Act of War: Direct Action

April 26, 2006 · Print This Article

Act of War : Direct ActionReal Time Strategy, or RTS games, are unique in every aspect. There is just such a stark contrast between the games that get it wrong and those that get it right. They all use the basic fundamentals, yet it is strange how some games can just hit the right number every time and pull away with flying colors while others get left in the dust. The question is: What category does Act of War: Direct Action fall into?

First off, something that should be mentioned about Act of War is that it uses live action cut-scenes. Strange indeed, and the last games that managed to pull that off were the incredibly popular Command and Conquer games. If nothing else, Act of War deserves kudos for making an attempt at such a rarely trodden road. Thankfully, Act of War actually does a good job with them and the live action cut-scenes really help to bring the story to life and help to enthrall the gamer into the game world.

When said to be unoriginal, it is true in many senses. Primarily, Act of War seems to be a copycat in more than one sense of the popular Command and Conquer games. In addition to using live action cut-scenes similar to the C&C titles, Act of War also uses units that closely resemble those found in Command and Conquer: Generals as well as providing each faction with one superweapon. Oh yeah, and terrorists can go underground and pop up in new places.

In the gameplay theatre, Act of War: Direct Action uses mostly a tried and true basic RTS engine, yet introduces enough new features to make it intriguing. Mainly, Act of War differs from other RTS titles in how the game handles resources. Rather than the most RTS games where you make certain units and they go out and gather different types of materials, Act of War instead allows you to build an oil in order to make money. Additionally, the city itself (where all of your missions are based, within a city) can lend its hand by allowing gamers to place units itself of buildings such as banks and milk it for all its worth, generating an even larger cash flow. The last form of making cash comes in the form of POW’s. You have the option of capturing them and then using them as bait to make more money, which also comes into play when you take the game online because you don’t want anyone else capturing your soldiers.

The visuals in Act of War are really amazing. The live-action cut scenes obviously look pretty darn good, but beyond those the game also shines. The cities are well drawn out and fairly interactive, creating a great and intriguing setting that is sure to draw you in. Units, despite taking plenty of hints from the C&C games, are well designed. The special effects received plenty of attention and this title shines with the best of them.

Just like the visuals, the game also sounds extremely good. The voice-acting is superb, really adding to a solid storyline and helping to draw gamers into an area, the story, where most RTS titles are lacking. The music isn’t overly impressive, but it also doesn’t hurt the ears which is definitely a plus. It can best be described as just solid. The special effects sound as good as they look, really helping to bring the game to life and make you feel as if you are controlling your units in a real battle.

Act of War: Direct Action may not be the most original or innovative RTS game, however it gets enough right to appeal to most RTS fans. It has enough unique features and innovative concepts that most gamers will come to enjoy it sooner or later. Overall, it is a fairly recommended buy to RTS gamers.


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