Stereotypes are rarely ever kind but almost always accurate to some degree... Take guys and war as an example.
Actor and comedian Dennis Leary -- in his semi-autobiographical song that some of the people I know are convinced was actually written about me (I really do walk around in the Summer time saying 'How about this heat?') -- hits the nail on the head with his descriptions of the average guy: "I'm just a regular Joe with a regular job. I'm your average white suburbanite slob. I like football and porno and books about war..."
As guys and gamers our fascination with war and war games has developed over the past decade to the point that the genre has naturally matured; ten years ago the basic theme and play style was still largely games like Contra, and Desert Assault, in which the gamer spent most of their time running-and-gunning, lobbing grenades, and racking up points, and very little time thinking about strategies more complex than flanking.
Four New Screenshots that showcase some of the modern hardware featured in the game...
. . . offering a chance to play during the heights of the Cold War in Europe!
As the genre matured so too did the depth and entertainment value of the games within it, so that modern examples actually tell properly structured stories, allow for the application of advanced strategies of the sort that Sun Tzu would have recognized, and otherwise include recognizable heroes with an honorable approach to the subject that still allows us to cut loose, and engage in a little running-and-gunning every now and then, but still have the sense of being part of the story beyond simply a movable destruction machine.
These thoughts are right at the top of the mind as the most recent press release for Wargame: European Escalation makes the rounds -- a game whose title reveals a great deal with respect to what we can expect from the game in a Tim Taylor genuine bloke honest sort of way.
If you are not familiar with the game, it is game developer Eugen Systems' most recent offering in the war game genre and in many respects, the successor R.U.S.E. which was its previous RTS war game that had a strong focus upon information warfare and the impact of technology on the battlefield. R.U.S.E. received mixed reviews -- largely I suspect because it appeared to be a different game in its promotional material than it actually was when you slotted it in your console...
Wargame uses an updated version of the IRISZOOM engine that was used in R.U.S.E., and there are enough similarities between the games to make it clear that this is the successor to that previous title, but where R.U.S.E. held back, Wargame pulls out all of the stops, delivering what is clearly a more hyper-real focus and approach to war and strategy within the confines of the RTS realm.
Set in the rarely explored period of 1975-1985, Wargame: European Escalation pits NATO (USA and Western Europe) against the Warsaw Pact (Soviet and Eastern European countries) in battles that explore what might have been if the balloon had actually gone up in that theater... Under the constant threat of nuclear war (nobody wants to be the first to make that decision) a largely conventional conflict results in battles that are both predictable in their strategies, but surprising in their outcomes.
Abandoning the General's-Eye-View of war in favor of a constantly shifting mixture that spans the grunt with his boots on the ground to the General and almost every view in between, from what we have seen of it so far, this one shows tremendous potential and offers gamers a hardcore take on the RTS genre that has the potential to convert new fans, even among gamers who do not particularly like RTS gaming because of its previously board-game-centric feel.
Check out the new screenshots above, and keep an eye on Gaming Update as we bring you more coverage of the game as well as a preview leading up to its November 22nd release, and our review following it.