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Reviews: PC Games - Axis & Allies

MotorStorm - PlayStation 3. 23 March 2007


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Axis & Allies

By Gunner (23 November 2004)

Summary
Axis & Allies

Ups: Plenty of gameplay options to chose from. Nice graphics including a good array of map types. Tough AI and vast campaign provides lots of replayability

Downs: Not enough formation options. Difference between each team's units is marginal.

Bottom Line: An unpretentious game whose simple game mechanics belie plenty of depth and challenge. If you are looking for a strategy game that is easy to get into that also delivers a lot of re playability then this is the game for you. Re-fight WWII your way and re-write the history books. This is a little 'cracker' of a strategy game that should be on your Christmas list.


Overall rating: 4 out of 5 fists   Great



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IT IS NOT OFTEN that a strategy title comes along that has so much variety of game play options, is simple in its game mechanics but also provides a real challenge to even the most seasoned player. Axis and Allies really shows its pedigree. This game is a marriage of the original board game and the recent award-winning RTS fantasy title Kohan II. It has certainly taken on the best of both and delivered a great little game.

Click for enlargement

The original Axis & Allies board game concept was designed to deliver the player the ability to re-fight the whole of WWII and although a previous attempt had been made to bring this game to the PC, it had meet with little real success. By taking the game concept and utilising the Kohan II engine, developers Timegate have made a very enjoyable game.

On starting the game you are given the opportunity to play through two tutorial scenarios. These we highly recommend you do as some concepts in the game are unusual at first. First off there is the principle of battalions and regiments. When the game commences you have an Army HQ. From this you can request other buildings - these come in the form of a heavy truck transporter that you can move to any location and unpack. What's cool is that you can also re-pack them and move them to another location, whether it be closer to the enemy or to a less threatened location. Once constructed they can then be ordered to produce units - unlike other RTS games, however, each building represents one regiment from which you can only build a set number of units, and each unit that is produced comes with a relevant name and symbol.

Click for enlargement

Units are represented by a group of figures (4-8 for infantry, 4 for a squadron of tanks, etc.). There is a reasonable variety of units including recon infantry, assault, airborne, mortar, anti-tank, motorised, artillery and various tank units. Although there is a difference in unit types for each country, these are slight and not readily apparent with a balance being struck across all sides. One disappointment is the inability to set up regiment- and army-wide formations. You are restricted to just three basic formation types and these can only be applied to individual units. This can result in a jumble of units when trying to fight a regiment as a whole, but we did not find that it detracted in anyway to the gameplay. Although there are ships in the game, these are only used as another form of base HQ with the added bonus of artillery support. Naval battles do not feature in the game.

Click for enlargement

To support your army you need to have money, ammunition and oil. The former is obtained by controlling towns and cities and from your headquarters. The latter two are supported with the building of supply dumps of the various types. Supply dumps and base buildings generate an area of supply that will repair and reinforce your units. Outside of this no repair is possible. In combating the AI, destroying the supply bases is a priority as without supply, units are soon worn down by attrition.

Click for enlargement

Playing the game proper, you can play custom game where you set up the battle, you can elect to play the campaign which is a group of scenarios loosely based on historic events (either as the Axis or Allies), you can play WWII on a Risk-type map, or you can also go online for multiplayer action. There is a lot of options here and each has its challenges. In the campaign you are carefully introduced to further concepts of the game but pretty quickly you will find yourself in the thick of the action on battlefields such as Kursk, Normandy and Italy.

Although a lot of compromise is made in regard to the historical accuracy of the scenarios, there is enough realism to gain a degree of emotional attachment to the events. One bit we particularly like is the addition of allied generals fighting on the same map. They actively support you and are intelligent enough to conquer objectives on your behalf.

Click for enlargement

The WWII campaign is tough. Regardless of the side you choose, you will find yourself fighting on multiple fronts. In the map mode you can purchase new units and research technologies with the ultimate goal of controlling two of the enemy's capitals. It's not an easy task and campaigns can be pretty long affairs. When it comes to combat you can elect to fight them as an individual RTS game or let the AI sort out the result through a 'quick battle' feature. The map is very well laid out except what we consider to be a big error in the bottom right hand corner: New Zealand appears as an island off Australia and forming part of Australia. How this got past quality control we don't know...

Click for enlargement

Another aspect of the game is how the generals you choose to control the battles each have separate special abilities. These include things like carpet bombing, conscription, supply drops, etc.. These abilities become available throughout the game as you accumulate more prestige points to expend on them.

The graphics owe a lot to Kohan II and are very well put together. Unlike Kohan II, however, the buildings and units are more appropriately scaled and fit well within the varied environments. There are also the added weather effects and some limited environmental animations to add to the overall effect. The game also ships with a fully featured editor to allow you to build your own maps and scenarios.

Click for enlargement

Overall Axis and Allies is highly likeable - simple to play but delivering some really tough challenges. The graphics and variety of game modes make it a game that will be on you hard disk for some time to come. It's especially recommend for any strategy buffs wanting a good challenge both on a tactical and strategic level.




  • Check out the Official Site.


  • Details
    Developer:

       TimeGate Studios

    Publisher/Manufacturer:

       Atari

    Links:

       Official Web Site



    System Requirements:

      •  98SE/Me/2000/XP
      •  1500 MHz CPU
      •  256 MB RAM
      •  1400 MB available hard drive space
      •  8x CD-ROM

    Review System:

      •  Windows XP Home
      •  Intel Pentium 4 3400 MHz
      •  1 GB RAM
      •  50x CD-ROM
      •  ATI X600 128 Meg
      •  Audigy

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