End War

2010-08-12 14:14:30

End War? Maybe they never should have started. This game is more of a technical demo of the capabilities of Ubisofts speech recognition software. Something they have been thrusting upon us time and time again, to much mixed results.

Almost all of the Tom Clancy games for Xbox 360 have had some kind of voice tie in(with exception of splinter cell because you are a lone unit), GRAW and Rainbow Six both have verbal commands to your troops, and as long as you are 100% clear, your microphone isn't a piece of shit and is plugged in correctly, and there's no noise at all in the whole damn house, you'll get what you ask for.

Bring this bag of problems into End War, a game specifically designed and sold as a game you control with just your voice. When the moon and planets align it works as advertised, making you feel like both general and radio operator commanding the battlefront at the same time. This game is obviously designed for people who are used to talking to themselves or their computers with nobody else around, in a totally quiet environment. The game falls apart anywhere else.

Where to lay the blame, well, Speech to Text isn't a finished product at least at the time this was launched, every rendition of it has had its quirks, some of which a good calibrate session in total silence will assist with. Outside of that you are also a slave to what you are running with. Given that the average Xbox 360 wired headset is a total piece of garbage not worth 10 cents, and so prone to failure that you begin to believe MS is making a killing on headset sales. Of course your voice command experience is going to be shit with that. Had End War came with its own super sweet "tactical command" headset that was made by a decent manufacturer(say like Plantronics?) then maybe we'd have something to work with. Tie that into the fact that at my house at any given time I have a wife competing in a sound war between her laptop and my xbox, as well as 2 children under 10 who do not have a volume control, and the only chance I could get to play this game on it's own merits and not on my environmental merits was during nap time/school time, which was slim.

Even the wireless 360 headset doesn't help much either, I always suspect that the short ass microphone isn't very good at picking up shit, other than the screen in front of me and my 5.1 home theatre.

So this game fails on the market towards gamers that aren't cave dwellers or who own stock equipment. But also in multiplayer which I didn't have the honor of playing in myself as I had given up commanding by voice, but I heard that ragequitting was all the rage online as anybody who completely kills off another persons unit causes them immense pain. Why? because soldiers who survive battle earn upgrades, upgrades make them better soldiers, in a level up loop. When they die though, they are dead for keeps. Perma dead. this makes teenage baby players rage quit games because you did a mean thing by killing their retreating army instead of just taking the point you sought to capture.

When that level of weeping pussy fest infects your online gameplay, it's time to retool the game. Obviously in a battle situation it makes sense that I'm going to annihilate your forces, unless I'm doctrinated to your whole "don't kill all my guys and I won't kill all yours" gentlemen's agreement, the first few games I'm going to smash your toy army. then you're going to ragequit and report me for cussing or some pussy bullshit. and once I am wise to your agreements, I might just decide to troll it up and fuck with all you whiny armchair generals and kill all your precious trinkets while rolling base armies myself that I won't care about losing. so it becomes a trolling ground. bad for multiplayer, and bad for business. you fail Ubisoft, you fail hard.

Reason Rank
Start 10
Voice Command that's not quite there yet -2
Interesting concept that works when it wants to +3
Wimpy manchildren for a player base online -5
have to play in utter seclusion for best effect -2
Result: 4/10

Great idea, poor execution with poor hardware support backing it. Also piss poor online play means replayability is limited to non-existant. Frustration from failed or poorly executed orders compared to what you can get from mouse control means that you'd be better off playing any RTS other than End War.