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War Rock

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: K2 Network
Developer: Dream Execution
Release Date: Feb. 8, 2007


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PC Review - 'War Rock'

by Tim McCullough on April 28, 2007 @ 12:07 a.m. PDT

War Rock, developed by Dream Execution, is an online FPS game in the style of EA's Battlefield 2, allowing you to experience online battlefields on a large scale, supporing vechicles for land, sea and air.

Genre: Online First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Elephant Entertainment
Developer: Dream Execution
Release Date: February 7, 2007

Let's see ... I would like one of those 9mm Glocks, some of those red smoke grenades, one of those new anti-air Stingers, a new matte black Famas ... hmm ... and I'll take the rest on a gift certificate.

In War Rock, you will either play as a member of the Derbaran Army or as a rebel in the National Independence Union. A civil war has begun, and it is up to you and your fellow combatants to turn the "tide of war" in your favor. You will engage the enemy online with up to 32 players on 20 different maps, and you may be tasked with taking a control point or perhaps eliminating the enemy; you may even be required to perform a bit of demolition work. At times, you may be flying air support in a Black Hawk helicopter or strafing from an F-15 Eagle Jet, cruising in a tank or just pounding the ground with your standard-issue black boots. Your efforts will not go unrewarded, as you will receive money (Dinar) to lease new weapons, equipment and power-ups.

As your experience increases, you will gradually climb the ranks from private all the way up to general, and along the way, you'll be able to lease some of the more advanced weapons offered through the virtual store. The retail version of War Rock comes with a 30-page manual, a tactical map in flip-card format of the 20 base maps, game CD and a novelty pair of dog tags to hang around your neck for that truly tactile experience.

When you start a new session of War Rock after setting up an account, you will need to select a game channel based on what type of combat you are most interested in playing. The three channels are Close Quarters Combat, Urban Ops, or Battle Group. Close Quarters, as the name implies, uses small maps and promotes face-to-face combat. The Urban Ops channel, which includes medium-sized maps, incorporates a combination of face-to-face encounters and medium-distance combat using a variety of vehicles, rockets and sniper rifles. The Battle Group channel is made up of the largest maps and focuses on land and air engagements utilizing an assortment of land and air vehicles.

Once you have decided on the type of gameplay, you can select a server based on geographical location and speed. With a regional server selected, you are now able to choose from a list of available games or just press the quick play button to have one selected for you. Once you are in-game, you will need to decide which branch of service you wish to pursue. Presently, you can choose from five different specializations: Engineer, who repairs and maintains vehicles; Medic, who provides medical assistance to wounded soldiers; Sniper, who supplies long-distance cover and elimination; Assault, who are close-combat specialists; and Heavy Trooper, who give anti-tank and -air support. Depending on the type of game you are playing and whether or not you are allowed to respawn, games may be either fast-paced or more tactical in nature.

Of course, it would be difficult to not compare War Rock to Electronic Art's Battlefield 2, which is generally accepted as having set the standard for large online multiplayer combat. BF2 is considered to be the first title to successfully integrate first-person air, sea and ground combat into a single game. You will discover that both games offer similar combat classes, vehicles, persistent ranking and gameplay objectives. The key differences are the equipment leasing model included in War Rock, which is the revenue-generating mechanism for the company, and the lack of end-user servers. (All War Rock servers are owned and operated by the K2 Network.) Additionally, some game modes support respawning while others do not, and War Rock has several more maps on which to play. In general, I found War Rock to be well-balanced game, which comes as no surprise, considering that the title was in an open-beta state for almost a year. Although there really is very little that is new to War Rock in comparison to other competitive titles, it is still a highly addictive online game and difficult to walk away from.

Although you can download and play War Rock for free and climb through the ranks like everybody else, you will realize a significant advantage if you have a paid premium account. Besides having improved customer support and priority access to servers, premium account holders receive virtual money (Dinar) to lease weapons, field equipment, and power-ups. Costs associated with this task vary depending on the length of your lease. Additionally, some weapons will not be available to you until you have advanced in rank. In what is called the War Rock PX, you also have the ability to lease additional weapons slots for your soldier. Premium subscribers also receive experience bonuses which will help decrease the amount of time needed to advance through the ranks.

The graphics in War Rock are certainly nothing to write home about. They are not poor in quality, but there are quite a few low-polygon models used in the game. You do have the ability to make a large number of graphics adjustments to carefully balance performance versus quality, depending on your level of hardware sophistication. The sound effects and music used in War Rock are fairly convincing without being too overpowering, and the action music soundtrack fits the general mood and pace of gameplay.

There are no single-player campaigns or other similar modes in War Rock. The closest thing you will find to single-player activity is a training/solo mode, which allows you to test out your control assignments and new equipment leases. Unfortunately, this training mode requires you to be logged onto your account, and it does not include any A.I. soldiers to use as target practice. If you wanted to try War Rock on a LAN, you will be disappointed to learn that only the client software is being distributed at this time, so you'll only be able to play if you are logged in to the K2 Gaming Network.

During my participation in both the beta and review coverage of the retail package, I experienced several crashes to the desktop and short periods of lag during gameplay. These problems were not consistent between games and failed to disrupt my gaming to the point of causing frustration. There is a whole list of factors which can cause problems with online gaming, so I would recommend again that you consider taking the opportunity to try out the free version of War Rock prior to investing in a premium account to make sure you have a stable connection to their game servers.

You will find that War Rock doesn't really bring anything new to either the online or first-person shooter experience. If you enjoy playing Battlefield 2 and would like to experience a more frequently changing and updated gaming experience, War Rock is definitely worth trying. Although you can download and enjoy War Rock for free, it is to your advantage to become a premium subscriber if you find yourself spending a large amount of time playing and have a solid connection to their servers.

Score: 8.0/10

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