Act of Aggression is a newly released game by Eugen Systems, mostly popular for their juggernaut of a military RTS the ‘Wargame’ series. Act of Aggression throws back to the popular RTS style of base-building, with many features reminiscent of the ‘Command & Conquer’ franchise.
Featuring 3 vastly different factions pitted against each other in global warfare, the player takes command of the technologically superior ‘Cartel’ a shadowy organisation that seems to field private military units and Black Ops alike. Alternatively the player may control the appropriately named ‘Chimera’ a United Nations task-force featuring a ‘Jack of All Trades’ approach to crush the enemy with highly adaptive units. Lastly the player has the opportunity to play as the sleeping giant itself, the ‘US Army’ focusing highly on the expertise of specific units rather than adaptability, featuring real military equipment such as the ‘M1 Abrams’ and the ‘AH64 Apache’.
The campaign for Act of Aggression brings in story elements to educate the player on the world of the near future. Showing that the Cartel organisation has secretly been planning the downfall of the US, as it had done before in Russia and China. Whilst showing the Chimera as a force under attack across Europe, by what they presume as terrorists but what the player knows as the Cartel. The game includes a 15 mission long campaign allowing the player to command the Chimera or the Cartel.
The game features as previously mentioned, base-building, an RTS element that has felt like it has been lacking in the recent years. This game gives a good feel to base-building with establishing resources and power before you decide to endlessly spam your units at the enemy, otherwise your enemy will simply be able to outspend you. The game features 3 key resources, Oil (Money), Aluminium (used for many units such as jets and helicopters) and Rare Earth Elements (Used for later game units and super-weapons).
Scattered around the skirmish maps of Act of Aggression are banks, these banks give you oil dependent on how many infantry units you decide to garrison them with. In my opinion this is an excellent way to encourage players to expand, seize and defend instead of simply turtling in your base like many other RTS’. Furthermore each faction features methods to create resources even when resource deposits have run out, the most prominent being the prisoner system. An excellent fling by Eugen Systems and simple in execution. It functions like so, say your MG nest destroys a hostile jeep, well the driver may escape death but as a ‘prisoner of war’. This virtually nullifies the unit meaning it cannot attack, however if you have infantry capture the hostile POW then you can get a lovely money bonus and a constant income of oil, although if the POW makes it back to the enemy HQ they get a lump of oil back. This system sets Act Of Aggression aside from other RTS’ in my opinion.
Eugen System’s other well-known RTS ‘Wargame’ brought many unique aspects to the military RTS genre featuring more micro management opportunities such as ‘reverse move’ on tanks and the ability for artillery units to fire smoke shells. The smoke shells are also prominent in Act of Aggression which shows a good focus on line-of-sight. For example a prominent tactic when playing as the US faction is to have an air scout (otherwise known as a Littlebird) and then have artillery pieces bombard the target in question (my favourite tactic, other than having stealth helicopters back-door their base).
Act of Aggression is also a graphically pleasing game, featuring detailed units and extravagant designs that (for the fictional units) would pass as real military assets. I notice this most specifically on the infantry. Each different variant of infantry unit carries an alternate weapon and behaves differently to how they would in real combat. For example, mortar operators will kneel next to the mortar when they have set the weapon up. Furthermore, planes in Act of Aggression bring a whole other level of amazement to me personally as they behave the way that these different planes should for example a bomber has a wide turn angle whereas an interceptor has a far shorter angle and tends to get to where it is needed faster.
This game to me has come after a long gap of a lack of RTS’ to me, meaning I can finally fix my itch to go and dig up an ancient copy of Red Alert. Providing a nice alternative from an already established monster of the RTS genre Eugen Systems. Additionally I would definitely advise anyone who wants to play a traditional RTS that uses real military units to try this game out (for the military nerds out there). I would definitely recommend this game for any old-school RTS fans specifically those of traditional Command & Conquers such as Red Alert or Tiberium Wars.
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