Recently, my editor asked me to check out this game called Wargame: Red Dragon. He let me know that it was a RTS game and then basically set me free with it. I’ve played most of the Command & Conquer games and have experience with other RTS games. Needles to say, I felt like I could handle this game fairly easily. I was wrong.
Wargame: Red Dragon isn’t for the faint of heart. The game features a huge amount of units to select from in battle. Understanding and remembering all of this data can be a challenge. I was cocky going into the game and figured I’d jump straight into the campaign. This was a mistake.
Wargame: Red Dragon doesn’t believe in easing players into the game. Instead, it’s more than happy to pound their faces in with unforgivable AI and uphill battles. After getting my dignity handed to me a few times, I decided I should take a look through the game’s tutorial to get a better idea of how to play.
The tutorial in Wargame: Red Dragon is lacking to say the least. There isn’t an in-game tutorial that guides players through the basics of the game. What players will find is section after section of ridiculous amounts of text. Determined to understand how to play the game, I read the whole tutorial. This took me over an hour to do. Unfortunately, the tutorial isn’t actually filled with information on how to play the game. Instead, it’s filled with very specific information regarding most of the units in the game.
Realizing that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with Wargame: Red Dragon’s tutorial, I decided to jump into a few skirmish matches to find out how to play the hard way. The learning curve for this game is like a 90 degree angle. Players who don’t have a history with this series are going to have a hard time getting into it as they are beaten senseless in record times by ruthless AI.
However, after getting the hang of Wargame: Red Dragon, I found it to be a very fun experience, but it took way too long to get to this point. As I’ve mentioned, the game is filled with minute details that strategy and military enthusiasts will love.
Battles in Wargame: Red Dragon are a huge endeavor. Campaign battles have players moving around and capturing different areas from enemies. Each time an area is contested, players have the option of letting the AI fight for them or jumping in to command the troops. Each of these “small” skirmishes can take up to 20 minutes. This can cause a single battle in a campaign to take several hours. The time that goes into a single battle can be daunting and could turn many people away from the game.
From my experience with Wargame: Red Dragon, it has a small, but very dedicated online community. This means that it isn’t very hard to find someone to play against. On the other hand, it also means that most players have much more experience than you and the battles will likely be one-sided. This is my punishment for jumping into a game series with the latest installment.
A major change that came to the series in Wargame: Red Dragon is the addition of naval combat. Seeing as how I’ve never played any of the previous games in the series, it’s hard for me to weigh in on what kind of changes this has brought to the game. However, I will say that the naval combat felt like an afterthought and that it only plays a minor part in the game.
Wargame: Red Dragon puts players in the roles of different military commanders from several different wars. These stories are alright, but they get overshadowed and are easily forgotten in the hours upon hours of RTS combat.
Graphics in Wargame: Red Dragon are great. Much like every other aspect of the game, they are filled with details. Special attention is paid to units, such as tanks and planes, and the environments have a fair amount of detail as well.
I couldn’t find any complaints in Wargame: Red Dragon’s audio. The game had nice background music that fit in well with the battle and menu screens. The sound effects were also very well done. Maybe a military enthusiast will notice some incorrect sounds here or there, but most players won’t notice.
Overall, I like Wargame: Red Dragon. However, the game is very hard to get into due to its ruthless AI, lacking tutorials and steep learning curve. This game is only meant for the truly dedicated RTS fans and no one else. It also has very nice graphics and audio which are a nice treat for those who slug through the learning process to be able to start enjoying the game on the other side.
Wargame: Red Dragon battles its way to 3.5 GiN Gems out of 5!