Following nearly ten years of highly regarded first-person shooter and stealth games, the techno-thriller Tom Clancy franchise deploys its first true strategy combat title. Set in the near future, EndWar puts players in command of high-tech tanks, helicopters, infantry, and other units, in combat across world-capital battlefields such as London, Paris, and Washington, D.C. Although many earlier Tom Clancy games are set within secret organizations and covert missions, the suitably titled EndWar takes place in the open, across the globe, in nothing less than World War III. In the year 2020, nuclear warfare in the Middle East has left Russia with most of the world's available fossil fuel -- and cash. The United States' threatens from above, with the strength of its space program, while Europe's technological and diplomatic superiority threaten from within. Each of these three factions is playable against the others in its own 30-plus mission campaign.
Also unlike most previous Tom Clancy games, EndWar is a widely cross-platform release, with different versions available for handhelds and PCs as well as the contemporary high-def consoles. The Xbox 360 version of EndWar is a real-time strategy game with state-of-the art features such as contextual targeting and large, true-3D combat areas where cover and line-of-sight can make all the difference between survival and defeat. The game's most remarkable innovation is its voice-command system. Players can direct their troops in battle almost completely by speaking orders their headsets or microphones while holding a trigger button. For views of the battlefield, players are limited to the perspectives of their units in the field, from which they can select by voice. A command ship offers an abstract city map and SitRep details for a broader look at the battle. All commands can also be made with conventional button presses as well. In addition to the three single-player campaigns, cooperative and competitive multiplayer games are available through Xbox Live, for as many as four-versus-four players in a match.
Units are upgradable with experience and carry over from mission to mission. Commanders are limited in the number of units they can control on a map by Command Points. Each unit on the map costs a number of points. Additional Command Points are rewarded for capturing command post uplinks. Captured posts provide other benefits as well, such as the ability to launch debilitating EMT blasts, or support from Clancy's familiar Ghost Recon soldiers. "EndWar" has a double meaning, as it also describes the last phase in a battle. When a winning side has captured more than half of the map objectives, the losing side gains access to a WMD -- each faction has a different ultimate weapon. Meant to give the losing player a final chance at victory, use of the WMD is not without a big drawback: if the losing side chooses to use its WMD, the winning side then gains access to its WMD as well.