Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps
Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps (DRvsAK) is another RTS, situated in World War II. This time we dive into the North-African battlefield. That means sand, lots of sand, sand as far as the eye can see. Is the game as drab as its environments or can DRvsAK turn into an unsuspected sleeper-hit?
The game has both a single- and multiplayer mode. Unfortunately that second mode has some serious flaws. The most aggravating fact is the severe lack of populated servers. When you find a crowded server at last, you have the choice between 3 game types; Deathmatch and Conquer (a.k.a. Capture The Flag) speak for themselves but the game also has a unique touch to it. “Tobruk to El Alamein” is an original and fun-filled mode. One player attacks while the other player(s) defend a town. If the attacker doesn’t succeed in eliminating one or more players within a set amount of time, the defenders receive reinforcements. When that happens, the attacker should be saying his prayers because most of the time he’ll get slaughtered by the enemy masses. It’s kind of everything or nothing for the attacker and that makes a match really exciting. Unfortunately every multiplayer match suffers from lag, even on the dullest moments. It is clear that the DRvsAK is promising but in its current state, you are better off with Warcraft 3 and C&C: Generals. Let’s hope the people at Monte Cristo bring us a patch soon to iron out the problems.
Luckily, the singleplayer variant of the game is well polished. It immediately caught my eye that the developers tried to include a background story. The two main characters Erich von Hartmann (the playable hero in the German campaign) and Gregory Sinclair (the allied hero) used to be best friends before the war but now they stand face-to-face. Boooooring, I know. During the campaigns the story doesn’t even matter much, so in my opinion they could have left the whole story-thing behind. Even talking to a demented granny is more interesting than DRvsAK’s storyline.
Before every mission you can compose your very own armies. You get a set number of “action points”, that you can spend on tanks, infantry, planes and special units. This is one of the best aspects of the game. Because units gain experience after every battle you can create armies with only well-trained elite-units that seriously whoop ass. The missions themselves contain a lot of diversity. You’ll have to search and destroy your enemies, defend allies in need or besiege towns.
Although the game tends to have a lack of innovative features, one revolutionary new concept has been introduced. Every vehicle has its crew and the more soldiers inside a vehicle, the better its stats. Unfortunately this neat gimmick is offset by the lack of another. Your units do not need to be resupplied. Indeed, unlimited ammo, just like Arnie and Sly Stallone in their movies :p This is a bit sad, because the game loses some depth because of it.
Graphically, I don’t have any comment. DRvsAK can certainly be compared to the aforementioned top games. All of the vehicles have their own unique colour and camouflage schemes and look very detailed. The environments look good, but they are quite desolate. No surprise, considering the setting :p Another minor flaw is the appearance of small graphic glitches but that’s not that bad really.
When it comes to audio the game also scores quite good. Every soldier yells and moans (no not that kind of moaning ) differently and vehicles sound as real as it gets. Too bad the soundtrack is a real nuisance. Just like in every other war game the music is again of that typical bombastic WWII kind. Irritating indeed…
To rap things up, Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps is an amusing, although not very original, game. The gameplay is interesting and the graphics are top-notch. The sory may be boring as hell, but the missions more then make up for it. For all of the gamers that are still looking for a WW2-RTS before the triple-A titles (Codename: Panzers, Wartime Command, Soldiers: Heroes of WW2) appear, Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps is as good as any.