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Elements of War PC Review - -

Gameplay 5.5
Graphics 6.0
Sound 6.0
Value 5.0
Distributor: AFA Interactive
Review Date:
June 2011
Josh Waters


Elements of War

The PC is the definitive machine for real-time strategies (RTS) and there are so many RTS games that at times, it's like putting a stick into a hornet's nest. From alien planets (Starcraft II) to epic wars (Command & Conquer Generals), the genre has definitely proved itself with gamers. However as there are so many RTS titles available for the PC, you have your great titles and your not so great titles which is inevitable. Elements of War fits somewhere in the middle and the biggest problem with the game is that it feels quite dated on the PC, even though it has some great twists thrown into the mix to create something different.

At its core, Elements of War is a traditional real-time strategy game that is set in the distant future that has seen mankind finally gain control over the weather. However what better way to to decimate your enemies than by controlling their weather and this is where the twist comes into play. It's actually quite interesting to use the weather as a weapon as you call down the heavens to smash your enemies. Apart from the weather, players have access to a plethora of futuristic vehicles and technology in order to gain the upper hand on their opponents. When it comes to gameplay modes, Elements of War features a campaign mode (single-player) and an online mode. There are three different factions that you can select, each with a slightly different story which include the Ravens (US), the EBB (European Coalition) and the Patriots (freedom fighters).

The Ravens are in essence the US military who are trying their hardest to protect the weather weapon, whereas the EBB have invaded America in order to steal this technology and right in the middle are the Patriots who just want their country to return to normal. With 12 quite large maps and over 40 units, Elements of War has quite a bit going on for itself. I'll try not spoil the weather weapons but I will spoilt one... called earthquake. This really makes a mess of your enemies armies and is actually quite cool to see it unfold.

Like other games of this genre, you start small in Elements of War and have limited access to the units that can you create. As you do progress, your tech-tree becomes more in-depth that will allow you to pump out more vehicles and weaponry. It is a tried and tested formula but something feels a little amiss, especially with games such as Starcraft II released almost a year ago because this game feels extremely dated from its old school gameplay to old school graphics which is a shame. The control system is the standard mouse and keyboard as you point and click to move your unit or units which most people of this genre should have no issues in mastering. There is tutorial for those who have never played RTS titles before and it is quite incisive to learn the ropes of the game such as resource management.

Battles are the key to Elements of War as with all RTS games but one nuisance of the game is the artificial intelligence of the units. Sometimes when I set a waypoint for my units or if a battle was occurring, they would move the long-way to their destination. Also when there are several units on screen at once, there is some slowdown. Missions are generally quite small as opposed to massive all out brawls between armies but where the game shines is through the weather control that is almost like launching a nuclear missile from the Red Alert series. It's a shame that the engine doesn't look that appealing.

Graphically, Elements of War looks quite plain on high resolutions with its dated and simplistic environments. Unit design looks good however and the vehicles that you control have this futuristic feel to them and the best part of the graphics is the weather effects for the game. The developers have done a rather good job at creating the weather elements that makes the gameplay a tad more exciting. Given this, there are some frame rate issues and not all the units look good which in turn makes the game feel like a pre 2000 title. You would hope that it would be silky smooth on a modern rig but unfortunately this is not the case. The gaming environment is also a little sparse which lacks the terrain detail or more importantly an immersion factor which is a shame.

In the end, Elements of War would have been a decent game 10 years ago, however it feels trapped in the pre-2000 area from its dated graphics to gameplay. If you're in need for an RTS fix, you might want to investigate this for $59.95AUD but unfortunately there are several better games available. Even the multiplayer is quite boring and in the end, this is not a very memorable RTS title.



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