War Wind 2
Familiarity Breeds Contempt, Or So they say. You would think then, that upon loading Warwind 2: Human Onslaught and finding that the controls and interface are exactly what you'd expect from a C&C: Red Alert clone, it could be considered one of the most contemptuous videogames ever. Surprisingly, this is not the case. There are so many things to do in this game that you'll be very grateful you can do all of them with a minimum of fuss. It's a bit like playing an extremely good Quake clone that has the good sense to use all the same keys players are used to playing with in Quake itself.
Full marks for the interface then, although whether you'll think the same of Warwind2's graphics is really a matter of taste. Forget the graphically-stunning explosions you see in games like Total Annihilation, or the sophisticated veneer of Red Alert. In graphic terms, we're talking functional with a capital 'F' - think of the stuff the Bitmap Brothers were churning out before everyone discovered 3D (Zis a particularly good example). In fact, this game wouldn't look entirely out of place on the Amiga. But being the dedicated gaming funsters that we are, we're not interested in the graphics, are we? Of course not.
As gaming connoisseurs we want to know what the gameplay is like, and whether or not we're going to be burning the midnight oil as a result of Warwind2s addictive charms. Let's get on to that then.
We're only human
The biggest difference between Warwind 7 and the sequel is the addition of human units. Two of the races are made up entirely of humans, and to be honest, these are the ones you'll probably want to play with. It's somewhat easier to identify with humans than weird aliens - a fact which hasn't escaped the attention of Blizzard, who are including a human race in Stareraft for exactly this reason.
Gameplay is pretty much what you'd expect from a game of this type, but there are some very nice touches. For example, you can choose which of your leaders will guide your troops through each mission. Each leader has specific skills or magic abilities that affect your units during battle. There's a wide variety of units, which can be upgraded when you build certain structures, and their skill levels can be increased which enables them to build better structures.
Perhaps the biggest point in Warwind 2's favour is the high replay value. Personally, I'd rather have a game with four short, varied campaigns than one very long and potentially repetitive one. My only criticism is that unit selection can sometimes be a confusing and frustrating exercise, due to the fact you have to deselect units you're currently controlling in order to select new ones. Apart from that, Warwind 2 is a competent, reasonably refreshing addition to an overcrowded genre.
Look out, Blizzard
Look out Blizzard indeed, because Starcraft's biggest selling point at the moment appears to be the fact that you get to take control of four different races and play a whole campaign with each one. Funny that, because Mindscape have taken exactly the same approach with Warwind 2 - and very well it works too. Each of the races has its own totally unique soldiers, vehicles and buildings, and the campaigns are genuinely different depending on which race you choose to play. It's a bit like having four completely different games in one, which is what I think I said about Starcraft when I previewed it a few months back. Oh, alright then, I'll come clean and admit to being supremely confident that Starcraft will blow this thing out of the water when it comes out in a couple of months. But if you can't wait that long, you could do a lot worse than spending a couple of months with Warwind 2.
The Marine Faction
The Marines are not entirely dissimilar to the units you get when playing the good guys in Red Alert. They're not particularly advanced technically, but they more than make up for this with their vastly superior firepower. If blowing the crap out of everything in sight is your bag, then this is the race for you.
The Descendant Faction
The 'geeks' of the bunch. The Descendant Faction favour logic and reason over heavy-duty firepower and use brain rather than brawn in the heat of battle. If making fancy hi-tech gadgets is your thing then go for these guys. These human scientists have fairly limited combat abilities but are extremely technologically advanced.
The S.U.N. Faction
Not an offshoot of a certain intellectual daily publication, but rather an alliance of the Shama'Li and Eaggra races. They abhor aggression and for this reason have struck the Marines off their Christmas card list. The S.U.N. Faction have superior stealth and magical abilities and produce highly efficient workers.
The Overlord Faction
This alliance combines the formidable power of the Tha'Roon leadership with the sheer brute force of the Obblinox race. If you want to command the best combat units in the game, the Overlords are the chaps to team up with. Their only weaknesses are a slight lack of firepower and less than impressive construction abilities.
