Ubidays 08: Hands-on with Tom Clancy’s EndWar

Tom Clancy’s EndWar, probably Ubisoft’s biggest hyped up game of this year. And for good reason too. This is the stepping stone in a new direction Ubisoft is going towards. It’s an RTS game designed just for consoles and implements other Tom Clancy games such as having Ghost Recon soliders and H.A.W.X fighter jets. This is also the first current-gen game allowing players to just use their voice to control every aspect of the game.

Hit the jump to see what I thought of Tom Clancy’s EndWar and it’s voice command system.

Welcome to World War III. The United States, Europe and Russia are all at each other’s throats fighting it out to become the top dog in the world. What lead them this path to war? Here’s a little timeline: 

Nuclear terrorism in Saudi Arabia kills 6 million and cripples the world’s oil supply. The world is seized by an energy crisis of catastrophic proportions that sees many governments struggling to maintain civil and economic order. “Energy security” becomes the explicit priority of governments around the world.
The historic S.L.A.M.S. (Space-Land-Air Missile Shield) treaty is ratified by the United States and Europe. The Joint US-European missile shield goes live. Strategic nuclear war has been rendered impossible. On both sides of the Atlantic, crowds celebrate the advent of a new age of peace and security.
2017 – 2020 –

Now the world’s number-one supplier of crude oil and natural gas, Russia pours its flooding petrodollars into its greatest arms buildup since the Cold War.
In response to the ongoing energy crisis, nearly all of the European Union’s member states ratify the European Constitution and unite as a single national entity known as The European Federation (EF), with a population and GNP greater than the United States. The United Kingdom declines federation, but retains close economic and diplomatic ties.
The international community – Europe in particular – responds with outrage when the U.S. launches its first kinetic bombardment satellites in orbit. The European Federation starts launching its own weaponised satellite systems. Both superpowers are locked in a spiraling arms race in space. By the end of 2019, each has put a dozen ground-effect weapons satellites into orbit.
The United States begins assembling the “Freedom Star,” a military space station to house a battalion of rapid-response “orbital marines”. International reaction to this “American Aircraft Carrier in Space” is very negative. Despite international protests, the US vows to go forward with the launch of Freedom Star modules as scheduled.

The world hasn’t been doing so good since the Nuclear Holocaust happened in the Middle East. Russia has become the number one producer of oil in the world and they’ve been using their new found wealth to create an arms build up. There’s a lot more to this whole story than this and you’ll be playing through the back story of all the major events leading up to World War III in the first  ten missions of the game. You’ll be jumping between all the US-led Joint Strike Force, the European Enforcers Corps and the Russian Spetsnaz Guards Brigade as you view the war from each perspective.

After those ten missions, it’s on to the real meat of the game as you pick one faction and go up against the other two super powers. The first thing I noticed while playing is that the camera is low to the ground and always fixed on a specific unit. You can switch the camera around but only to each individual unit. You can only see the action next to your troops and you have a real world view of everything. You can’t look down at the world Like a God anymore and see what everyone is doing. If enemy forces are positioned behind a building, you won’t be able to see them unless you get some forces in that area. 

The main goal on the map we played on was to capture every strategic point. These satellite linkup sites are crucial to your forces as they give you an upper hand in battles. Each one you capture will go towards helping you win the war.

You have various troop types at your disposable. Tanks, soldiers, transports, helicopters and more will be available.  Each unit will have disadvantages and advantages over different types of enemy units. So for instance, tanks are stronger against transports, transports are stronger against helicopters, and helicopters are stronger against tanks. It’s about having the right type of troop mixture to have the advantage in fire fights.

The game can be played with just your controller, but where the game really shinned to me was in the voice command system. The entire game could possibly be played using just the voice commands. I was amazed at how well the game was able to understand what I was telling it to do and all of the things you can command to it. You can say stuff like “Unit 2 camera” and the camera will jump over to Unit 2. Saying “Unit 3 secure Delta” will have Unit 3 head on over to Delta and fight off whoever is at Delta. There’s going to be a lot of stuff that you’ll have to memorize, but over time, you’ll have the commands memorized like you would a combination lock. This will also allow you to do two things at once. You could be manually moving a group of soldiers to one location while at the same time, commanding another unit to move to another section of the map.

When I had first heard about the optional voice control, I thought nothing of it. I’ve delt with other voice command software before and always had a horrible time with them as they couldn’t understand what I was saying. The developer I was playing with had a very heavy French accent and the game perfectly understood what he was saying as he barked his orders into the mic. You won’t have a thing to worry about when it comes to the voice command. 

After every level, you’ll be able to purchase upgrades, better weapons and even training programs for your forces. 

EndWar will have you visiting over 40 realistic real-world locations as you try and fight for world supremacy. Multiplayer wasn’t on hand, but I was told that multiplayer will be up to eight players. Watch for this game to come out on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 soon.

Hamza Aziz