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Theatre of War 3: Korea Review (PC)

Posted by Michael Oliver, Apr 04, 2011 09:26

Theatre of War 3 Korea GAMEPLAY

Once you make up your mind in the strategic mode, you get down to the detailed and refined gameplay and see what the game’s really all about. The developers refer to it as “painstaking simulation” - deep tactical and combat realism. Actions take time. A tank getting up to speed, a chopper taking off, mortar teams breaking down and moving heavy equipment - everything is representative of their real life counterparts. When an artillery shell lands next to an infantry squad the effectiveness of the fragmentation splash damage is designed to be authentic. So, if a shell is lobbed high across a relatively short distance the blast radius is spread spherically; if an artillery round’s velocity includes a straight, flat line trajectory - then the splash damage is directed in a forward cone with a small width.

 

Theatre of War 3 Artillery

 

Details like these provide a final result giving complete immersion with realistic maneuvers across terrain and authentically time sensitive deployment of troops to flank and support. Competitive gamers who enjoy executing perfect military strategy will love all of this. The dilemma is the effect it has on the speed of gameplay; casual gamers will find combat slow and boring. Combine this boredom with predictability, and either type of player will frown.

During the default campaigns, each battle has a goal. Sometimes it’s to secure a bridge or capture an airfield, during others it’s to defend a village from attack. Whatever the objective, the AI is always placed in a familiar spot. The maps don’t vary too much, and get recycled (only 7 maps total). You might attack or defend a bridge from a different side, but a smart player will know exactly where the AI will be and how to approach them because there isn’t a fog of war hiding the terrain. In order to be effective the AI as a result has to spam units and this creates a boring environment without surprises.

“In battle, numerical superiority itself is not an advantage of its own accord” - Sun Tzu

When I first played the tutorial, I had to read some lines of text to first put engineers in a chopper, ferry them to a bridge and place land mines on it. My engineers reached the bridge and from I could tell, planted about ten mines. Then I was told I failed my mission. Tutorial failed. Baffled, I moved on to just try the campaign.

When I first started playing as the North Korean army during the Leap of the Tiger offensive, I was greeted with little direction. There was no tutorial for the strategic mode unless I cycled through a “tips” screen. After figuring things out for myself and directing my units to defend on the strategic map, my first tactical objective was a to defend a village. There was no explanation of this goal, no time line given and no priority of important buildings to protect.

After playing that scenario a couple of times, all I can figure out is the only thing that matters is who is alive at the end. The most confusing version of this map was when I neglected my east flank - three tanks and a squad of rocket infantry broke my lines and was heading for my village unopposed. Simultaneously, I was crushing an infantry formation marching down a different road to the north. The armor strolled past my front lines, killed a mortar team and blew up a house or two. I was given the victory despite having the enemy in my base blowing crap up.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Theatre of War 3: Korea Review (PC)
6.5 Overall
Intense strategic combat, high attention to detail and realism make this game unique; unintelligent AI and poor path finding slow it down to a crawl. This is a niche game: only recommended for realistic military buffs, simulation lovers and real time strategy connoisseurs.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0


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