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Anomaly: Warzone Earth (PC) Review

/ Jun 14th, 2012 No Comments

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

With the RTS genre in a slight slumber, Anomaly: Warzone Earth picks up the slack by going on the offensive in this military strategy game that turns out to be surprisingly fun. Released by 11 bit Studio for the PC, Xbox 360 and Android iOS, Anomaly takes a different approach in the RTS category by attacking the defenses instead of the other way around that most players are used to. And with this attack-happy style of gameplay choice by 11 bit, you’re left with a challenging ride that delivers on levels you’re weren’t quite expecting from a futuristic military RTS title.

The story itself follows the 14th Platoon as they’re sent in as the first-responders to a mysterious “anomaly” shield that has taken over the city of Baghdad. It’s up to you, the Commander, to put together a battalion of military vehicles to help investigate what’s going on and push through to the alien strongholds. Before you start the missions you have the ability to choose your difficulty level. This is a nice welcome here as it gives players some replay value to go back and play any of the missions however they like.

Once the story mode has begun, your goal is to keep your squad from being killed and reach the objectives set forth in the mission briefs. Most objectives are rather easy to accomplish, but the challenge and fun of the game lies within getting your team from point A to point B, which can be a challenging prospect. Positioning of vehicles plays an important role in your ability to succeed. Vehicles you can choose include APCs, Crawlers, Launchers and Shield covers that can be arranged strategically any way you like to best combat the enemy. As a Commander who leads them, you can scout ahead of your battalion’s slow movement and spot any dangers up ahead by analyzing defensive positions, distracting turrets and using special abilities to help your squad from being wiped out, including an invisibility shield that allows your entire team to become invisible for a few seconds. You can either click the mouse or hold and drag it to wherever you want to go. With turrets and other alien forces blocking your path, you begin to realize that the Commander’s role becomes more of a support figure instead of an offensive juggernaut.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Anomaly: Warzone Earth

As the missions go by the game does get a bit challenging even if you’re set to the Casual difficulty level. But what makes this game addicting, despite its stubborn difficulties, are the dozens of pathways to get to an objective. You can start mapping out a strategy and have it completely change ten seconds later as more and more defensive efforts pick up. And like every good RTS game out there, this is where the game shines.

If you get stuck along the way and your fleet is in desperate need of help, look for the many power-ups that you’ll run into along the routes. You can find repair drops, cash gifts and special abilities that helicopters and other fighter aircraft drop onto the map. Collecting these items are a necessity to survive as your vehicles get damaged rather quickly from heavy barrages of fire. Once you accumulate some cash, you can upgrade existing vehicles in your convoy and add to their capabilities giving your squad a distinct advantage depending on the vehicles you choose to roll with. Upgrades are available for each vehicle through a money system where you spend cash to get what you want. Obtaining cash can also be attained by destroying enemies or through the completion of each mission.

We found the controls to be a somewhat of a hit or miss here. Although the game relies on a simple mouse-keyboard style of gameplay, everything seemed to move a bit slow in certain areas. The responsiveness of a few movements in any direction were sometimes unbearable with the Commander, but it was definitely not enough to make us stop playing.

AWE Screenshot

AWE Screenshot

Graphically, the game doesn’t look too bad for something this cheap. The amount of details we noticed along the map routes surprised us in a lot of the missions. The tiny specks of dirt we could spot on the far side of the map that was unplayable to our battalion was a good sign that the team over at 11 bit took the extra time to add the details to make this one stand out. However, the alien forces and their anomaly shields did come off a bit cheesy with bad textures and color schemes that sometimes made it hard to look at. We often wondered what exactly we were looking at, but again, at such a cheap price, we can’t complain that much. It is what it is.

Also, we would have like to have seen a more expansive battalion to work with. The amount of vehicles on the screen to fight the aliens just wasn’t enough to justify a “battalion”. A few more high-tech wheels would have balanced out the action a bit more as sometimes the checkpoints between routes were few and far between and often would make us start all the way over from the beginning if we made a wrong turn. However, the balance does equate well with the addition of extra modes in the game, including Baghdad Mayhem and Tokyo Raid. These, along with other bonus missions provide the player with an additional source of gameplay besides the story mode campaign. In these bonus mission modes, the challenges are ramped up and the full use of your abilities and route changing tactics are gone and you rely mainly on your battalion positioning skills and which ones you deploy to tackle the objectives.

Overall, Anomaly: Warzone Earth does deliver the goods for an RTS title in a tired genre in need of some fresh air. With its offensive-style of gameplay, challenging objectives and interesting story, Anomaly surpasses expectations and entertains for as long as you need it to. For less than $10 on your preferred system, this is the only LZ we’ll happily drop into guns blazing.

Overall Ratings – Anomaly: Warzone Earth (PC)

Gameplay:

9/10

Graphics:

8/10

Sound:

8/10

Presentation:

8/10

OVERALL SCORE:

83%

Alex Gonzales

Alex Gonzales

Alex Gonzales first started gaming at the age of 3 and was a child prodigy in the world of game theory. While his mind was apt, his strength in athletic competition was even stronger. At the age of seven he won the Under 10 Anaheim City Championship for Judo and remains active in martial arts.
Alex Gonzales

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