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Win That War! Early Access Impressions

WinThatWar-Preview-MMOHuts-Feature

In the 1950s, we had a particular vision of the future. Rounded vehicles that flew, space colonization, we’d be on Mars, using robots to build everything, unlimited sources of power, and military might beyond our wildest imagination. That’s what “Win That War!” looks like to me. The developers took that visual design and brought it to 2017. All the splash art, and menus, they all look like that “Retro Future” my parents were no doubt waiting on. Specifically, Win That War is something that has not been seen often enough: An MMORTS. Players pick one of three factions [or each faction!] and all vie against each other in real time for the control of a planet. Each planet is broken up into several regions, each with their own map. In theory, you can join specific online games [like rooms for matchups], but I have yet to see even one spring up in my entire time playing the game. The only time I’ve come across another human player is in the Galactic Campaign. This is the big winner of the game, the main game mode. This game to me plays, feels, and looks like some of the classic RTS from my youth: Dune, Command & Conquer, and one of the more recent titles, like Supreme Commander. However, you don’t have “Commander” units, just your tanks, engineers, diplomats… and of course the rank and file that you produce in the factories.

Win That War! Review

Progress comes with a cost.

Before you even get into the game, you create up to three characters. You can take this one of two ways. You can either make three characters of the same faction, or you can play it against the middle, and do one of each. Maybe Nasca’s getting creamed and overwhelmed? Figure maybe you can try your luck joining the winning faction of Atlas? Go for it! Each of these characters starts off with 25000 credits, for which you can use to create your landing parties. Your “Spawn Squads” are your away teams that you drop onto specific territories to try and conquer them, or at least, start your ultimate goal of commanding all of the resources of a planet. The baseline group has One Light Tank, Two Engineers, and One Diplomat. You can use credits to increase the amount of units available, and from there you can add units as you see fit [that you have unlocked].

Here’s where this game really stands out for me: Once you’ve got yourself situated on a territory, you’ve built a force that you’re proud of, or you actually have to leave [or are mad that you’re losing, whatever. No judgments here, folks], you can entrust your Squad to the AI. They’ll try to defend you against attacks and keep your best interests at heart. I don’t think it’ll go out and attack people though. I am particularly glad that you can’t set any kind of defensive/aggressive AI. Because I can see people going whole hog, building five factories, setting themselves to aggressive, then focusing on a different faction.

Win That War! Review

Bring your best squads to the fight!

As long as you have Spawn Squads that aren’t busy, you can work on another territory. Success and completing quests [that are refreshed daily] also give you credits. So you can amass a neat little fortune and have as many squads as you’d like. It also helps when you can tackle empty territories before other players get to them, making it a little easier to complete quests. So who are these factions? How are they different? Each has a color [Red, Blue, Green]. There are Blum, Atlas, Nasca. The good thing? They aren’t different at all. They don’t have unique factions, special bonuses, things that set them apart. The bad thing? They’re all the same. It’s a double-edged sword; you don’t have to worry about your opponents having an edge other than playing longer, but they don’t stand out. The units all are kind of bland looking and there can be times they cannot be distinguished from one another.

Another positive point though is that resources don’t run out. Once you’ve built a resource gatherer for “Liquid” or “Sharp Crystals,” you won’t stop gaining them until that item is destroyed. You can also build buildings to increase your overall max. It does feel like it’s incredibly easy, as long as you aren’t under attack, to build new units like Light Tanks or Buggies. However, I could not figure out easily what my cap was. When my energy rating dropped, I’d build more generators, but I’d like it to be a bit more obvious. Traveling these maps is tedious though and feels like it takes forever. If you zoom out, you can see everything on it that’s been discovered by your faction. Multiple people of a faction can take part in a battle over a territory after all. If it’s an untouched area, you have to manually go out and explore and find the resources, because that’s the name of the game.

Win That War! Review

This was my view for most of the game. Pew. Pew.

You want to destroy all of their forces, yes, but you also want to command all of the resources. Though if they can’t land and develop, they can’t take anything from you. That’s one of the reasons I’ve played more on territory maps that have already been worked on by my side or an enemy because that really shaves a lot of time off. In the Galactic Campaign, you have a timer of several days, and whoever has the most, wins that planet. It seems to be one planet at a time, and as time progresses, they have said there will be more biomes, and I assume that means we’ll have more varied planets as time progresses. It’s also worth noting that each region has its own planet. Speaking of regions though, if you control a region, and all of the regions around it, you “lock it down,” preventing other sides from building and getting a presence there. This is a really cool idea, but when things are slow, you can have three avatars in the same faction and just put as many squads down as you can to control/lockdown all on your own. That’s one of the negatives of not having a big player base just yet.

Win That War! Review

One of the rare moments I built an army ... that went nowhere.

However, the game, despite the wonderful look and sound of it, can feel incredibly bland. I haven’t been able to figure out how to target groups of units yet [just one at a time], and like I said, there aren’t a ton of units, and most of them have the same general shape unless you zoom in pretty far. While I do love the idea of thousands of players all vying for one planet at once, the lack of a player base is definitely hurting it. Most territories I’ve been to have been all but empty, except maybe an AI-controlled unit at best. I would like to see an offline version where you conquer planets not used in the Galactic Campaign, another way to acquire credits and such, because while yeah, you get them from quests and being generally successful, I feel like there should be another way. Now there “is” a Quick Match against offline enemies, where aliens defend resources on a few biomes, but I want to see an actual Galactic Campaign offline. I don’t think it’s necessary, that’s just a want on my end. However, if you are failing as a character, you can delete them, and make a new one in that faction, start with all your credits again [but not any that you earned from quests]. The game rewards building as much as you possibly can though. As many generators as possible to flood the ground with tanks and engineers and turrets, things like that.

The 1950s, Today

State of Early Access: Good

This is a concept that I absolutely adore. The 50s style eerie music/sounds and general aesthetic of this game are pleasing. The concept of an MMORTS is something that is definitely not overdone, and once this has a larger player base, and people can really get competitive? That’ll be crazy fun. However, as it stands right now, it’s pretty bland, and combat can be horrific and overwhelming. Almost every battle I’ve been in, no matter how many turrets, radars, and tanks I had, I’d get absolutely steamrolled by 50-100 tanks at once. Anytime I can get an army of that size going, there are no enemies in sight, and they just idle and waste my resources.

It’s a fun game, but there are some hazards. Some menus and sections of the game are in French no matter what, and the largest part that made this almost unplayable for me was this: I use a set up with two monitors. That’s not unusual. Most RTS games in full screen will not move to the other monitor [Dead Zone, Black Zone, whatever they call it], but this one does not have that anywhere in the settings. In order to play this game, I had to unplug my other monitor and did not see a way around it. Having to completely change some of my set up just to play a game really chaps my hide. I treated this like a normal RTS, but it definitely isn’t. You need to build as much, as fast as possible in this game. Don’t worry about “Oh, I have about 24 tanks, that’s okay”. It’s not okay. You need dozens, hundreds. It’s early access, so there’s still time for updates, changes to make it a little more enjoyable. The multiplayer is what’s going to make it feel truly special, but without people to play against? It’s going to feel empty, and the experience is going to suffer.

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In the 1950s, we had a particular vision of the future, which "Win That War!" brings to life again in a spectacular fashion.