War Times

11You can toss Legend Studios’ War Times onto the growing pile of WW2 computer games. And this real-time strategy clickfest seems as if it were designed in the past as well. It’s like the developers were trying to evoke nostalgic feelings with out-of-date design and artificial intelligence. This is a build-em-and-blitz-em RTS like Westwood used to make. The only difference between it and Red Alert is the WWII mission structure. You follow history and take the side of the Americans, British, Russians, and Germans.

But this worthwhile idea is terribly executed. Units in the four armies seem interchangeable. No strategy is required. You just smash your troops into the other guy’s troops until somebody wins. And even this simplistic gameplay is unbalanced, as each side can set up defensive towers that mow down opposition, including tanks. Play for an hour and you’ve seen everything the game has to offer.

Brutal pathfinding forces you to micromanage resource gathering and attacks. Units sent out to collect the two resources of oil and ore often collide and freeze in place. Band-selecting troops and tanks is ineffective since units can’t handle terrain features. They take so many routes that they might as well be coming from all points on the compass. Enemies have no trouble taking out these spread-out stragglers as they stumble into range.

Or not, due to dumb AI. Enemy troops rush to attack soldiers in the distance while ignoring tanks streaming toward their base. Battles are scripted affairs where you fight enemy units triggered by reaching certain points on the map. Multiplayer modes let you bypass these flaws, of course, although it’s impossible to find opponents online. Don’t bother with War Times unless you’re looking for a blast from the past. Its best quality is serving as a reminder that the good old days weren’t always good.

System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 1.3 GB HDD, 64 MB Video, WinXP

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