The war after the apocalypse is going to become a light snack, so to speak. Ubisoft has announced Tom Clancy’s EndWar Online, a browser-based online game that gives players a chance to play quick, real-time battles in a multiplayer experience.
The free-to-play game is set in the universe of Tom Clancy’s EndWar, which debuted as a real-time tactical-combat game on consoles and PC in 2008. In the fiction, the world powers create a shield that blocks all use of nuclear weapons, which leads to a global conventional war fought with tanks, aircraft, ships, and infantry. You’re the last leader in the aftermath of World War III. The new game, being developed by original EndWar creator Ubisoft Shanghai, is a tactical and strategic massively multiplayer online game.
The title offers real-time battles, headquarters and army management, and massive community-based wars. I played a couple of rounds at Ubisoft’s Digital Day event and found it to be pretty frenetic. You start a match by selecting the different tactical units you will use — drones, tanks, helicopters, air strikes, infantry, or anti-aircraft vehicles. Then you square off against another human player. Both of you have bases to defend and several avenues to attack down. You can send tanks down one path, but the enemy can counter them with helicopters or an air strike. You can counter the air units with anti-aircraft. The action is rock-paper-scissors style strategy. You have to make quick decisions.
The appeal of the game is that it does away with the typical micromanagement that happens in a real-time strategy game. You simply select your units and throw them into combat by grabbing them and dropping them. In that sense, the game will be quite playable on a touch screen if Ubisoft decides to publish the game beyond the PC or the Mac platforms.
If you send the wrong units down a path, you can’t do anything about it except prepare to send the right units the next time. Complicating your task is the fact that the enemy units may be hidden from you. Your object is to blast through your enemy’s defenses and attack the base. Once you destroy the base, the multiplayer round is over. The rounds I played lasted just a few minutes.
The game is set in 2030, with three factions fighting over the crumbs of the world after a global war. They include the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The Europeans and U.S. use high-tech weapons while Russia’s Spetnaz use brute-force tactics. The big war never ended, but the factions were greatly weakened during the war. The Eiffel Tower has fallen in Paris, and the whole city is nothing but a military base now. You can create your own weapons and heroes. There are many types of heroes, from combatants to leaders. There will be more than 80 heroes, which can be leveled up. The game will include both player-versus-player and player-versus-environment battles.
The original game was not a huge seller, but the browser-based version may please the lingering fans who hoped that the original would spawn a larger series. But while that older game was a big meal, this one is really just a snack. The game is in closed-beta testing now on the PC and Mac. The game uses “advanced Flash-based technology” that allows full 3D graphics to be rendered directly in your browser. That means it’s the latest version of Flash 11. The graphics weren’t bad, but they were obviously browser-based.
“We have been looking for a way to bring EndWar back to its fans and have found an accessible way with Tom Clancy’s EndWar Online,” said Thomas Painçon, the EMEA FTP publishing director at Ubisoft. “By offering gameplay directly in browsers, we hope old fans and new alike will enjoy this new EndWar experience and join in the quest to lead their faction to victory.”