Massive Assault

By Scott Parrino 28 Jul 2003 0

Incoming: Turn-Based Strategy

Fans of turn-based strategy games should prepare to fasten their seatbelts. Wargaming.net is developing a science-fiction themed game called Massive Assault which is due for release later this year. Set in the year 2365, Massive Assault's plot is familiar, but still believable. It plays out like this: six planets are discovered which are rich in energy and resources. In the competition to secure these resources, two sides are formed, the Axis-of-Good and the Shadow Clique. The Axis-of-Good is a group of democratically minded-governments, while the Shadow Clique is an appropriately shady group of despotic governments apparently as bad as the other side is good. The player commands the troops for the Axis-of-Good.

Massive Assault offers a solid tutorial to introduce even the most inexperienced player to the genre.

After each unit fires a line is traced to its target to show where it fired.

Though I was only playing a beta version of the game, it was a late beta and gave me a pretty good insight as to what to expect in the final version of the game. The variety and number of scenarios available was surprisingly large: there were several tutorial scenarios to familiarize the player with the basic mechanics of the game, 24 single-player scenarios, six World War maps, and a full, dynamic campaign. If all of these are kept in the final product, I think gamers will find a fairly large amount of value packed into it. In addition, players have the option to play single-player games, multiplayer games online, and hot-seat games on the same PC.

Chess for the Wargamer

Using a 3D interface, the game has a similar look to a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game like Command & Conquer: Generals. Players can swivel their view 360 degrees as well as zoom in and out of the battlefield. The overall look, even at the beta stage, was quite good. The colors on the maps vary according to the planet map being played, with some appearing to have an earth-like green foliage and blue water, while another is a purple of the shade one might expect from an original series Star Trek set. The units are a bit boxy and cartoonish, but attractively designed nonetheless. I am not especially partial to cartoon-like graphics, but I immediately took a liking to these.

This looks like a planet out of Star Trek.

Looking a bit more familiar, this snow-covered land was really fun to play on.

Gameplay is chess-like, as players advance their units and make calculations about how to sacrifice certain units in order to destroy more of his opponent's. As I engaged in combat, I had the inexplicable impression that I was almost playing a card-based game, advancing some units to be sacrificed as I maneuvered my other units into efficient killing positions. All the impressions of chess or card games go by the wayside when the whole is put together from the various parts. I found the game highly addictive, and the overall play style more like what Ground Control would look like if it were turn-based, or perhaps how GEV might look were it converted to a PC.

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