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WarGame: Airland Battle review

For me, the real time strategy genre has never really moved on from the glory days of Command and Conquer, with every game released since then never really capturing the same thrills of micromanagement and sending endless troops to their death, then my old PC just couldn’t keep up with the graphical powers required and to be honest, all of the console iterations can never beat the simple mouse and keyboard mechanics of these games, so I just drifted away from the genre. So with the chance to review Wargame: AirLand Battle it came as a pleasant surprise that though not a lot has changed in the general game mechanics, there is still the chance to innovate.

Starting Wargame with no real preconceptions having never heard of the game before, the initial gameplay turned to disappointment with it offering an almost Risk style satellite view of the region, that has been broken into coloured segments. Depending on the situation, there will be an assortment of tanks spread through the lands; some are yours, the others the enemies. The solo campaigns missions generally revolve round the “run the enemy out of town” to all out destroy everything requirements with moving the pieces around the map done by a move per day; simply select the unit and then point to where they go, it looks very pretty with the sea rippling around but it does feel a bit drab. Then it all changes and my jaw just hits the ground.

When you finally make your tanks meet with an enemy you are then moved to the battle area, treating you to a bird’s eye view of the coming battlefield. You are awarded points at the start of the game and with these points you are able to purchase units. There are no tiers to work through to get the good stuff, no mining of the local area to earn more cash, it’s all there ready and waiting for you to deploy, the only restrictions are either what the game will grant you depending on the circumstances of the story, the country you are fighting with or your Deck (more on which later). The battlefield is broken into even more areas, your home base and a few neutral ones scattered around, ready for capture if you wish, some will offer extra points to use later whilst others will allow you to deploy even more units from a strategically better area. Once you have selected your units for battle you just then have to launch the start of the battle and from that moment on its all hands on deck. Extremely quick tactical thinking is required in Wargame, commanding your troops and using the in depth info screen to work out their best uses, be it ranged or up close battle, ground to air or vice versa, with hundreds of possibilities, each battle will turn out different depending on who you bring to the fight but are very easy to execute with simple click commands with the mouse to select, move and attack.

Once won, lost or fled the battlefield you again return to the global view, watching the enemy turn tail as you then start to get a feel for the game (there is a tutorial but the very handy YouTube vids out there are a lot better). With time you gradually earn points to spend on a global scale, calling in reinforcements, adding skills like and even launching a nuclear attack on a specific area, greatly reducing the number of enemies in that zone and softening them up for the next battle.

With the extremely satisfying element of tactics required through the real time battle it is the camera control that changes this from an OK game to breath-taking one. Even on my reasonable PC set up a few overheating situations caused the game to crash, but even with a few of the options turned down the level of detail is simply fantastic and something that modern consoles will have very little chance of replicating. With a simple roll of the scroll button you can zoom right into the action, and I don’t mean a twenty feet above the ground, I mean ground level, experiencing the battle first hand, being able to see the troops and tanks line of sight, deciding if you should be using the woods and forests as cover, negotiate muddy terrain or take the risk of using roads; you can even zoom into the local towns to see if they are suitable for your men to take advantage of the windows, offering the perfect ambush situation. Even on the lower settings the game easily handles all of the scaling required, adding more detail to not only the machines and men, but the surrounding country side, adding detailed roads and fields that slowly get trampled by the massive tank tracks.

As mentioned earlier the solo campaign will dictate what you can select, however for skirmishes and online battles you can either go for a preloaded selection or create your very own Deck, granting you the chance to create the perfect set up for any sort of battle. The Deck creation is relatively easy, choose a country, decide if you want to use bonuses that grant extra units but restrict your overall selection and then peruse the huge list of available units, each recreated in the hanger, allowing you to zoom in and out and also take in all of the information of each unit. The Deck creation is a vital tool to playing to your style, allowing you the chance to make sure you have the right balance of land and air superiority, spreading your units with logistics, infantry, support, tanks, planes and helicopters; overall there are over 700 units in total to play with, a staggering amount that will offer many options no matter what you play as.

Irrespective of the power of your PC, Wargame: AirLand Battle is a very satisfying real time strategy war game, that with a little more power in your graphics it just gets better and better. With a reasonable single player campaign, this is really all about taking it online for the skirmishes against the like-minded players or even the AI (even easy will punish you if not prepared) across a healthy host of maps and modes.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PC)


+ First rate real time strategy that feel like you tactics make a difference to the battle
+ 750 units to select from
+ High end production on the visuals and sound


+ You need to search the internet for decent tutorials
+ Can be quite difficult even on the easy settings

Edited On 06 Jun, 2013

( 1 )
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
Interesting. Never heard of it. I might give it a go. But RTS for me begins and ends with C&C and Starcraft, with a few oddities dotted in between. I'll give this a butchers at some point though.

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