Unlike console titles, PC strategies never had problems with the control scheme, except the ones created by the producers themselves. The mouse + keyboard combo is still superior to the console controller, thanks to its flexibility. To avoid this nagging issue, the Ubisoft Shanghai studios decided to use a voice command system in EndWar, an RTS with a story penned by Tom Clancy, in which the near future of the mankind is again quite somber.
So it happens that in a hypothetical year 2016, a nuclear attack shakes Saudi Arabia, annihilating the main oil apparatus of the world and 20 million lives along with it. A year later, the European Union and the USA sign a technological exchange agreement, to create an anti-rocket shield, named SLAMS. Soon, Russia also creates her own anti-ballistic system and as a result, the intercontinental nuclear missiles become obsolete.
But, due to the above mentioned attack, oil price reaches 800$ and the EU states are forced to create the European Federation – an entity with a political organization similar to the USA’s. As usual, the skeptical Great Britain and Ireland refuse to take part in this project, but create “The New Commonwealth”, an ally of the European Federation.
On the other hand, Russia becomes the biggest natural gas and oil exporter and its economy experiences an enormous boom. And thanks to this, Russia begins to modernize its already significant army and influence the regional and global decisions.
In order to spice things up, in 2020 the USA announces its intention to launch Freedom Star, a space station which orbits the Earth and from which marine units can be sent anywhere in the world in a very short time. As a response to this project, the EF breaks off from NATO and from this there is only one step to World War Three.
Even though the premise is almost frighteningly very real, the plot unfortunately is not very developed, being just n excuse to start the battles rather than something to keep you glued in front of the monitor during the single-player campaign.
On the other hand, the highly praised voice command system of the units is indeed very interesting. Due to its first-class implementation, you can order your own units where to go or whom to attack with a speed superior to the one offered by the mouse-keyboard combination. The voice recognition is also very good, with the system being capable to distinguish several accents without any problems.
This way, you can control the units through a command like: UNIT 3 ATTACK HOSTILE 4. Simple and intuitive. To initiate such an order, you just have to press the SPACE bar, just like you would use a Walkie-Talkie. As any innovative thing, the system is not perfect, which means that hilarious situations are bound to eventually ensue, in which a unit of yours will be suddenly “parachuted” in the middle of the enemy army. Fortunately, these accidents are too few and far in-between to actually detract from the overall experience.
You have to note however that if you do not respect the three key points of a command – WHO? WHAT TO DO? WHERE? – the system will not recognize the orders. The units can also be controlled traditionally with the mouse and keyboard, so if there is anyone who does not sympathize this system (probably a bit futuristic, but interesting nonetheless) or who does not have a good microphone at hand, he can play EndWar in the traditional manner.