World War III – Black Gold

7.4 Overall Score
Gameplay: 7/10
Sounds: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10

Well-balanced units | Great replayability

Dated graphics | Lacked polish

World War III – Black Gold is a great real-time strategy game that will take you to the future. The ongoing political crisis is leading to world-wide turmoil. A secret conference of the UN Central Geological Commission reveals that world-wide oil reserves will be depleted within ten years. Even the most highly industrialized countries cannot switch their economies fast enough. Without alternative energy sources, mass protests erupt and the Great Powers declare World War III.

World War III: Black Gold forces you to take into consideration real-world applications like ammunition, time of day, and tactical weaponry. If you enjoy challenging artificial intelligence and minimal resource management, then this is the game for you.

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This game blurs the distinction between sides and you’ll have access to different tactics no matter which side you’re playing. The US, Russia, and Iraq each use tanks and helicopters as their core units. However, the Russians use chemical weapons that kill enemy crews. They are also skilled at field repairs so the get regenerating vehicles. The Iraqis can camouflage their units for stealthy ambushes so they get truck bombs and SCUD missile launchers. The United States gets long-range mortars and structures that can call in powerful air strikes.

The beauty of World War III – Black Gold is that it forces you to make decisions that significantly impact how the game plays out. The amount of gold you accumulate, along with other factors in the game, will affect whether you win or lose. It is not the only deciding factor, like it is in many RTS games.

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The games only resource is oil, and rightly so. You build a pump on an oil well and the money starts rolling in. Many characteristics have been streamlined in this game. For instance, there is no naval combat even though some vehicles are amphibious. Units can still be customized with various weapons and equipment but the tech trees have been slimmed down a bit. There is a lot less busy-work with base building. A simplified power system exists in which you have to build one power generator for every two buildings. The end result is a much more accessible game with a tighter focus.

You can spend more time in this game with the gratifying business of managing units. You can choose between basic and advanced menus, depending on how much fine control you want over unit behaviors. One great shortcut is based on the fact that you can assign units to a control group before they are built.

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World War III – Black Gold utilizes maps that are built on an obvious grid system. The excellent use of its 3D engine makes base building and formations easy to manage. It’s always clear what fits and where. The terrain and structures don’t obscure the units and the camera is flexible enough to let you see the action from different angles.

There are different game modes for beginners and experts alike. World War III: Black Gold also offers a challenging multiplayer mode so your friends can join in on the action. This game is based on actual armies, actual weapons, and actual politics. It is a must have for anyone that enjoys great graphics and real-time strategy based games.

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