Oh well, sooner or later it was bound to happen. Lately, I’ve been experiencing some…how would you call it?…displacements, yep that’s the right word. For instance, as soon as I’d step on the street, I’d start thinking what would be the best way to secure perimeter, where I would deploy my units, what is the best position for the base, where resource containers might be hidden, things like that. Everything strictly theoretically, of course. Or I would sit in my car and I’d start looking for the tank scope to calibrate the cannon… Only, last time I’ve checked, there’s no scope in my car, and certainly no cannon. The handyman says it will be finally installed next week, though – the paperwork is such a drag. But, let’s start at the very beginning.
It all started a while ago, we did a review of Art of War 3: Global Conflict, which is, as you probably know, currently one of the most popular and sought after real-time strategies for mobile platforms. With sleek graphics, flawlessly optimized controls, an engaging campaign featuring two perfectly balanced factions, and an even more exciting multiplayer component, this game had the makings of a truly great RTS title. We were particularly impressed by the inventive way how guys from Gear Games seamlessly merged the features of some of the best, old-school real-time strategies such as C&C or Red Alert with the modern gaming standards.
Now, after more than a month since our review of this instant RTS classic, we are glad that our hunch hasn’t failed us, and that our initial impression (which, now as then, can only be summarized as: awesome!) remained the same. However, we haven’t the time to tell you more about the phenomenal sense of immersion and identification with the role of the commander and all the difficult choices you’ll be forced to make during the game. After all, that addictive immersiveness is the main reason why I’ve lately been acting like principal Skinner from the Simpsons. I even started writing the war journal based on my Art of War 3 experiences. Sometimes I write as the Resistance, sometimes as Confederation officer (love both factions, anyway), so, if you really want to know how does it actually feels to be a commander in the Art of War 3 game, read on.
12th July 2040, Thursday 22:15
We’ve finally managed to establish our base despite the dense vegetation. Confederation forces must be somewhere in the vicinity, waiting for us to make the first move, to slip up. I’ve sent our Riflemen to scout the area. They’ve still haven’t returned. I’m not worried – yet – after all, their combat suits make them virtually invisible in the jungle.
13th July, Friday 05:25
The Riflemen are finally here! Our reports were right – the Confederation camp is beside the river. The leader of our recon unit, a kid of no more than 18 – are we so desperate? – said that they’ve located the motherload of resource containers. So far so good! I’ve noticed that his metal-alloy armor is damaged in one place, told him to go to the tech officer and fix the damn thing. He promised he’ll do it right away – bright, fresh-faced kid, full of beans…reminds me why we’re fighting this war.
13th July, Friday 13:05
It had begun! A couple of Confederation Assault units followed by Fortress vehicle for support appeared from the jungle. As expected, they were just testing us, trying to find a weak spot in our defenses. Of course, our eagle-eyed Snipers dispatched them easily. As for the Fortress, it was heavily damaged and tried to escape back into the jungle, to report on our position. That’s why we’re keeping a small squad of Grenadiers, hidden in the jungle just for cases like this. Is Confederation getting reckless? Then again, they’ve never had any respect for human life, not even their own men, so why would they start now? We’ haven’t seen the last of them, that’s for sure. Note: I have to make a round of our base; getting short on power, we have to build more Power Plants.
14th July, Saturday 02:35
Haven’t expected them so quickly. Damn! We’ve organized our watches, manned our Sniper Towers, and started securing our perimeter additionally with walls – in short, done everything by the book. Then they appeared, in the middle of the night. That was my bad, of course, I’ve should’ve foreseen it…but, then again, how could I? They are here just a couple of days, same as we. That’s why I’ve expected only minor encounters, hit-and-run tactics until we both gain some strength. But tonight they’ve attacked us almost with full force. They started shooting from cover on our Towers, so we exchanged fire. Our Coyotes went out of the base to meet them, infantry at their heels. Bushwhacked like rookies. They had Fire Assault units with them, lit the whole forest. Many of our boys died this night. The worst thing: there was a Zeus tank with them. How?
15th July, Sunday 08:45
We managed to defend ourselves last night. Barely. But at what cost? Most of our base had been destroyed, the rest is running on fumes right now. We have to move, now that they know where we are, and relocate to another position. One thought won’t let me be, though: how did they’ve managed to get that Zeus in the middle of this godforsaken rainforest? Do they have some secret supply route? And where?
17th July, Thursday 10:00
I got it! The river…the river is their supply route. We made our new camp close to the river, north from where their base must be. That gave me an idea: if we could somehow use it to our advantage, to cut their supply route and make it our own. Easier said than done, though. We don’t have supplies, our troops are decimated, and there’s no way for us to contact our HQ. Wonder what Guevara and Santucho would do in my place?
17th July, Thursday 23:15
This could be our way out. We heard that there are some locals willing to join our cause. Even better, the rumors mention an old transmitter station in their village. We’ll use it to call HQ and they’ll send us reinforcements via the river. There’s only one problem with this perfect plan: if we want to meet them, we first have to go through enemy territory. That kid from Rifleman recon unit volunteered – wonder why I am not surprised? Well, who am I to stand in the way of future heroes? Godspeed, kid. I’m counting on you!
20th July, Friday 14:30
Payback time. As expected, the kid did his thing. We got what we needed: manpower, Caymans, Alligator ships, even a couple of Barracuda submarines – thankfully the river was deep enough. The Confederation never knew what hit them. They didn’t expect us to attack them from the river, so we did just that. We torpedoed their Shipyard and all their shiny Delta and Viking ships. I have to admit, it was a real pleasure to see them burn. On the other side, in a coordinated attack, the rest of our troops attacked their base from the rear. At one moment we thought that their Bunkers would stop them, but they’ve managed to pull it off. They had a couple of Zeus units left, even a few Torrent launch rocket systems which could undo everything we did. Thankfully, they were no match for the concentrated fire of our ships. Their Headquarters were the last building to fall, and after that, it was all over. Well, almost. We found the kid among the casualties…I guess he never went to fix his armor. He was a real war hero if I ever knew one. No time for mourning, though. The time for tears will come later. We gotta win this war first.
There you have it – a couple of pages torn from the bloody and weatherworn war journal of Santiago Zhukov, a great hero of the Resistance. A bit dramatized, of course, just for the fun of it, but all units mentioned here, as well as most situations and events, exist in the game and are, of course, based on our collective experience of the Art of War 3 game. The point is, the phenomenal Art of War 3 offers many more similar and even more exciting combat scenarios such as this. Of course, the game is much more fast-paced and turbulent than even this war journal extract might lead you to believe. If you’re playing a single-player campaign, the expertly written screenplay will confront you with similar situations, while, of course, the multiplayer experience is in a league of its own, and will school you in the ways of real war command. No matter whether you prefer Confederation or Resistance, the Art of War 3 commander constantly has to make some tough choices and always has be on top of his game if he wants to live to see another mission. Be sure to try Art of War 3, because that’s the RTS experience unlike any other, and pretty soon you’ll have a few combat stories of your own to share, worthy of the war journal.