Warzone 2100 2.3.8 Review

fair
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Warzone 2100 is an open source real time strategy game, with a long history. There aren't many RTS games on the Linux platform and you might think that any title would fill this void. Unfortunately, just because this type of games are few and far between, it's not a guaranty that any of them will be any good, as will see with this rendition of Warzone.

The game has quite a history and it’s probably a good example of what big publishing companies should do with their games. Warzone was initially launched in 1999 by Pumpkin Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. Unfortunately for Eidos, the game came in a rather busy window of strategy games and it wasn’t all that interesting at the time, although it was considered one of the best strategy games to be launched on the Playstation 2.

In 2004, Eidos decided to release the source code and most of the related data for free, under GNU, and a few years later, in 2008, they also released the soundtrack and the cinematic movies.

Installation

We have installed Warzone 2100 right from Ubuntu Software Center because it offers the latest version. Interesting enough, this title is one of the highest rated games in USC, but this is because of the lack of choice.

Players can also install Warzone 2100 from a source package if they have other distros that don’t offer a more simple way of installing. Developers have provided all the necessary dependencies in the source package, so it should be rather easy to configure and install the game from scratch.

Story

Like most games launched over a decade ago, Warzone 2100 had a story, albeit not a very interesting one. A military network of satellites nuke the entire planet, as a result of a insidious conspiracy. Players get to solve the mystery by the end of the game, but unfortunately the free version doesn’t come with the cinematic videos included (they can be obtained separately from the official website).

After the dust settles down, a few survivors are left. They organize into a group called The Project. The player gets to control one of the teams The Project sent to gather technology. The story complicates a little, but in the end it involves a rogue AI and a fight for the survival of the human race.

Gameplay

Warzone 2100 is a strategy game that follows the standard recipe for this type of games. Players start from a base and begin building slowly a force capable of defeating the forces present on the map, whether it’s scavengers or the enemy AI.

The entire economy is still based on oil. Players always start by controlling an oil rig and by building a power generator, but the entire system is a little loose, as players can build lots of vehicles, right from the start. Every building runs on energy provided by the power generators and it’s not hard to maintain a high power ratio. Things only change significantly in multiplayer, where the other player is not a simple AI with an algorithm to follow.

The core and the appeal of Warzone 2100 is the research system. The artifacts found by players throughout the game can be researched and new technology can be unlocked, like better armor and better weapons. There’s also a simplified system to build units, with three main ingredients: chassis, weapons and armor.

Unfortunately there isn’t a research tree for players to view, so every new artifact discovered is like a present from Santa. You don’t really know what to expect and most people will hope to get a machine gun.

The strategy part is also quite interesting, as units are able to use the terrain to gain advantage in battles. A big chunk of the game revolves around building artillery units. We can even say that in most maps, especially in multiplayer, getting the first units of artillery is crucial, as every other player will rush to build them.

The games also supports multiplayer mode, in a rather simplistic fashion. Players have access to a lobby (which has only a few users present at any given time) and can host games.

There is also a skirmish mode available and even a challenge mode, for the ones who get bored to beat the AI every single time.

Warzone 2100 is not the best looking game out there. It’s built on 1999 technology and unless you haven’t played anything else in the last 10 years, you might be satisfied with its feel and looks. Otherwise is a bland game, with low textures and poor effects. This is somewhat balanced out by the size of the game (keep in mind there are no CG movies) which maxes out at almost 60 MB.

Conclusion

Warzone 2100 is a simple strategy game that makes no claims. It’s not striving to be the best with gameplay, graphics or any other feature. It feels more like a lack of choice. It’s the kind of game you would play when nothing else runs on your machine or when you have already exhausted all the interesting games that could entertain a player in a Linux distribution.

user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 2
pricing / value 5


final rating 2
Editor's review
fair
 
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