Single player is not really worth the time - too bad if you don't have Xbox Live Gold..
The year is 2020 and the United States are still pissing off the rest of the world - this time it’s because they’re interfering with the balance of world power. The situation has got so bad that the world’s three major factions, the USA, European Federation and Russia, have turned on each other - now it’s World War III.
We'll say it straight up - skip the solo missions in Tom Clancy's EndWar. It gives an introduction to the events that led up to World War III and teaches you how to play the game, but after you've got a grasp on the basics the missions lack any depth courtesy of the poor AI. We found in most battles that your enemy will rarely attack you first allowing you to get the upper hand by deploying the appropriate unit the second hostiles are spotted.
Issuing commands to your troops is easy if you’re packing a headset - your unit only responds to key phrases like “Unit 1 move to Alpha” or “Unit 7 deploy target 8” but you can speak with an accent, talk like a jockey and even speak through a voicebox (trust us, we tried it) and your army will have no problem following your commands. It’s definitely the best voice recognition system we’ve used and is much easier then trying to use the controller to navigate through each command menu individually with the D-pad.
The online Theatre of War mode is where EndWar really shines - think of it as a game of Territories that never ends. After aligning yourself with the USA, European Federation or Russia you’re presented with a world map which acts like a lobby, where several battles are taking place in real time. Each battle is controlled by one of these three factions allowing you and all the other online players in your faction to achieve the ultimate goal of world domination – but not in a Dr Evil kind of way.
Unlike most PC strategy titles, the battles in EndWar don’t last for hours on end. Instead of pitting players against each other to see who has the bigger army on enormous battlegrounds, EndWar’s battles are more balanced and play out like a game of rock, paper, scissors in smaller, more compact maps.
Each of the seven units are vulnerable to attacks from other specific units - the load screens even lends a hand by telling you what units destroy what. For example if you see that the enemy has some Tanks on the grassy knoll then you should use your Artillery or Engineer units to take them out - if you see Helicopter Gunships in the skies then deploy your Transport unit to send them crashing in a ball of flames.
When one team is on the verge of victory they can launch the ultimate fatality, a weapon of mass destruction – then once you’ve wiped out an army you’re taken back to the world map to ponder what location you want to take over next. It’s an exciting mode as the game changes every time you log in- one day a part of France could be in your control and then the next it could be in the hands of the Yanks. It’s almost like an online version of the board game Risk.
EndWar is probably the best attempt at a RTS on consoles, while it’s far from perfect Ubisoft has managed to find a way to allow you to command an army in short but explosive battles - which should suit most console owners. Even though the single-player is best left untouched and the graphics are not up to par with other new release titles like GOW 2, there’s still a lot of fun to be had here with EndWar if you’re a fan of online gaming.