Available: September / October 2002

Another War © Cenega
Article by Andreas "Interman" Misund

Hack?n Slash games can be dangerous, especially for a recovering Diablo 2: LOD addict. With the growth of MMORPGs I?m sure plenty of you can relate. Another War, whose team we interviewed a while ago, is a different kind of game. Even though it fits in the genre of Diablo 2, Everquest etc: the developers chose to go with a different kind of theme than the medieval one we?ve grown to love.

The story takes place in the Second World War, in a time of trouble. But instead of making a drop-dead serious war game they have inserted a load of more humorous things like being able to enter the café that some of you may have seen in the old TV show ?Allo ?Allo. In general, Another War was meant to be somewhat of a parody of war games, while still being entertaining and challenging for the player.

Not too long ago we received a demo from Cenega Europe, and here?s what I?ve seen so far:
The game inserts you into a scene where you (a British fellow) and a friend of yours have driven into an occupied French village named Annacy. It?s evening and everything seems all right. After having entered the previously mentioned café you meet up with a friend of yours who has an interesting to story to tell. In the past, your friend, who happens to be an art collector, did some slightly shady business with a nazi. The nazi would deliver ancient items to him, and he would value them and write reports about them. He never questioned the source of the items (not too hard to guess perhaps), until he got three coins that clearly came from a Polish friend of his, who would NEVER part with them. After having confronted his benefactor he was talked into a final job, which involved a book with a map inside. That specific map turned out to be important, because after it was analyzed it showed the location to some important location. The thing is though, just when your friend had come to that part of the story a German general and some officers entered the café, and before you know it you?re in a damp and nasty cell in some foul prison. This is where the game really begins; when it?s time to start knocking heads.

What surprised me greatly even after having played only for a few minutes was the realism. Not graphically or aurally, but difficulty-wise. Since you start in that cell you?ve pretty much only got yourself to use against a legion of nazis, who not only have more hitpoints than you, but who also carry armor and weapons. Sounds unfair? Well, at least it?s original.

As you continue throughout the game you play it in two different modes: combat and adventure. In the first one you attack vicious nazis (either in Lazy-mode where you only need to click once and the computer does the rest, or non Lazy-mode where you control the character like in Diablo 2 etc), and in the latter you interact with objects and people. You obviously also pick up items along the way. There are in fact thirteen classes of weapons, ranging from fists, to automatic rifles, to flame-throwers, to smaller things like grenades. A nice feature is that some of the items you pick up have RPG-like modifiers to them, such as +1 to Strength, so fans of items searching should be entertained with this game.

Also, before you start you get to choose from three character classes: Strongman, Thief and Intellectual. The first one is like the barbarian / warrior / fighter in ordinary RPGs: big, strong and usually not too bright. The second one is faster and a master of evasion. He isn?t quite as strong, but does indeed have some skills that could come in handy. The third and final one is like a wizard; weakest of the bunch, but compensates with interesting skills.
When you create a character you also get to select his statistics. Another War has a slightly wider selection than some of its competitors. You will balance your character in: Strength, Agility (character?s capability to inflict damage, and his speed in evading attacks), intelligence (Influences the level of information access during the game, and his special skills), endurance (Indicates character?s endurance to combat injuries. Influences the number of hit points), charisma (determines character?s influence on other characters. Allows easier access to information, objects and puzzles during the game. During combat, it improves the command skills), speed and luck (this factor influences the combat and, furthermore, modifies the probability of successful actions such as theft, repair, trap disarmament, breaking, etc).

Graphically and aurally there?s still some work left to be done. For instance the resolution (800x600) felt so low that it?s hard to see enemies relatively close to you, and the vocal dialogues between the characters need to go smoother (the voice-overs are good though), the controlling scheme is harder than it has to be, and finally I hope they reduce the difficulty. In fact, if it wasn?t for the fact that you character regenerates one hitpoint / minute I wouldn?t have been able to get past even the first guards, who are not too bright, but who are able to kill you very rapidly and with much better accuracy than you have initially.

With enough work, this could turn out to be an interesting alternative to regular role-playing games ? we?ll just have to wait and see.