45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Act Of War: Direct Action (PC DVD ROM) (Video Game)Don't expect anything particularly groundbreaking in this game. Anyone who has played Command and Conquer : Generals will be familiar with this type of gameplay. However, what it does do it tends to do very well. The three playable armies each have a very distinct flavour : Task Force Talon are your "expensive elite" type force, with several units that can change at the push of a button to being anti tank/anti aircraft/anti infantry etc. The US army has a lot of very specialised, very strong units that are good at one specific task, but pretty useless at others. The Conglomerate are the terrorist-style force. They start the game as "unrevealed", and feature lots of low-tech,cheap and weak units. Later up the tech tree the status becomes "revealed", and then they have access to some extremely high tech units, mostly with stealth/invisibility. You can only play as the latter in multiplayer or skirmish modes however.
The single player campaign is reasonably long, focusing mainly on Task Force Talon (TFT). There are also some missions where you control US army forces, or both. The difficulty level is fairly low, I found, even playing on the higher settings. However, it does serve as a good intro to the use of your units. The real meat of the game can be found in the multiplayer and skirmish modes, where the AI plays a tough game at the hard difficulty level.
There are some nice touches which put this game firmly above CnC in my opinion. The resource model starts on familiar territory, with oil wells providing your main source of income at the start. You can also place infantry units in a bank building to gain a constant (finite) trickle of cash, but the real innovation is that each of your units can be put out of action but not killed. They remain on the battlefield until either rescued or capture by the enemy. Each army has their own "POW camp" building, where captured prisoners grant you a small income on a regular basis (think hackers from CnC Generals). Infantry are particulary useful all through the game too, being able to occupy buildings, and "ambush" (hiding in corners, trees etc.) to cause double damage and gain limited stealth temporarily. Finally, the super weapons are nicely done, not being unbalancingly overpowered. You can also build counters to them, which protect large areas of your base around them from attack, a welcome break from being nuked to death :D
Graphically this game looks great, but can be demanding. There are a lot of scalable options though, with shadows making the biggest difference, I found. Some people have had a lot of problems with the latest patch (1b), and their DVD drives not reading past the security. SecurROM is the copy protection used, so if you've had probelms with it in the past, be warned.
Like I said, there is nothing particularly new here, but it is a very polished, enjoyable addition to the RTS genre.