Points are awarded for completing objectives, number of units lost versus destroyed, and mission performance. This was a welcome feature as it adds depth to the already enjoyable game. Points that are collected can be spent on any number of upgrades such as weapon range, effectiveness, unit armor and decrease the resource cost of reinforcements. The types of upgrades available will lend themselves to whichever strategy you lean toward. If you like to use mostly tanks then upgrade their mobility and armor first. If you want to fight from a distance (artillery) then make them more accurate and hard hitting.
Order of War looks nice even on a budget system. If your PC can handle it there are enough shadows, foliage, and polygons to convince your eyes that your on the battlefield. Tanks will knock over small trees and power lines, bombers will leave craters in the ground, and buildings will be slowly destroyed as you shoot at the soldiers inside. The interface is exactly what it needs to be: informative but not invasive or obtrusive. You can even remove it completely by hitting F12.
The developers touted the Cinematic Camera but that doesn’t quite pan out. First off, you can’t issue orders when using it so it will go unused in most missions except at the very end when you are on clean-up duty. It also zooms to the point that it shows off infantry running through tanks and tanks running through the edges of walls. Sometimes infantry will get out of the way to let a line of armored vehicles through the line, but mostly they’ll stand there and let the tanks drive through them. Another item that detracts from the experience is that tanks can shoot through hills or hit units from odd angles.
The audio has the same music as every other war game. It’s well done but stereotypical. The voice acting is solid and not done in over-the-top C&C style. If you complete two objectives simultaneously it could lead to two scripted lines being played at the same time. That turned what they were both saying into an incoherent mess. They’ll also constantly remind you if you aren’t living up to the games expectations. For example, in one mission the words “Don’t forget to call for reinforcements” were said 10 times in 3 minutes.
Let’s talk about multiplayer as it can be a big determining factor for many people. Order of War’s multiplayer was disappointing even though it allows you to play as Russia (not available in the single player mode). The game allows every unit, artillery, and air support type for your nation to be available from the first second of a match with a set amount of resources allocated to each player. It then becomes a free for all to capture control points with no fog of war to prevent you from seeing every unit on the field. The game will keep track of your performance and give you combat experience that matches you with players of similar skill.
Everyone will want to play as USA because they get paratroopers that can be dropped anywhere on the map. There appears to be very little end game strategy and becomes more of a mad dash than methodical progression. It was fun to try to play in teams but you start on opposite sides of the map than your ally leading to a split in your forces if you send them reinforcements. With there only being one game mode, it ended up being more of a let down than a fulfilling experience. This is sad because RTS games beg to be played online.
Order of War has a great single player campaign that lasts anywhere from 10-20 hours depending on your play style. Crank up the difficulty and prepare to be presented with a rewarding experience that provides replay value especially with the upgrade system. The graphics and audio, even though imperfect, will keep you engaged. If you can overlook some blemishes and prefer a solo experience, pick up this game and prepare to take command of a challenging but very fun game.
While you won't find much innovation, Order of War is a well crafted RTS game. The lack of satisfying multiplayer is disappointing but the single player game is rewarding enough to keep you coming back for more.
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