|System: X360, PS3, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Shanghai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Skirmish, like Solo Campaign, can be played alone, but it also allows you to jump into any map with custom mission parameters online. These one-off battles are great for playing against challenging human competition without getting too involved. However, you can significantly up the ante by entering into the Theatre of War mode. This persistent world is a massive online campaign that pits player versus player and faction versus faction for international bragging rights. Beating people and getting your hat handed to you online is both incredibly rewarding and humbling. As such, future EndWar players are likely to gravitate toward this special mode.
Without a doubt, what separates EndWar from every other RTS out there is its innovative order system. Instead of dealing with clunky menus, players will simply issue commands with their voice. By holding down on the RT or R2 buttons, players call out commands such as Unit 2 Secure Foxtrot, Unit 6 Attack Hostile 3, Unit 5 Move to Zulu. Surprisingly, the units respond flawlessly, and you dont have to speak slowly either. The game will calibrate itself to your voice prompts, so youll never be frustrated by misunderstood orders. I was in awe of just how well this system actually works, and I think RTS fans will love the level of realism it delivers. You truly feel like a field commander!
Graphics and sound in EndWar do a good job of telling the tale. The 40 available maps cover many real-world locales. These distinct battlefields keep things fresh. However, they're not nearly as detailed as I had hoped. In fact, the world does look a little barren except for key landmarks; it's simply not a living world. Also, it can often be challenging to get a good view of the battlefield from a unit's perspective; the withdrawn camera is frequently obscured by trees and buildings. As such, players will need to keep a Command Vehicle deployed at all times to gain access to real-time maps in order to marshal units effectively. Consequently, you'll be starring at a boring map with tiny, transparent icons that doesn't communicate the drama of the battlefield. Graciously, sounds are much better. The voice work is excellent; all the actors are quite believable. I especially liked the extremely varied and smart troop comments while selecting units; it's a great way to gauge unit morale and to get a chuckle. Also, the funky bass riffs during menu selection screens are nice.
Tom Clancy's EndWar is a solid RTS that fans of the genre shouldn't miss. The new voice command system works flawlessly, and players should find it to be a mighty rewarding experience. Still, gamers who aren't into strategic war-games will likely find the title to be dull. As such, it's not a must-buy across the board. Nevertheless, it is a noble effort by Ubisoft Shanghai, and one that will doubtless lead to the birth of a strong strategy franchise for the future.
CCC Editor / News Director