Look at that Russian ship. Stately, majestic, deadly. If Wargame: European Escalation can do such an awesome job adding planes (read the review of Wargame: Airland Battle here), imagine what they can do with ships? Only you don’t have to. You just have to play Wargame: Red Dragon.
Developer Eugen has gone this route from land to air to sea before. Their debut RTS, Act of War, was Command & Conquer with a new take on airpower. Rather than including airplanes on the map, taking off from the airports you build and then flitting a few screens over to bomb something, Eugen modeled airpower as an offmap asset controlled on a separate panel. It was one of the many ways Act of War was better than Command & Conquer for tuning Westwood’s trademark loosey-goosey gameplay. When Eugen added ships with an expansion, things got loosey-goosey all over again. The engine couldn’t quite handle the expanse of sea alongside the intimacy of a land-based tactical RTS. The ships did that standard RTSs thing where they swiveled and banged into each other and jostled each other like a mob instead of a fleet, generally making a mess of a finely tuned game. Like the aliens in Signs, RTSs rarely survive contact with water. Naval combat tends to compromise an RTS, so don’t even think about hosting the game on a water map. In fact, I can think of only two games that did a good job of integrating ships into the overall game: Rise of Nations and Age of Empires III both had a really smart approach to what happens when an RTS goes to sea. And now that Wargame: Red Dragon is out, I can still think of only two games that did a good job of integrating ships into the overall game.
After the jump, sailing takes me away. Continue reading →