Download War Wind 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Many years have passed since the First War of Yavaun, when four races battled for their individual goals. Though the Shama'Li failed to summon NagaRom, the all powerful creator who could reunite the warring groups, the Eaggra succeeded in achieving liberation from Tha'Roon oppression. Many Eaggra formed an alliance with the Shama'Li, and together they are called the S.U.N. (Servants Under NagaRom).
Meanwhile, the Tha'Roon had regained control of the Obblinox and the two races are referred to as the Overlord. Needless to say, the Overlords are kicking everybody's fannies all over the universe and now the Shama'Li are trying to summon NagaRom for help once again.
Of course, the Eaggra and Shama'Li mystics didn't realize that one of the Tablets of NagaRom was in the possession of human scientists on the planet Earth. When they summoned NagaRom it transported the scientists and a few Marines to their distant planet, and that is where the fun begins.
You'll of course need to read the enclosed manual/novella to understand all the background here, but the basic idea is the same as most any other strategy game—lead your regiments to crush the opposition, and while the storyline might sound interesting, the game isn't.
Gameplay & Controls
Stop me if you have heard this situation before: space marines have been transported to a distant planet and are now in a heated war with aliens. No, this isn't Quake 2 or even X-Com; unfortunately, it is War Wind II.
The gameplay on this particular title is not very intriguing or original; it's more like annoying. It is basically the same as every other strategy title except a lot more confusing. It seems like every button on your keyboard is now a hotkey. I know some people might enjoy the fact that you can hit the "T" button to build a watch tower, but I found it frustrating when I accidentally built something I didn't want, or ordered troops to attack when I didn't mean to. Yes, you can use the mouse, but be ready to click it three or four times before you get to the choices you want to build or attack.
Add to the control problem the fact that your units are not very smart, and you get the true breadth of the frustration factor—you have to babysit every unit on the screen or they will get stuck in a corner or in a small channel and will wait for you to guide them around it or will be wiped out while they're waiting.
One thing that SSI did do very well was to make it harder to go through different landscapes (i.e. trees, swamps). That makes it more realistic for those of us that like to go straight through everything—now we have to go around it instead. Open ground, however, shouldn't be a hindrance.
I found that the best way to play the game is to use the cheat codes that can be found here at GameFabrique and then sit back and watch the cinematic sequences. They are by far the highlight of the game. SSI took great pride in their movie trailers and they deserve a pat on the back. I just wish I didn't have to play the game to watch them. Plus, if you're shopping for a game, $50 for some good cut scenes is kind of steep.
The graphics for War Wind II are old and outdated, and nothing can hide this. It reminds me of a game that came out a couple of years ago. What could that game be? Yeah, you guessed it, War Wind. The first one in the series. The one from 1995. I was deeply disappointed with the level of detail and how the units looked as they moved. I guess I am spoiled after playing Age of Empires and the like.
The audio is clear and crisp, yet very annoying. The first couple times that you hear "Bring it on," it is kind of nice. But after a hundred times it gets more than a little stale. I ended up turning the sound off because my wife was complaining about the people making too many stupid comments. When we played Warcraft, it was cute to hear the Ogre say something, but to hear a marine screaming the same thing over and over because you have to guide him around a turn isn't very enjoyable.
Pentium 90 (120 recommended), 100% Windows 95 compatible sound card, 16 MB RAM, 30 MB hard drive space, 4X CD-ROM drive, 2 MB SVGA video card
The novel that comes with the game will answer every question that you could possibly ask. It is the largest manual I have ever seen -- over 100 pages long -- and is filled with everything from unit statistics to how to use the scenario editor. By the time you learn everything in the book you probably won't even want to play the game. The manual is more fun to read than playing the game anyway.
War Wind II is boring and outdated; it seems to be basically the original War Wind graphics engine with some new maps and cutscenes. Yes, the cinematic cutscenes were very well made, but that's where the quality ended. When I first loaded War Wind II, the opening drew me in, but then the game threw me out. If SSI had spent as much time on the game as they did on the storyline, they would have had a big hit on their hands, but instead War Wind II falls short of being anything but a second-hand rerun, and in this reviewer's opinion only rates a 26 in face of its more modern competition.