Act of War: Direct Action
Written by Shigamoto   
Saturday, 09 September 2006
We all thought that the gaming community had seen enough of RTS-games, but surely there is room for one more? Eugen Systems and Atari seem to think so.

The US Government has created a high tech force called Task Force Talon; together with the US Army they are fighting for survival as terrorists (the Consortium) has besieged the United States and the world.

When first starting Act of War you instantly get into action. Terrorists has taken control of San Francisco and chased the US Army over to Oakland. You need to mount an assault against the harbor were the Consortium forces are shipped in. Act of War is marketed as one of the most realistic war games out there, however the missions aren’t that realistic.

On the mission described above the Consortium manage to sneak in hundreds of tanks and infantry on cargo ships right into the heart of San Francisco; the chances of that scenario taking place are slim.

In the very beginning of the game you get a couple of introductory missions were you protect VIPs in London. Those missions feels much more realistic, more could have been done around them.

The realism in Act of War evolves around the way you fight and what kind of weapons you use. In many other Real Time Strategy games you basically gather resources and pound the enemy until he cracks, or you crack first. Act of War is more about logistics and having the right mix of troops and weapons.

Let me give you an example: If you send in four lonely tanks into a built up area they will most probably get whacked by infantry using RPGs or smaller and more mobile vehicles. However if you send in some infantry with the tanks (as in real warfare) they would defeat the enemy.

Act of War is filled with these kinds of real warfare connections. You will notice how important helicopters are in modern warfare, or the importance of supporting your troops with snipers and artillery.

Making money in Act of War can be done by pumping oil or taking control of banks and other special buildings. The resource management is not that different from many other strategy games, even-though Atari emphasize the resource gathering in their marketing.

One feature I really enjoy with Act of War is the graphics. Since they are completely in 3D different zoom levels are available. You can zoom in on forces and situations in great detail. The zoom feature doesn’t have a real tactical benefit but it sure is pretty to use.

Act of War also has a number of units; the US Army has roughly the same units as used in the field today. The Consortium and Task Force Talon has some kind of mixture between fact and fiction. Task Force Talon’s units are future based and include drones of different kinds.

The game takes place in six parts of the world, Washington D.C, San Francisco, Egypt, Libya, Russia and London. The US-cities are modeled using GPS and map data, which makes them very accurate. Most of the levels look great and adds a lot to the game.

Act of War is perhaps one of the most realistic strategy games if you put focus on the warfare. The story however is a standard one with Russians, terrorists and unlikely scenarios. Act of War is great for you desktop generals out there but might not appeal to a wider audience.

Discuss this game!
Related: Command&Conquer, Command&Conquer: Red Alert 2, Panzer General III: Scorched Earth
Developer: Eugen Systems
Website for Game:
Publisher: Atari
O/S: Windows 98/ME/XP
Year of Release: 2005

Pentium 4 1,5 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB VRAM, 6 GB HDD
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card

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