Axis & Allies (PC)

By Gavin "Blayd" Keating

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 6.00
Replays: 7.00

I’m not the biggest fan of Real Time Strategy Games. So when I came across A&A, I had my doubts about the game. While installing it, I prayed that it wouldn’t be just another StarCraft clone (you know, Harvest then Build, then Harvest then Build, then Fight then Harvest). Sadly, my fears were confirmed when I played through the tutorial. The overall feel of the game felt exactly like StarCraft did four years ago: monotonous. However, if you get past the eight year old gameplay (and yes, StarCraft is that old), A&A has some pretty solid quirks.

Axis & Allies takes you back to the early and mid 1900’s. The world is at war once again. You take the role of a military commander, able to side with each major faction. Under your influence, can Germany take Russia? Will the US be able to thwart the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Can the Rising Sun conquer all of Asia? Only your military prowess and the bravery of your troops will be able to decide the answers to these questions.

I’m hoping gameplay isn’t the biggest selling point in this game. Basically, you make buildings. Buildings produce resources every “turn” and those resources are used to make other buildings. Certain buildings can produce combative units. Although a variety of units exists in A&A, the underlying strategy for the use of each unit remains the same: Attack Here. The more units you have, the better chance you have of reaching your destination point while blowing up anything that you can’t control. Thus, the first half of a mission is building up your base and producing large amounts of units. I have a problem with this. I’m sure that a Military Commander wouldn’t have to “make” units for an attack. He’s given units at the beginning of the battle. So why am I spending thirty minutes of my time waiting for the production bar of my infantry to fill up?

Although the basis of the gameplay seems to be based on StarCraft, new elements were added to spice up the monotony. Sadly, most of these additions are more annoying then revolutionary. For instance, each unit has a “Morale” bar. The longer a unit participates in battle, the lower the morale bar gets. If the morale bar gets too low, your units randomly retreat. This irks me to no end. They can retreat regardless of the tide of battle. On top of this, there seems to be a glitch with the “March” command. If you click the Attack button and click the location, the Unit will march onto that location and engage any enemies on the way there. However, even if they defeat an enemy unit they begin marching in the opposite direction. Taking a beach is virtually impossible without having to click and re-click the Attack button every single time a turret is destroyed. One of the more nifty quirks is the fact that each unit has a “Commander”. As long as the Commander remains alive, units can be replenished at your base. However, the developers needlessly complicated this by forcing every unit to be assigned. If the Unit is assigned to a different base, they can’t restore in that base. But you’re given the ability to reassign Units to that base! It just seems like such a needless procedure.

Along with the two basic Campaigns, “World War II” is also included. It combines a Turn-Based system (which feels a lot like Risk) with the traditional RTS battles in the Campaigns. Incredibly in-depth map editors are also available, along with solid LAN and Online gaming modes.

Although the gameplay is slightly dated, the graphics definitely aren’t. Backgrounds, units and special effects are wonderfully detailed and vibrant. In A&A, even a desert looks to be a work of art. The game’s bright colors coupled with the smooth framerate really allows you to enjoy watching the exciting and fast-paced battles that are common in A&A. Coupled with the spectacular graphics is amazing sound. Although music is limited, sound effects of your soldiers rushing into battle and the explosions of surrounding structures grip you and provide a sense of realism absent in most RTS’.

Axis and Allies for the PC takes the harrowing stories of the World Wars and puts the outcome(s) right in your hands. If the gameplay was to be tweaked and put on par with the incredible graphics and sound, then this would be a must have. I recommend A&A to the light and heavy RTS gamer, as well as Historical Enthusiasts.

Overall Rating: 7.00

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