Machines at War 3 – PC Game Review
Passed Inspection: Fast, nail-biting action, real-time strategy. Easy to learn but tough to master.
Failed Basic: Needs to better coordinate the status updates and help with the on-screen action. No verification that you’ve saved the game.
Weapons researchers have gone missing but they have left a few clues that seem to indicate that they have been kidnapped to work on a new, even more deadly weapon for the enemy. Now you must deploy your high-tech forces to save America from a new threat and, while defending the country, you must look for clues to recover the scientists.
This is the set-up for the newest release in the venerable Machines of War real-time strategy game series. The first Machines of War was released around 2007, and the first game featured science fiction ground mechanized combat only. Machines of War 3, the newest sequel, not only adds infantry and artillery but air combat as well. Since this is a real-time strategy game, the main focus is to collect resources, build your installation and army, and then go find the enemy and kill him. This game fits that mold nicely but adds nice tension through the mysterious backstory of the missing scientists.
This game is available for the Windows and the Mac platforms. The system requirements are not overly heavy duty. On Windows the requirements are Windows XP or later, 225 MB storage space and 1 GB memory. For the Mac, OS X 10.2 or later, 240 MB storage space and 1 GB memory. As I tried this on several different Windows boxes (one new and very basic and one a gamer’s rig), I can say that the graphics hold up on a basic system with an on-board graphics card and look just as good (if not better) on the gamer’s rig with a top-flight graphics card.
Machines of War 3 features an immersive campaign game with an on-screen learning system and 21 missions of escalating difficulty. Additionally, the game features a skirmish mode with hundreds of random maps and an online battle mode in which up to four players from all over the world can test their mettle. The game description promises battles with upwards of 5,000 units participating!
The graphics are a nicely effective, top-down view with anime inspired characters providing orders and updates. The sound effects, music and atmospherics are all first rate and do much to draw the viewer into this violent future world. Weather effects are also modeled into the game.
The number of units that can be created is staggering—everything from different types of power armored infantry to ground effects vehicles, tanks, gun platforms, ICBMs (!), automated artillery, aircraft and ships.
The key to success in the game is twofold. Strategically, you’ll want to make sure your base has lots of power to facilitate building more facilities and units. Tactically, you’ll want to use your fast air and ground unit as scouts to pinpoint enemy facilities and units to attack. After you spot the enemy, then send in your heavy units.
A chart of all the different types of units can be accessed to compare abilities but I wish that the chart featured 3D rotatable models so that the units can be visually compared.
In addition, at times the status updates and help screens seem to lag slightly behind the on-screen action which can get the player into some trouble. I also noted that when the game is saved, there is no system status informing the player of such an action. I wish that the screen would just say “Game Saved” or some such thing.
While Machines of War 3 really doesn’t add a great deal to the real-time-strategy genre of computer games, it is a worthy addition to the genre and the game play is very addictive.
(Editor’s note—Isotope 244 recently announced its v1.22 update “contains unit balancing changes, and several bug fixes.”)
Armchair General Rating: 87 %
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!