Previews

World in Conflict

Steve Hogarty discovers that the Cold War is hotting up again. Those pesky Russians

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It then heads back in time to the fall of Europe and the struggles of NATO, where each of the characters originally met and explanations for their current attitudes to one another are provided.

It's clever storytelling, and nice narrative touches such as an army general using a tourist guide for a small American town as an impromptu strategic map assure you that some thought went into the single-player campaigns.

And I've mentioned all this without once blubbing about the simply astounding camera - the ability to zoom down to eye-level and look up at the sky or survey the fiery battlefield all the way out to the horizon. Oh, and how if you zoom in on units you can hear their radio chatter. And how in single-player, if you go after an objective your AI team-mate has been assigned to, he'll have a go at you for showing off, Starwing-style.

Zoom

The fully 3D mega-map too, which has had the wind taken out of it by Supreme Commander's own 3D battlefield map, has its own charm, allowing you to see everything at once, in real-time, like some malevolent god or high-flying seagull. Even the bugs in the alpha code are pleasing, with the increasingly prevalent smoke from explosions gradually rendering the entire battlefield unviewable through a thick and hilarious smog.

Purists might scoff at World In Conflict's arcade-like attitude to our humble RTS genre, but they'd be wrong to do so. It's going to be awesome - a genuinely new and perhaps revolutionary take on modern combat strategy. And you can quote me on that come autumn.

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