Guantanamo Bay doesn't just fill itself.

In fact, there's some truth in that last bit, because the story behind the Direct Action is, in the words of Atari, "ripped from today's headlines" by best-selling author Dale Brown, who has crafted a tale in which a consortium of petroleum giants are financing international terrorism to try and destabilise the economy and profit from rocketing oil prices. It's up to us - us being a group of seasoned military types and young techies - to track them down and engage them on battlefields the world over.

Those battlefields, it seems, will be closer to home than we think, too. The fully 3D game world will let you zoom right down to street level on battlefields like San Francisco, Washington, Moscow, and even London - all detailed, realistic and destructible. Atari is also pledging high production values, and a "level of detail in character animations and textures only seen in FPS games to date." It's a claim that these rather impressive screenshots go some way to backing up.

Of course, in addition to all that, we can also expect multiplayer options and a single-player skirmish mode for some post-campaign fun. Perhaps in the long run Act of War will prove a little close for comfort - C&C Generals famously did for some people - but when it does roll around in spring 2005, we'll be keen to see how Eugen Systems has done.