|System: X360, PS3, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Funatics||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
What started out as an immensely popular series of books by Tom Clancy has now evolved into an extremely popular series of video games inspired by these books funny how things work out like that. The newest installment in the on-running series is called Tom Clancy's EndWar, and it brings handheld, world-conquering strategy to the DS. How does it stack up with the console versions of the game?
Story-wise, EndWar isn't particularly impressive. The premise is an engaging one, but the development team never really went anywhere with it. The game is set in the future; World War III has broken out and the entire planet now has a huge mess on its hands. You can take the role of three different factions and experience a war story. The plot itself is weak, and the writing is even worse. The dev team fit about every war cliché possible into EndWar, which is disappointing, especially considering the potential there was to do something really interesting with the plot.
When it comes to gameplay, EndWar is a fairly typical strategy RPG. You command a variety of different troop types, all obviously modern-day units. For example, during the game you'll order such units as fighter jets, battleships, infantrymen, and lots of others. The unit variety is pretty good, and overall I think the strategy is better than average.
What keeps it from being all that great, however, is the fact that EndWar feels too much like Advance Wars. Just looking at some screenshots is enough to make such a connection. The way the maps are laid out and the visual encounters between enemy troops seem to be directly taken from Advance Wars.
There are some things that differentiate EndWar from Advance Wars but, for the most part, these were not particularly positive aspects. For example, one feature of the game is you cannot cancel a move or a command. This can become really infuriating. For example, if you accidentally moved a unit to an incorrect space or if you realize the move you made was strategically unsound, there's no way of undoing it. This is a feature obviously in place to encourage you to think carefully before you move, but it requires that you don't make any mistakes ever.
The game is easy enough, however, that this is seldom a problem. There are variable difficulty levels each campaign has a different difficulty. Even on the harder campaigns, however, I never found EndWar to offer much of a challenge. On the one hand, this does mean that the strict movement and attacking implementations aren't such a problem. But on the other, it also means that those looking for a really solid SRPG probably won't be incredibly happy with EndWar. The genre is by nature difficult, but EndWar never proves to be that hard.
The other significant gameplay aspect that distinguishes EndWar from Advance Wars is that moving is designated to one phase of the game, and attacking is designated to another. The twist here is that you and the enemy are always performing opposite actions. So, while you're moving all your units, your foe will be issuing commands (such as attacking), and vice versa. It's an interesting system at first, but it becomes a little confusing once you realize that it doesn't really have much bearing on the gameplay. Again, I think the point here was to force you to be careful and thoughtful with your moves, but even messing up occasionally seldom results in a loss.