|Act of War: High Treason|
On the eve of the U.S Presidential election, terror strikes again in the worst possible way - as both candidates are attacked, the sitting president is assassinated. As America tumbles into turmoil, confusion and chaos, only one man can save the nation from a threat that's growing more frightening by the day. In this expansion pack we follow major Jason Richter and his Task Force Talon on a desparate race against time to unravel a gigantic plot to cripple the world's only super-power, with connections back to the Consortium, the shadowy organization we got to know in Direct Action. Aside from theaters of war ranging from New York and Manhattan to Cuba, Mexico and Florida, in this installment we also take the fight to the murky waters inbetween - as we're introduced to modern naval combat in the same ultra-realistic style as we did on land in Direct Action.
While we get to follow the story and characters on new missions in this Expansion Pack, the main focus is on naval combat - Act of War will be the first RTS game ever to feature realistic, user-friendly modern naval combat! With over fifteen different naval ships, helicopters, submarines and amphibious craft and the latest in contemporary naval hardware - such as sonar buoys, homing torpedoes, Harpoon missiles and anti-missile-missiles - this new feature adds a whole new level to the game. In addition, the regular gameplay is also expanded and improved by a multitude of new features, units and upgrades. Most important among the new units are the mercenaries, which any player can hire at any time and deploy anywhere on the map - allowing for a completely different type of gameplay! Each of the three sides also have new units and upgrades, such as GUOS mines for the Task Force Talon, TOW Bradleys for the U.S. Army and TU-26 Backfire bombers for the Consortium.
With the first expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Act of War: Direct Action, Eugen Systems and Atari are introducing a massive amount of new features and content to enhance and extend the overall experience.
The new naval combat in provides a fully-fledged modern naval RTS within Act of War. With over a dozen new units designed specifically for naval warfare - from Tarawa class carriers, Typhoon submarines and SH-60 Seahawk anti-sub helicopters, to Harrier attack aircraft and Zubr class amphibious assault hovercraft - this feature alone promises to make this expansion pack one of the most interesting new RTS offerings in 2006. To support the naval combat feature, Eugen Systems have developed brand new real-time physics technology to simulate waves and the heave of the ships, ballistics code for ASROC's, Tomahawks, Harpoons and other maritime weaponry, and normal mapping and deep parallax water surfaces for the waves.
Instead of introducing a fourth faction, Eugen Systems have introduced a different kind of feature which promises to mix things up considerably during different phases of the game - mercenary units. The concept is simple: these are units for hire. Only one player at a time can hire each mercenary unit, and to hire a mercenary team you need to pay a hefty insurance policy. If the mercenaries are injured or even killed, you won't get a full refund of your insurance deposit at the end of the contract. The nine mercenary units range from close assault troops with Benelli shotguns, to Roland SAM systems, SU-25 Froogfoot CAS aircraft, and even F-117 stealth bombers that can be called into any part of the map. New Units and Upgrades
For extra variation in the basic game each of the three factions also receives 2-3 new units and as many new upgrades; in some cases they will cover previous holes in the tech tree, in others just reinforce the strength of each side or introduce a new use for existing units and upgrades. Examples are Stinger infantry and Kiowa recon helicopters for the U.S. Army, SCUD launchers and Hind AT-6 Spiral missiles for the Consortium, and GUOS mine upgrades and experimental BLU-144 bombs for the Joint Strike Fighters of the Task Force Talon.
The expansion brings significantly improved graphics and AI to Act of War along with major enhancements to the online gameplay, and also for the single-player Engagement (skirmish) and Operation (campaign) modes.
New Single Player Campaign
The new campaign features the characters from the original game, plus a number of new ones. In classic techno-thriller manner, a group of super-villains have concocted a devious world-threatening scheme which the player must foil. At the start of the game we find ourselves on the eve of U.S. Presidential elections when simultaneous terrorist attacks hit both candidates. Clues point to corrupt elements within the U.S. military and on to the Consortium, and as the story unfolds with one incredible plot-twist after the other, we slowly lose any connection to the real world - as in the best examples of the techno-thriller genre.
Aside from that fact that the new single player game uses the new units (naval and mercenary) and some amazing new real-world locations (including a battle of the rooftops of Manhattan), new A.I. takes the game up a level (more below) and introduces a new increased difficulty level. Whereas the original game had standard scripted A.I., this expansion pack relies on a "real" A.I. in the single-player campaign.
New Multiplayer mode and options
Eugen Systems have listened closely to feedback from fans of the original game and as a result have increased the number of multiplayer game customization options in this Expansion Pack on a massive scale.
There are now options for simple things like game speed and map wealth, but also more interesting options such as "X minutes no rush", superweapons on/off, POWs on/off, resource harvesting speed, unit lethality (increase if you want a shorter game; decrease if you want a game where you're required to use specialized units for all situations). They've also introduced two brand new game modes, a "Marine One Down" mode where the POTUS is basically eliminated to filling the role of a football that has to be captured and carried across the battlefield, and "SCUD Launcher" where the opposing sides will need to locate and capture a SCUD launcher that will only re-arm once every 3-5 minutes. Improved A.I.
The skirmish A.I. has had a massive overhaul with a wealth of enhancements made. The improvements include: the A.I. now will adapt its production queue to what the player attacks him with; it will use units and upgrades that it apparently didn't in the original game; it will sell buildings if it runs out of money; it is able to analyze terrain features and adapt its tactic accordingly; and much, much more. Improved Visuals
Act of War: Direct Action was the first RTS to use a number of advanced graphical features - high precision shadow maps, reflection mapping, bump mapping, specular mapping, soft lighting, environmental volumentric occlusion, and advanced programmable pixel shaders 2.0 - on top of having unprecedented poly count and texture resolution for an RTS game. Even nine months after release it's the most advanced RTS engine available, and Eugen Systems are raising the bar another notch with this expansion pack.
New advertised visual features include post-treatment bloom effects, per-pixel and per-vertex shadow mapping, per-pixel lighting with multiple light and gloss mapping, volumetric lighting and support for SM (shader model) 1, 2 and 3 shaders.
* Video cards that do not support shaders, such as GeForce 4 MX or Intel Extreme Graphics Family, are not supported.
New Units and Upgrades