Wargame: Red Dragon Review
Four Campaign stories, huge variations of armies to build, great gameplay and huge maps.
Steep learning curve, some balance issues, no Co-Op campaign mode (yet).
When people say RTS they usually think of your standard Red Alert or Company of Heroes, something that involves base building. Granted that is sometimes the best aspect of playing an RTS game. Eugen systems have really pushed the boat out regarding RTS games over the recent years, and it all started with R.U.S.E., a game which broke the mould. Since starting the development of a line of games that I personally have now come to love, I’m going to take a look at their latest instalment, Wargame: Red Dragon, a new realistic real time strategy game for the PC.
Firstly the game is a top down strategy game that doesn’t involve base building, but don’t let that knock your back. Red Dragon is a deck building RTS game which, to the uninitiated, may sounds strange but having played the series from European Escalation, it all works really well. The deck building strategy really opens the game up, allowing you to build anything you want. Obviously this doesn’t mean that its easy to create a balanced, level deck, but it does open it up to be a virtual war game.
The deck building side is a really unique system where you build a deck using activation points, in preparation for your battle. Each card gives you access to a number of units that you can call onto the battlefield to fight for you. Every region you capture gives you points and those points grant you units. Its a smooth, working system that gives you a realistic battle to fight through. Sometimes the vast number of units you need to control can be overwhelming, either those you control or fight against.
New to the series is the Naval unit, which adds the ability to fight on sea or perform naval landings from a new quarter. It really brings the game to life, adding more strategy and tactics to the game. The new maps are immense in size, you now fight along coast lines or through multiple cities, across vast country sides and through little hamlets. The game looks beautiful as well and the detail is amazing. Considering how many units are on the battlefield, the developers have executed this perfectly.
Now the campaign in the last instalment of the series, AirLand Battle, was a simple affair fought over the same map. Eugen Systems have listened and in Red Dragon there are four individual campaigns you can now play through. They are alternative history settings which really explore how the Cold War could have ended. Being a huge Tom Clancy fan, especially the book Red Storm Rising, Red Dragon really does push the boat out and massively appealed to me. However for some bizarre reason Eugen have removed the co-op campaign mode, meaning that you have a great campaign setting but no co-op mode, a slight reversal of the previous game.
Red Dragon is a great RTS title that presents some truly unique twists compared with most other games in the genre. Its something you can pick up and be good at right away. Although the tutorials walk you through your first game, there is so much added depth thanks to the deck building and multiplayer gameplay. Red Dragon is a game I will play for years to come providing that the publisher support is there and is a perfect solution for realistic RTS fans.
If you want to base build and spam one type of unit then this likely isn’t the game for you however if you want to play something that isn’t a simplistic version of Paper, Scissors & Stone, then you’re going to love this. Its available on Steam and the Wargame website for £29.99 and with Steamplay support for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Embrace the Red Dragon and give this RTS title a go today, you will not be disappointed.