As far as RTS games go (real-time strategy, for the uninitiated), there are essentially a few different stock models which developers tend to adhere to. Some titles gradually ease you into conflict, perhaps buffering it with loads of cut-scenes portraying an overtly-dramatic back story, or perhaps requiring you to even construct and maintain resources and production facilities. “War Game: AirLand Battle” simply throws you into the battle head-on, right into a challenging scenario. For the true RTS devotee, this setup will probably provide exactly the sort of test that they have been craving, a true test of their mettle, if you will. For the more casual gamer, WG: AirLand Battle might come off as possessing too steep a learning curve; however, for those with the guts to stick it out, hours upon ours of fun and exciting action are yours for the taking.
Like any modern RTS game, “AirLand Battle” packs the sort of graphical punch you’d expect. Visually speaking, everything is very nice; the main interface is akin to your standard “tabletop” layout and affords you a bird’s eye view of all the onscreen antics. There’s plenty of detail too, once you zoom in, of course. Moreover, the game runs smoothly and incorporates environments which more than serve their purpose, even bringing a sharp tinge of realism to forefront. Perhaps one of the coolest little touches is how various sounds (like the deafening rumble of a fleet of tanks) become more apparent as you draw closer to the point of action. Details like this also help to generate a sense of anxiety with regards to an impending battle as well.
Naturally, the heart and soul of any RTS game is in its gameplay, and War Game: AirLand Battle is no exception. However, don’t assume that you will be well-prepared for your first encounter; this game simply thrusts you into position with a “sink or swim” attitude and forces you to figure out what’s going on. Of course the more experienced RTS players will undoubtedly figure out how to navigate and handle assets fairly quickly (which also seems to fit the notion that this is a title designed for more veteran RTS gamers). Regardless, stats are available via the armory and you can quickly dissect the capabilities of all your resources. What makes this game interesting is that it demands true strategic decisions from players. In other words, you won’t be able to simply overthrow an opponent through sheer force or numbers, you’ll have to think about what you’re doing every step of the way.
All things said and done, War Game: AirLand Battle is a title that’s perfect for gamers who have more than a few real-time strategy games under their belt already. The more advanced player will likely relish the challenges they face and approach them head-on with great anticipation. For those who are new to the genre, you will probably encounter several frustrations, but if you stick with it you will emerge wiser and stronger.