RPS Advent Game-o-Calendar: December 20th
It's a gaming rundown, increasingly late,
Of digital adventures, all lovely and great.
So it's time for a gander
Inside Fairtrade Calendar
Door's contents revealed as...
(Om nom nom nom nom)
But for you, also distracting from that somewhat questionable use of assonance, it's World In Conflict.
The hypothetical Cold War setting was a stroke of genius. Not for the actual campaign game, of course. That was enormously pretty but as empty headed the most linear of shooters without the actual viscerality to raise it up. When the scripting insisted you were going to be overwhelmed and had to retreat when - in fact - you have the place locked down tight and could carry on lobbing naplam at the Ruskies all day, it kind of lacks.
(That said, a word about hateful, loveable dipshit Captain Bannon, the most hilarious incompetent of the year. Cut-scene after Cut-scene played out like the old TV Go Home gag Condorman Fucks Up. You become convinced that if Bannon took a trip to the bogs, he'd emerge covered in his own shit, sheets of tissue paper flapping from his mouth and mumbling something about being incapable of holding the position and having to pull back. But - y'know - he did okay in the end, so we'll have to salute him.)
It's multiplayer where it shows its greatness, and where the Cold War works best - because it's a conflict that was never fought. It circled around endlessly in us Nuclear War kiddies, all Mushroom Clouds and steely convoys moving across western Europe. It was endless, eternal like... well, like a multiplayer game. In fact, mechanistically, the reason why the multiplayer game is so great is pretty much the reason why the single-player was so (er) merely acceptable - building upon the solid foundation of Ground Control (I like to think of Ground Control and the Total War as separate circa-2000 armies marching off to work out what else the RTS could do in the mainstream, in opposite directions), a ticker system which gradually feeds you points to purchase troops with. In the single-player game, this just meant that losing troops didn't really matter (The missions where you lose the ability are the best in the games, it should be noted). In the multi, it meant the pace was kept up. Married to the online-shooter ability to drop in and play, and the fact the games played a similar length to a serious bout of Team Fortress 2, this was a game which moved at the pace of an action game, without sacrificing its inherent intelligence. It was pop like Kylie, but clever-thunked mathrock like Battles.
(That it was HOT like Kylie helps. For at a few weeks, it was my personal answer to the "What's the most graphically lovely game in the world?".)
Oh, I know.
A picture speaks a thousand words. In which case, here are three reasons why World In Conflict - in Miss Lavinge's parlance circa 2002 - rocks my world.
It's only one reason, really, I know.
But it's a good reason.