Video Game Review: 'Tom Clancy's EndWar'

Europe, Russia and the U.S. go to war in this near-future RTS with a twist.

Nov. 28, 2008— -- More and more, real-time strategy (RTS) games are making their way onto next-gen video game consoles. In the past, most of them have been ports of PC games which are at least somewhat simplified to make them playable on the consoles, and to make up for the lack of a mouse and keyboard.

"Tom Clancy's EndWar" seeks to completely remake the genre for home consoles, by keeping gameplay simple and adding voice controls so players can get their troops moving without using the console's cumbersome controller.

The game is set in a future where the world's oil supply has been crippled by a nuclear attack. The U.S. and an alliance of nations named the European Federation have worked to eliminate the nuclear threat once and for all by launching space-based missile defense shields. As the world's chief energy supplier, Russia is once again a major superpower with the miliatry prowess to match.

As the U.S. prepares to send an orbital defense platform into space and upset the balance of power, tension between the three world powers is reaching a fever pitch.

Moments to Learn, Days to Master

"Tom Clancy's EndWar" is easy to learn thanks to the voice controls, but remains challenging throughout. There isn't a vast multitude of troops to choose from, but the lack of variety doesn't affect the fun factor. Whether you're new to the genre or a veteran, "EndWar" offers a unique experience that's different every time.

The game's single-player campaign is little more than a tutorial in how to best use your troops and how to use the game's unique control interface. In what's little more than a prelude to world war, players have to make their way through the opening salvo of the war's early battles. Once that's accomplished, the game spits players out onto a world map with various "battlefields" representing key areas of conflict within each of the warring nations.

The battles range in importance and have varied goals. Take a key supply point and disrupt enemies on adjoining battlefields; defend a landmark city from foreign armies.

Once players are familiar with the gameplay through the single-player campaign, it's time to take the experience online in an MMO-like, (massively-multiplayer online game) world where you're no longer facing the game's software, but real players around the world. Lose or win, your actions affect the board for all players.

Without the easy to use voice-controls, "Tom Clancy's EndWar" might just be another, run of the mill RTS. But once players are belting out orders into their headsets and engaged in the RISK-style massiveness and persistance of the robust online game, they won't want this war to end.

Tom Clancy's EndWar is rated "T" for "Teen" and is available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles and Windows PCs.