Tom Clancy's EndWar


Dec 19, 2001
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There's a dream in many strategy game developers’ minds, and that's to adapt the real-time strategy genre for the console and keep it just as playable and intuitive as on PC. Every other genre you can think of has already made this evolution, oftentimes coming out radically different in the end. While we've seen functional and sometimes impressive control schemes that adapt the PC game fairly successfully to the console, few have scrapped everything we hold dear about the RTS and start from square one. Tom Clancy's EndWar does. If Ubisoft Shanghai can finish the development off with a bang, console gamers will be treated to a new breed of strategy.

There are only two major changes being made to the classic RTS formula for EndWar, yet the end result is an entirely fresh experience. The first change is to bring the camera down to the playing field and put the player inside the action. Rather than observing and commanding from the heavens, you'll have to let your units be your eyes and ears. The viewpoint is always attached to one of your units. To see everything, you'll have to hotswap between the different squadrons. On paper, this doesn't sound like a big deal. In practice, it removes the necessity for the oft-seen fog of war. If you don't have a direct line of sight on your enemy, you won't know what they're up to.


If you just can't give up your satellite view, EndWar has you covered. You can pull back to a tactical map and deliver commands from that vantage point as well. Well, theoretically you could. We were so engrossed with swapping the camera around and barking out commands that we never had time to consider any alternatives.

That brings us to the second major change; the voice command. Without a mouse and keyboard, console RTS players usually have to struggle with unit selection, command, and camera control. All of this can be done with the controller in EndWar, but you can also use your voice to play the game. With the press of a button, you can order attacks, swap your vantage point, or commandeer control points. The exact same commands can all be issued simply by talking -- and it works. Aside from the times when we mumbled, the game had no trouble recognizing what we said.


In our time with EndWar, we played several simple one on one matches against lead designer Michael de Plater. Needless to say, we didn't stand a chance against the practiced developer. We did, however, get a good look at some of the maps, modes and balancing techniques.

There's a standard versus mode where the victory condition is simply total annihilation of the opposing squadrons. More interesting, and the one that Ubisoft is banking on being the most popular, is the conquest mode where capturing and holding bases is the key to victory. It's a structure similar to Battlefield, but we found a few twists.

We played this mode on the map demoed at the German Games Convention as well as one that previously had not been shown, New York City. In the background sat the Statue of Liberty. Before us lay buildings, warehouses, bridges, and five command points to fight over. The battle begins with just a few squadrons, which you can pick the class of prior to the fight. From there, it's up to you to capture the command points and defeat enemies to earn points you can put towards bringing extra units in or upgrading what you have. Adding defensive capabilities, such as AI controlled drones, to a capture point is a good idea if you want to hold it for more than a few minutes.

The structure of New York gave each team two easy capture points and then placed the last smack in the middle. We managed to get there first, but quickly found that you need more than speed to win. You see, EndWar also has a WMD system to give players devastating alternatives to old fashioned skirmishes. Tactical nukes, air strikes and more can turn the tide at a moment's notice. After we took the third base a nuke got dropped on it, wiping it out entirely and leaving just four capture points. At the same time, unbeknownst to us, our first base was being attacked in a surprise assault at our weak underbelly. Exposed, it was only a matter of time before our army crumbled.


EndWar requires a combination of both strategy and quick thinking and it's actually possible on the console when you can simply talk your way through a battle. We didn't quite have the hang of it after just a few matches, but it was easy to see how much fun the game would be after a bit more practice. It was also interesting to see how quickly the tide of the battle can turn with a tactical nuke. Keeping all of your units in one large army may be easier to manage, but it puts all your eggs in a single basket.

EndWar is due out in early 2008 and looks to be on track to hit that release window. The game is significantly farther along than when we last saw it in the summer, with more polished control, animations, visuals and stability. It shouldn't be long before the game is in a state complete enough for us to spend some quality time with it to see how deep the strategy can get.

I REALLY cannot wait for this game. If you can't either, there's a book based on the game that's just been released.

Tom Clancy's name tied to it always made it stand out. But im not so sure about this.
i bought my xbox JUST to play rainbow six vegas

then i sold it cause i needed some cash

i will buy my next xbox JUST to play end war

yea babyy
Just started playing this game over the weekend and it's great so far, really loving how easy the voice commands are to use. Hopefully they'll make a new one that can expand the game to include more RTS elements like managing funds and building structures and things during the game.

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