War Commander on Facebook: We go hands-on with the closed beta [Video]

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Back in July, we told you about Kixeye's newest project: War Commander on Facebook. While the game was supposed to launch in full in August, things have apparently fallen behind and the game has just launched into closed beta. Don't fret though friends, as we've gained access to give you a run-down of what to expect from this "hardcore" RTS (real-time strategy) social game.

The game starts with you reclaiming your base, which was taken over by an insurgence group. You're immediately met with adult content in the way of language and violence, as you storm your former base to reclaim it while sending plenty of troops to their graves. This isn't a case where bloodshed is a concern, though, as human soldiers are incredibly tiny, and simply vanish when killed, rather than staying on screen. UPDATE: This has now been changed; soldiers do remain on screen, as their bodies lay in a pool of blood. They are still incredibly small, however, so the realism in this "gore" isn't overwhelming.

Once you've reclaimed your base, you'll begin the process of adding defensive units, and upgrading your resource production buildings to ensure that you can fight off future attacks. In this, War Commander takes on elements of a city-builder (to give it a comparison), as you'll build new resource buildings in your base or will upgrade your current structures to produce more oil or metal. Your starting capacity for these resources is rather low, so you'll use small amounts of resources to build storage buildings, increasing your cap, or can spend these resources to upgrade their production per hour/day.

There's much more to be said about the home base of course, including the fact that you'll have a Power Plant that will determine how effective most of your other buildings are in their work. For instance, if you are using more power than you're generating, your defensive turrets will lose some of their defensive capabilities (that is, instead of operating at 100%, they may only operate at half power, leaving your base weakened). This will ultimately cause you to frequently upgrade your Power Plant to produce more power, as completing the game's many initial missions will likely see you placed in this position before you even reach Level 5.

Speaking of upgrades, almost everything has them, from the storage buildings to the troops themselves. You'll use resources to unlock new types of troops, and then research upgrades for these troops so that they'll do considerably more damage, for example.

War Commander on Facebook: We go hands-on with the closed beta [Video]
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Of course, building and micro-managing your base is one thing, but you'll also frequently be asked to put your new troops and resources to work by attacking enemy bases. This is a two-sided process, allowing you to attack computer-controlled bases or those of your friends (or even strangers). Bases have levels, which give you an idea as to their expected strength, and you can scout out each base before actually attacking to see if you have what it takes.

Unfortunately, the process of attacking is, for the most part, passive, as you'll visit a base, click on the land to place your chosen troops on the battlefield and will then watch them go about their business, while you simply control your own view of the field. You can actively click on troops and tell them where to go or who to attack, but they're smart enough to do the job without any interference from you. While watching buildings (and troops alike) blow up is pretty cool, the real reason for attacking enemies will be to loot their buildings. After you've killed all enemy troops, you can destroy their entire bases, giving you the metal and oil spoils once you've finished them off.

Adding to the social elements of the game is an in-game chat feature, which will let you chat with both friends and strangers alike. You also have the ability to simply visit your friends' bases to see how far they've progressed (and take notes for how you can improve your own base to match).

When all of the dust settles, does War Commander, with its admittedly intuitive gameplay, have what it takes to draw in a hardcore gaming crowd, even when the true RTS elements in battle can be handled automatically by the computer? Take a look at our hands-on time with the game in our video below for more on what to expect from the game, and then you tell us what you think.


So, what do you think of War Commander? Are you excited to get your hands on this violent, yet accessible RTS on Facebook, or do you like your micro-management served in larger, deeper packages through full download games? Sound off in the comments.
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