No Man's Land - PC

Real Time Strategy games have pretty much exhausted the World War II genre, so it is nice that CDV's No Man's Land turning to the fields of America as it was being colonised rather than the plains of Europe circa 1942.

For the new adventure at hand you get to play one of six cultures; Spanish, English, forest and prairie Native Americans, patriots, and settlers all with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The Native Americans for example don't have the ability to create bases, however are therefore gifted with the ability to constantly move around the battlefield. Spanish on the other hand have a superior naval force and so in the levels that involve the Caribbean are at an advantage over when they play in the Wild West.

All cultures have hero characters that possess special skills and abilities such as snipers and assassins and using this to your advantage can win you the game on more than one occasion.

It's not all a on- sided affair and as with everything heroes can be countered by hiring bounty hunters to source them out. So you've got heroes and bounty hunters playing it out amongst themselves. “That's not so bad” I hear you cry. Well this is where it gets even more interesting. For an enemy can bribe the bounty hunter and turn them back on the original hirer. As you can imagine this soon gets expensive and this vicious circle continues until someone runs out of cash. The worst part is, is that not only do you lose your hero character, but a pot load of cash too boot.

The landscape itself is played over three campaigns over 300 years, from the discovery of America through to the land rush of the Wild West. And the three campaigns offer a good mix of water and land missions.

Graphics are akin to CDV's other titles such as the Sudden Strike range or American Conquest, and have plenty of animation and eye candy to keep you entertained. Gameplay itself is similar to the Rise of Nations/Age of Empires approach and you have to manage population, harvesting and armouries if you are to win through in the end.

While the single player will certainly keep you in of an evening, it's the multiplayer where this game seems to excel. The main note of worthiness is the introduction of a number of non-standard multiplayer scenarios other than the usual dearth of “deathmatch” and “capture the flag”. No Man's Land offers scenarios such as “ defend/destroy railroad" and the "railroad building race". The first as the title suggests involves you defending or destroying a railroad that transverses the map. The second is a race to build first railroad across the map. Sounds easy, until you realise that you've not only got to build the railroad, but defend it from other players at the same time. And believe us when we say that that railroad can get mighty long.

Verdict

RTS games always seem to have a hard time differentiating themselves from each other. Normally is the same game just with a different setting. Like Romans or Greeks. No Man's Land however manages to bring something new to the genre, which is well welcomed. Everything seems to fit into place making this overall a very addictive game. Whether you like the nomadic notions of the native Americans or the Military force of the English there seems to be always a challenge.


>