Nothing flexes our imagination like alternate history scenarios, and World in Conflict delivers one that has us on the edge of our seat. It’s the late 1980s, and the Cold War is far from over. The commies have already made a push to invade Western Europe, and in a desperate move, have decided to mount a sneak attack on American shores. It’s your mission to contain the Soviet invasion and retake Seattle before the invaders paint the country red.
WiC isn’t just the prettiest strategy game we’ve ever played—the effects are stunning—it’s also one of the most tactical. In each mission, you’re charged with capturing a series of control points with a limited number of units. The game eschews base building and unit construction by giving you a set number of points to call in vehicle and infantry airdrops. Points are reclaimed after your troops perish, so the strategy becomes how you allocate the various types of tanks to capture and hold the front lines. This Battlefield-esque reinforcement scheme ensures there’s never a long break in the action, but also gave us enough time to plan our next assaults.
The suburbs of Washington state and the bleak wilderness of Eastern Europe are just a few of the amazingly detailed battlegrounds ready to be demolished in the game. In-game cut scenes help flesh out the narrative by giving glimpses into the lives of the soldiers fighting under your command. The war at home feels very real; its impact resonates even more when nukes are detonated on American soil.
Taking the fight online yields another fresh RTS experience. Players team up to take on armor, air, support, and infantry roles, each with special units that uniquely contribute to an overall match. We dug using helicopters to rain down guided missiles of justice, but found the support role not as useful as the other offensive classes. Online niggles aside, World in Conflict is one of the most accessible and action-packed strategy games we’ve ever played.
Amazingly detailed battlegrounds; highly tactical. Also: Accessible and fun.