World In Conflict Demo

The demo for World In Conflict has arrived, and it includes single player, skirmish, and multiplayer elements. You can download it here, at a beastly 1.2gb.

World In Conflict is the direct descendant of my favourite RTS, also by Massive Entertainment, Ground Control. You can download that ancient sci-fi strategy from here, and if you do you’ll see that it still stands up today. The way that it stripped away the traditional use of resources (eg Tiberium and base-building in C&C) left a kind of raw tactical challenge – just what can you do with a handful of units, and nothing else?

This acute challenge has mostly been lost from World In Conflict, which means that the single player will be a little disappointing for Ground Control veterans, and a lightweight but fun action sequence for anyone else. The fact that you can call in endless air-drops (as in Ground Control 2) basically takes away the tension. They try to add it with time-limits and so on, but it doesn’t always work. Massive have chosen a good single player map for this demo, however, and there are a number of such highlights throughout the game.

Of course multiplayer is where the meat is. WiC’s focus is on the up-to-eight-aside class-based battles. In case you missed the beta: you can play as infantry, tanks, helicopters, or anti-aircraft/artillery support, and pool resources with other players to bring in airstrikes of increasing magnitude, all the way up to a nuke. The tactical game is Battlefield 2 zoomed all the way out. You have to capture and hold points across a large landscape and doing that requires/demands teamwork. It’s the kind of game that I feel I could happily play as a part of a clan, and it makes me wonder whether it’ll be popular enough to be the Counter-Strike of the RTS. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Oh and it’s very, very pretty. DX10 explosions do make quite a difference…


  1. roBurky says:

    That “You can download it here” link doesn’t seem to be a link.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Thanks, fixed.

  3. Cueball says:

    I hope WiC does well, but the multiplayer beta felt a bit shallow to me unless you’ve invested a /lot/ of time playing as a team. Ground Control really excelled at ‘drop in and play’ – playing on public servers was a lot of fun because you controlled enough units to make a difference from the start, and you weren’t quite so reliant on everyone else for support to actually achieve anything.
    I kind of wish WiC limited you to four players per side but with slightly larger squad sizes from the off.
    That said, if you fancy a game sometime Jim…

  4. Turin Turambar says:

    My impressions:

    A bit shallow… The game almost redefines that word, shallow. Awesome graphics, good range of options, good UI, excellent game browser and netcode, a lot of thought in tools like the tactical map, VOIP and quick orders to improve the teamwork, but where is the game itself? Tactics, strategy? Only a little bit.

    -There is no base building, no teching, no resource gathering.
    -So there is only combat. Combat as simple as your average RTS (infantry can enter in forests and buildings, tanks have stronger front armor, and that’s it), although it should be more complex to compensate the lack of the other features, but it still simpler!
    -Why? Because unlike in you average RTS, you only control a few units (3-6), and usually they are from the same type (tanks, infantry, choppers or arty/support).
    -The only trick of the game is the tactical aid, which is pretty straightforward (call airstrikes, nukes, or paratroopers, etc)

    The strategy part of the game only exists in the cooperation of the different players, and still you can’t do a lot of creative tactics, after two weeks playing the beta i felt i already maxed out the game and uninstalled it.

    I know that World in Conflict tries to be more an action/RTS mix, but it is not. There isn’t action, there is only a lighter RTS. You still control your units with the right mouse button as always, the units shot themselves as always while the HP bar grow smaller, etc. From an action perspective, it’s a system too detached from your units, too indirect. And from a strategy perspective, it also fails.

    Multiplayer is somewhat fun for a few days, i know from experience, but the single player level from the demo it is really lacking.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    That’s pretty representative of the single player campaign as a whole.

    I enjoy the multiplayer, and I think the mix of units (and their special abilities) allows for my interesting combat than you give it credit for, however. There are some fairly complex interactions – such as an infantry and support working together to hold a position, using terrain, buildings, etc.

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    I think it’s a little subtler than people are realising too – it is very team-play-y, but there’s enough really interesting little bits and pieces in there to side step that. My highlight of playing so far was me, as a single unit, defending an area for most of the game from between 2 and 4 attackers. And – basically – doing it.

    (Witching between armour and infantry depending on the situation)

    The game does actively make team-play as easy as possible – voice-chat is built in, the ordering system (i.e. I am going here! I need anti-air-support!) is as good as I’ve seen in any game. And I’ve noticed in open play, if one player starts doing it, other people start doing it too.

    And then that side starts winning.