Rush for Berlin Review
|Genre:||Real Time Strategy|
|Release Date:||May 26, 2006 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Ben Atkinson (Jammin)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
World War II RTS games are hardly like rocking horse shit these days, having played my fair share I'm probably a little jaded. Fortunately for me Rush for Berlin is just that little bit different, different enough that I haven't once banged my head on the desk at the thought of having to get enough game-play time in to give it a fair review. Like many WWII RTS games, Rush for Berlin focuses mainly on the combat, less on building and there is no resource collecting what so ever. It instead revolves around capturing points and taking objectives on a given map, the twist being that time is a big factor, hence the 'Rush' in the title, clever huh. I thought so.
Although you can build things and construct extra units, time is always against you and you'll have to try and balance construction time against need for extra units, this tends to make your starting force all the more important. As you progress, you will get an ever increasing selection of men and equipment but you only ever have a certain amounts of slots available. Just like choice, numbers of slots also increase over time allowing you to add a bit more firepower to the fray.
How many units you take into each mission is also very important, as it will decide where your rating bar starts. The more units you start with, the lower rating you will start with on that map. The rating bar is an interesting addition, something that you will come to look at quite often when playing, affecting your decisions. Essentially every decision you make in the game will help or harm the rating bar, the more efficiently and quickly you complete your objectives the more points you will receive. Completing secondary and secret objectives will also increase your rating greatly. I you just sit in our base and build up forces from a barracks or factory, which does take some time; your score will start to drop at an ever increasing rate. At the end of each mission your rating for that map will be added to the campaign map. You can go back and try and complete each mission with a better rating at any time with the ultimate goal of knocking days off the time it takes to get to Berlin and win the allied race to capture the heart of the Third Reich.
There are four campaigns in the game; you can choose to attack the Third Reich from both east and west as either the Soviet Red Army or the American and British allies respectively. Also, there are allegedly some missions to play as the French Resistance though I have to admit I have yet to play them. The German campaign is however a little bit different and allows the player to take control of some of Germany's secret prototype weapons and counter-attack the invading forces.
Sound in Rush for Berlin is relatively impressive, I would have liked a little more intensity in some of the larger battles but in general it's more than satisfactory. Voice acting is also good, I swear the American soldiers voices are done by Seth Green, perhaps on the sly. Cut-scene voices are in their native tongue which works for me, even though I did have to read subtitles, there is however no voice over in-game which is a pity as there can be too much text to read at times while playing as well.
Graphically, Rush for Berlin delivers, the engine is very suitable for purpose displaying many of the latest rendering techniques. Turned up to max it really does look the part. Artillery and Bombs have satisfying explosions; you can even see munitions flying through the air. Thankfully battles do also leave lots of craters and a realistic sense of devastation behind, stricken tanks and craters litter the land. Campaign cut-scenes would also appear to be in engine and work quite well, driving the story on nicely and certainly make things more involving
Something which seems to be making its way onto almost every RTS at the moment has also found its way here, special abilities. While I can understand the officers having them, most units would appear has at least one, for example, standard infantry can use a mine and in enough numbers they will make very light work of tanks which can be a bit irritating. It's all in the name of balance I suppose and is probably best used in multiplayer.
Adding to the list of minor complaints would be the group control system; it's a bit basic to say the least. I had quite a few issues with selected group number magically switching. There also doesn't seem to be any obvious cover system either, you can make your infantry go prone or hide in building and trenches but random walls and most sand bags don't seem to provide any benefit at all. There is also a little talked about morale system denoted by a simple up or down thumb, I imagine it does have an effect, but I was yet to see any real evidence of it as writing this review, maybe I'm just missing something.
Finishing off the list of annoying things is the A.I. By no means is it bad but sometimes it can be questionable. Unfortunately this means that you'll sometimes have to watch a lot of your forces very closely, tanks are the biggest culprits for these path finding issues. Sometimes on tricky terrain you will need to give tanks the exact route rather than just clicking on the final destination.
Anyway, back to the good stuff. Any mounted guns or neutral tanks can be captured, by you or your enemy and can sometimes give you that extra bit of firepower needed. Tanks can be damaged beyond battlefield repair, by taking their tracks out but they can still fire and be re-supplied, they are just stuck in that position until the mission is over. Re-supplying your tanks is a task that's accomplished by supply trucks and depots, making these assets very valuable to the battle.
The limited air support we do get in Rush for Berlin takes the form of recon planes and bombing runs. All you have control over though is the target and more often than not enemies don't stay still for too long. To overcome this, planes do come in fairly swiftly; the timing just about right bringing realism and game-play into equilibrium.
All in all Rush for Berlin is an enjoyable experience that adds something a tiny bit different to a cramped genre. For World War II RTS fans it's probably a safe bet, for most other RTS fans there are some elements here that you will find enjoyable.
- Can be challenging
- Orchestrated big battles
- Solid graphics engine
- Good movies and voice acting
Not so good stuff
- Tanks have some path finding issues
- Cover system is a bit weird
- Lots of other tiny annoyances