It may appear dated but Wargames: European Escalation is all about fighting a real hard battle, writes Bruno Dieter Chan.
Game Review: A Very Good Fight
Remember those Real Time Strategy games based on real world tanks some 10 years ago? Well, they´re back – in Wargames: European Escalation. When I mean back, I really mean back. Same style combat, menu UI, graphics, sound effects and even dialogue. I was wringing my hands when I was told to review it because, despite hearing that it´s a good game, I felt the critics were just being nostalgic. Boy, was I wrong! Wargames: European Escalation is a fun game. And despite the antiquated, clunky UI, it plays very smoothly, giving just what you want in a RTS game: time to manoeuvre and plan. In the solo missions or campaign mode, you simply start with a control point and some units, with acquisition points to purchase the stock of unlocked units you have. You can earn more acquisition points by controlling certain areas with a stationary Command unit. With this, you are sent out to destroy or hold territory. The types of units available to you depend on the campaign you are playing. It starts in World War 2 and works its way into present day with player changing sides, depending on the time period. Just like in real life, each country has different weaponry for the machines of death and each handles the situation just a little differently. Tanks with high armour piercing ratings but low high explosive ratings will find it hard to flush out and kill infantry units but will have no problem dealing with other tanks. But tanks are not the only units that rule the battlefield. Players need to properly manage their air, anti-air, infantry, recon and supply to successfully win the mission. You cannot just simply hold control points and pump out tanks to die against the AI´s helicopter superiority because in the next mission, you will have to manage those surviving units. As the game progresses, the AI difficulty raises, anti-air units are placed in its reinforcement zones along with anti-tank infantry in trees and buildings, heavy tanks in open fields of cover with recon providing spotting. Securing the AI´s reinforcement zones early becomes a priority in later game missions as your army size diminishes with each passing battle. Completing missions along with additional objectives earns you stars which can help you unlock more unit types or variants in the game. This works as a kind of upgrade system for your units, using the weaker variants to hold capture rear control points as your more powerful units try to root out entrench forces. Should you get tired of the campaign, there is the option to skirmish the AI or test your wits against other players online. Graphically, Wargames: European Escalation is not that great. We can even say it looks quite dated but that matters little as you will be engrossed in the fluid gameplay. In fact, there wasn´t a dull moment in any mission as I struggled to get my tanks in striking position and my attack helicopters raided the AI reinforcement zones for command vehicles. So engrossed was I that I did not realise I was 40 minutes into the mission. If the story and voice acting matters not and the fight is what you are looking for, then Wargames: European Escalation definitely delivers in spades.
Wargames: European Escalation
Our verdict: 4/5
Sound: 2 1/2/5