The premise of the game is to play on Korean War, and for conflict between Western bloc and Eastern bloc on East Asia. The primary addition of this release is naval warfare, instead of just air and land battle that has been covered in previous series. This release will also (realistically) adds new units to all nations, as years shift to 1990 era. Like in previous series, Wargame series focus on "combined-arms" approach, where tactics and strategies are required, as just simply roll out your best tanks will only see them turned into scraps in a space of few minutes. Like in Wargame series, there are no base building, the only building you would have is the FOB (Forward Operating Base).
Before the battle, you are given option to compose a "deck" of units. Each unit have limitations and advantages. For example, you could bring out newest US armor, the US M1A2 Abrams, but you could only field 2 of them in the battle, and it costs a lot. Or you could bring out M8 AGS tank, it is weaker than Abrams, but you could field more of them, and is more cheaper. You could also set the focus and the theme of your deck. You could focus your deck on Soviet Union units, where you could only field Soviet Union units but be able to field prototype Soviet Union units. You could also focus on the type of your deck. For example, you could focus your deck theme on "Airborne", where you get bonus of deployment to helicopters and aircrafts, but may not be able to field some type of units.
The battles are fought in standard RTS mode. The game uses "true line-of-sight" where trees and buildings could block your vision and your firing solution, creating tactics to hide in the forest, hide in urban areas, etc. Because of this feature, scouting before advancing is really important, so that your tanks did not run into enemy soldiers with anti-tank weapons, or small vehicles with anti-tank missiles. As usual, tanks are the king of open field battles, where their guns and armours could be really beneficial. In the urban areas, it is the areas where infantry and special forces, like SPESTNAZ and Green Beret shine. Aircrafts are fast, but can be shot down by SAMs if they are not careful. Some aircrafts have better counter-measures than the others, allowing greater risk to be taken. On the other hand, careless SAM, who kept their radar on at all times, will also falls prey to SEAD (Suppresion of Enemy Aircraft Defenses) aircrafts, who uses the radar electromagnetic pulse to target the SAM system.
Important gameplay features and observations:Complex Games
As outlined above, tactics, mixed arms approach, and fluid tactics are required. There are no units that are truly superior, each unit have weakness that could be exploited. Even in some circumstances, units that usually can't defeat other units could do that. Helicopters could wreak havoc on tanks that are open terrain, but if the helicopter gets close to a tank without detecting the tank, the machine guns on tank could do shot down a helicopter.Lots of Units
This is quite clear. Each nation is unique, each faction is unique. For example, as historically accurate, the Scandinavian nation don't possess much armor, but possess a lot of mechanized units. US and Soviet Union, as superpowers, have extensive choice of units. The Soviets, as their armor tactic, is focusing on superior armor and ability of their armor to destroy other armor, hence a lot of Soviet units and tanks could fire anti tank missiles. On the other hand, focus their armor strategies on mobility, thus US tanks have better stabilizers to better fire on the move. Soviet choppers are focusing on gunship choppers like the Hind that can mete out huge punishment and took a lot of damage without failing. The US choppers on the other hand focus on mobility, optics, and more accurate AT missile. Each nation have unique units, each nation have different tactics.Naval Warfare
The naval warfare, on the other hand, have some limitation on units. All naval units on this game is not tied into a particular nation. For example, the US could use a Kongo-class ship, which is obviously not a US ship but a Japanese ship. In some maps, there could be naval and land-air warfare, but there are some exclusive maps that only allows naval and air units. Naval battles are fought with anti-ship missiles, that could be launched by smaller crafts, helicopters, ships, and aircrafts. Interestingly, bigger ships have CIWS to stop missile, thus modern ships that have modern CIWS like Russian ships need to be overwhelmed with missiles.
There is nothing special in the multiplayer. I find it interesting, you could play in 10v10 map. There are people who despises newbies, though they are usual but I find them in bigger numbers in this game. Though honestly, most of the "newbie-haters" hates newbies because newbies sometimes don't want to listen. Most of the newbies mistake in this game are using too much artilleries, consuming a lot of team supplies (it is limited) and uses aircrafts without thinking.
Look and Feel
The unit looks great, sound great. The maps theme of South Korean and East Asia are great, but we do need maps that represent Europe, as in previous games. The units are richly detailed, a very distinctive. You could find out subtle differences in M11P and M1A1 Abrams. Same tanks, different series. If you compare distinctively different units, like T-90 to T-55, you would see clear differences.
A great game that should be played for all RTS lovers.