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Review

Video: Daniel 'zoNE' Gabryś

What's the deal?!

Original War is a mix of strategy and RPG. We have two campaigns available in the game which both amount to about 35 missions. Long, interesting and thinking inducing missions. What does Original War have to do with the role playing genre though? Well, this game isn't a typical strategy where the player pumps out tens of the same units. No, every soldier here has his own name, looks, rank and abilities. Each soldier who dies during a mission will be lost forever. Your team truly is indispensable, as the only truly new recruits that we will gain will be apemen, who will never compare well to human soldiers - who by the way gain experience during the course of the game. Those are the bare facts.

Storyline

The whole story begins somewhere within Siberia, where a guy called General Emerson finds a very interesting device and brings it back to the USA with him. In time American scientists working on it finally figure out what it is: a fully functioning time machine, which can send anything placed within it a couple of million years back in time. They also discover a very interesting mineral which they call siberite, and which is told to be able to cure the world's energy problems. Immediately a problem emerges: the mineral's only source is believed to be in Siberia, firmly under Russian control. American leaders therefore hatch a cunning plan. They send an army expedition back in time to extract the mineral from Siberia and move it to the Alaskan mainland back when the Bering-Alaska land bridge still existed. If they succeeded, the Americans would be within possession of the most potent energy resource in the world, which would secure their domination.

However, there is a problem. The first American soldiers who arrive at their destination back in time end up none other than under fire by what seems to be very angry Russians. Russians who have also arrived back in time, but from the a different timeline...

One has to admit at the very start that the storyline is a strong side of the game. It is climactic, complicated and quite realistic. The storyline is also non-linear with many details in the campaign changing depending on the player's actions, up to and including the campaign endings.

Graphics and sound

The graphics engine might not be the best looking game out there, but it is nonetheless detailed. Units are detailed, while the pre-rendered terrain is more than just eye-candy and actively influences warfare. Small things such as single trees impeding line of sight is something that most games never take into account. Ingame music changes based on what is currently happening on the screen, building suspension. While in a forest one can not only see but also hear it. Overall the audio-visual part of the game stands on a good level.

Gameplay

The game is played in real time. A pause option is available, during which a player can plan his units' actions carefully. The interface is intuitive with a very short learning curve, so even a new player can be in the midst of the game very quickly. There is always something happening on the screen, however thanks to the reports of your units in battle, chaos doesn't occur all too often and the player can respond where necessary. This is of course a good thing, as units in Original War are never expendable. By far the main thing bases are used for are research of new types of armament, and building vehicles for your units to improve their damage and chance of survival. This means that bases in general aren't large, but small and provisional. Often times they are completely dismantled and rebuilt somewhere else during the course of a mission. Due to their provisional character, bases are rarely absolutely critical to the flow of the mission. Your soldiers can often time simply rebuild somewhere else, resources permitting. This of course is not the end of the list of innovative features. Original War offers many fresh, new things, giving a breath of fresh air to the stale RTS industry.

Verdict

Original War is innovative and (as the name implies) original. It can easily rival the best strategies of all time, despite its putting pressure on single player mode. Its feel, gameplay and low price make for a great package for any player. If you're ready to go back in time, make a trip to one of the shops listed below.


Author: Mules
Translation: Yuri_S
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