Herocraft has recently released an RTS game called Art Of War 2. Originally developed by Gear Games, Herocraft ported it over and released it for Android user consumption. If you've ever played any PC RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games such as Command & Conquer then you already know what to expect with Art Of War 2. Will this feed your RTS fix? Let's find out..
Gameplay: There are a couple of options to chose from regarding gameplay. You can choose campaign mode which follows the storyline of the game and has you complete objectives or you can choose custom game mode where you can play any map you've already completed or any maps you've downloaded onto your phone.
As with any RTS game you have a bunch of buildings you can build and upgrade along with various units to recruit. Depending on your rank you can have more of any particular building (ex. Bunkers = 5 for your first rank, you get more as you get a higher rank). Interestingly enough, unlike most RTS games, Art of War 2 focuses on the actual building and combat and not resource farming so you don't have to worry about getting resources. Building is based on money you collect from killing the enemy as well as the amount of energy you have available. Don't have enough? Build another Generator.
Just like other RTS games for your PC or console, you can select multiple units at the same time by dragging your finger along the screen which creates a box around the units you want, then taking your finger off the screen keeps those selected units highlighted and it's just a matter of tapping the screen to send them to where you wish them to go. The gameplay is also dynamic which means it's always slightly different, even if you are playing the same stage twice.
Jumping to different sections of the map is done by selecting the mini map and as it opens up to a slightly large view, tapping it will changes the map to where you want to view. The only drawback I found was there was no easy way to just scroll a bit in any direction on the map using your finger and the screen. To do this you need to use your trackball which could cost you valuable seconds when under attack.
There is a huge help section within the game that goes over everything should you want to read up on the units, buildings, controls or anything else you may have questions about. If you've played an RTS game like Command & Conquer before you should have no problem picking this up and just jumping right into the mix.
Campaign and Custom Game modes
Ability to download new maps
Campaign mode has 7 missions
Large amount of buildings, units and tactics
Graphics and Sound: The graphics are done quite good with a lot of detail. They are 2D with a 3D view overhead like most RTS games are and everything is unique in it's look. The animation is good as well and in the midst of battle I didn't notice any lag at all with rendering the graphics. There are plenty of sound effects as well to keep you engaged in the gameplay, a lot of them unique to the units.
The one drawback with the overall graphics and resolution is the lack of support for Hi-res screens. While you can play this on your hi-res phone (nexus one, etc etc) you will have a small black area on the right. Does it take away from the gameplay? Not really but it does make some of the smaller troop units a bit hard to see at times.
Controls: The controls mostly revolve around tapping the screen and dragging your finger across it at times such as when you need to select multiple units. You can use the trackball for other things such as scrolling the map in any direction should you need to but for any long distance scrolling it is suggested to use the mini map and jump to it. The controls were responsive and there wasn't really any problems selecting what I needed even if it was a small soldier. You can of course do that using the trackball and pressing it when over a unit should you find it difficult to tap on it.
Overall: While Art of War 2 has a couple of drawbacks to it such as the resolution it supports (only a drawback for hi-res phone owners) and the lack of a quick finger map scroll it is still a solid title with a lot of replay value. It's polished, complete and presents a good game that will definitely cure any RTS craving someone may be having. You can also save your game at any point and pick up on it later so whether you go hardcore at it or just play it casually, you'll always have something to do and with the ability to download new maps, you can play this and always have new challenges presented.
I would love to see this game get multiplayer as well as get hi-res screen support but even without it, it's a fun game to play. Definitely one of the better RTS games available for Android phones. You can purchase this game through Herocraft's website only right now (at least from what I've found) for $4.99USD. Map packs for download should be available soon for purchase as well.
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