War Inc. Overview
War Inc. Battle Zone is an MMOFPS designed to offer a high quality combat experience similar to Call of Duty or Battlefield. Players may choose two of several starting weapons, and enjoy a class-free, team-based combat experience. The game features several modes including Conquest (capture and defend style), Sabotage (bomb run), and Deathmatch (free-for-all). Players can rank up their soldier through participating in matches and demonstrating tactical and combat skill. They can then use the money they earn to buy temporary or permanent weapons, protective gear, skills, and temporary buffs.
War Inc. Screenshots
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War Inc. Review
By, Jaime Skelton
A truly good online shooter is hard to come by. Consider that an online shooter must encourage and reward progress on a permanent level, yet must balance each game carefully so that skill, and not gear or overall experience, proves the deciding factor in a battle. For free-to-play shooters, this becomes more challenging as companies must balance fairness versus profit; in short, they must find ways to offer enticing items to players without offering a “pay to win” model. Yet War Inc. Battle Zone, published by Arktos Entertainment, seems to have snuck out of hiding to deliver a solid, balanced first-person shooter experience.
First to Arms
War Inc. is installed quickly and easily, either through their website or through Steam. Once the game is run for the first time, you’ll be capable of setting up your soldier for battle; the game does not offer character creation, customization, or multiple character slots. The game will take you through a series of tutorial screens, during which you will also be able to choose your starting gear. This starting gear is permanent, and gives you a good variety of primary and secondary weapons and some basic armor (you’ll also get some temporary bonus armor to give you a head start for the first two weeks). The screens also let you choose your first skill point and ability, both of which are permanent. From there, you’re kicked into the lobby and on your own.
Managing Your Merc
While the tutorial gets you off to a great start, it doesn’t introduce you to managing your mercenary. In the main interface of War Inc., you’ll find two important menu options: My Merc and Armory. My Merc allows you to assign your skill points; these are earned at each level (“rank”) up and allow you to specialize in multiple trees that give you bonuses in combat, from increased gun damage and player detection to breath holding, armor, and health bonuses. Ranking up also grants you rewards including gold, dollars, and temporary items. My Merc also lets you look at your stats and ranking, achievements, game calendar, rewards, and more.
The Armory is where your soldier can change their equipment. You can equip weapons in “loadouts,” which act as saved sets of gear as you enter battle. While you cannot change skills or mercenaries, you can change loadouts during battle, letting you switch between weapon sets (for example, switching between an assault-focused and a sniper-focused gear set) when you respawn. Each mercenary can carry into battle a primary weapon (machine guns, assault rifles, and support weapons), a secondary weapon (shotgun or submachine gun), a pistol, two items (including grenades), and two abilities. Your mercenary can also equip a set of armor (not included in load outs) which grant some armor and occasional extra boosts, such as night vision.
Rushing into Battle
So you’ve equipped your favorite weapons, and now you’re ready to enter battle. The game’s main lobby is found under the glowing “Play Game” menu option. Here, you can choose to create practice games (unranked games that offer no experience), ranked games, see active games, join a sabotage match, or choose “quick match.” While there’s merit in creating your own games, or browsing the active games (which include server pre-made games based on region and level range), your best bet is to join a “quick match,” which will throw you into a game in your preferred region and game type.
There are four game modes in War Inc.: Conquest, Deathmatch, Sabotage, and Siege. All games are team-based and designed for at least eight players, although they can run with at least two players on each side. Conquest is a capture-and-defend style map with five control points, and is the most popular game mode. Deathmatch is a team free-for-all on a small, tight-quarters map. Sabotage challenges teams to plant a bomb while preventing the opposing team from planting theirs; while Siege is a defend-or-conquer style map.
Green, Not Dead
It’s expected that any newbie in a shooter is going to spend their first few minutes not only wet behind the ears, but eating a lot of dirt. Thankfully, War Inc. does a masterful job in making sure that newbies are competent once they gain their bearings. Controls are typical for an MMOFPS (using the mouse to aim and fire, moving with WASD, using Ctrl to crouch and Shift to sprint, for example), so any amateur FPS player should feel at home quickly. The greatest challenge is in learning each map, along with learning the way each game mode works the first time you play it (particularly Sabotage).
While War Inc. doesn’t seem focused on balancing teams based on rank alone, there’s no reason to look at your team and panic if the numbers initially seem off. In fact, weapons are also fairly balanced within reason so that even cash-shop only weapons are only marginally better overall than their lesser counterparts. Advantage on the battle field comes down to skill, personal experience, and map knowledge and awareness.
The game’s store offers weapons, armor, abilities, and other perks and account features. While designed primarily as a cash shop, the shop accepts both earned in-game currency (“gold dollars”) as well as paid currency (“gold points”). Both of these currencies can be earned in game, and are refreshingly easy to earn. While many MMOFPS games reward gold dollars only on winning, or very sparingly on a loss, War Inc. also rewards players for headshots, avenge kills, capturing flags, and special “VIP” style achievements each match. Gold Points can also be earned for ranking up, joining Clans, and meeting other challenges, making it so that a single cent doesn’t need to be spent in game to enjoy play.
Almost all items in the shop accept both currencies as payment. Weapons are available from 1-day to 30-day rentals at very low, affordable prices with the in-game currency, and are also available as permanent weapons (sometimes with both currencies, sometimes only with gold points). Cosmetic items, experience and gold boosts, and abilities are also available on this dual basis.
Final Verdict: Great
On the surface, War Inc. is a standard MMOFPS with good graphics. In fact, the game’s graphics are so good, they have high system requirements – possibly pushing a lot of potential players out of consideration, or forcing them to play at low, suboptimal specs just to get smooth enough frame rate to aim. None of the game modes particularly shine as unique, and the game lacks additional “wow” features, such as crafting, social interaction (there’s no chat lobby), or vehicle combat. What stands out the most is War Inc.’s map designs: they are substantially different from each other, well-designed, and allow players to use the entire environment to their advantage – from climbing atop cliffs to find an ideal sniping spot to spying on the enemy through a hole in the wall.
Despite its vanilla-ness, War Inc. is surprisingly good for a free-to-play MMO; it aspires to be what Battlefield Play4Free should have been – and succeeds. The game balances play evenly between newbies and veterans, offers unique maps that require strategy instead of zerging, and plays smoothly with no downtime between matches. War Inc. delivers a great experience that keeps you logged in for hours, and is well worth checking out for any FPS fan.
War Inc. Links
War Inc. System Requirements
OS: Windows XP SP3 or higher
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz or similar AMD
Memory: 2GB of RAM
Hard Disk Space: 2GB of HDD space
Video Card: nVidia 9600 or similar ATI, 512MB dedicated video memory, Pixel Shader 2.0