Conflict: Global Terror First Impressions

The Conflict series turns to battling global terror--but not the kind of global terror you're thinking about--in the upcoming fourth game in the series.

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After battling through Desert Storms I and II, as well as Vietnam, the Conflict series is now tackling global terror in the appropriately named upcoming game Conflict: Global Terror. But Conflict: Global Terror isn't just the fourth game in the franchise; it also represents the first major overhaul to the series since its inception. We got our first look at Conflict: Global Terror and we can report that there's certainly a lot of new stuff to talk about in the game, which is shipping for the PS2, Xbox, and PC later this year.

The battle against global terror will send your elite team all over the world.
The battle against global terror will send your elite team all over the world.

Conflict: Global Terror will mark a reunion of sorts for fans of the series, as the original characters from the first Conflict: Desert Storm game return to battle a global terrorist organization. However, it's not the terrorist organization that you're probably thinking of. The enemy in Conflict: Global Terror isn't a religious fundamentalist movement, but rather a neo-Nazi, white supremacist group that is up to something dastardly--and it's up to you and your team to stop them. Meanwhile, you've got a new addition to your team: one female squad member.

One of the bright sides about waging the global war is that it's global, meaning that it can take place all over the world. So Conflict: Global Terror won't be restricted to just one setting like its predecessors were. After all, one of the complaints about the Desert Storm games was that they all looked the same, because they all took place in the desert, but then again, what else can you really do with a name like Desert Storm? Global Terror has the luxury of different settings, and during a demonstration of the game we saw an industrial area somewhere in Russia, a snowy outdoor level, as well as a jungle/forestlike level. Rest assured that there will be plenty of scenic variety and a wide range of environments to see.

The big news on the visual front is that Conflict: Global Terror sports an entirely rebuilt engine, which is obvious the moment the game first loads up. The PS2 version of the game simply looks a lot better than previous Conflict games on the system, and there's a lot more detail, in terms of both polygons and textures, than before. That's partly because the game introduces a new way of processing textures on the PS2, allowing textures to remain relatively sharp, even when viewed up close. The new engine also seems capable of handling more polygons than before, which means that your troopers are fleshed out better. In fact, there are more polygons in each character's backpack than there were total polygons in the original Conflict: Desert Storm character models. (Xbox owners should know that the Xbox version of the game also looks fairly good, but since earlier Conflict games already looked good on that platform, their difference isn't as drastic as it is on the PS2.) The environments are also more detailed and more interactive. For example, you can now mantle atop, or climb onto, obstacles, which were treated as noninteractive objects in previous games in the series.

Gameplay is also getting a big upgrade in Conflict: Global Terror. Enemies will react in a smarter way and better than before, and they'll shoot from cover, shift positions, and fire while pulling back. You can still take command of any member of the squad, or you can issue commands to the team. New actions include vaulting over objects, climbing through windows, rappelling from helicopters, and more.

The rebuilt graphics engine allows a lot more detail than before, which is good news for the series.
The rebuilt graphics engine allows a lot more detail than before, which is good news for the series.

Conflict: Global Terror will try to be much more user-friendly, especially for newcomers to the franchise. For example, the controls for the earlier Conflict games could be confusing, especially if you were trying to figure out how to easily switch to different weapons or give commands to your squadmates. Now when you need to issue orders, the game will display possible commands and then map those commands to the respective buttons. Or if you want to switch weapons, the game will display your weapon options. Veteran players can turn off these menus to help keep the screen clear, but it should be helpful to inexperienced players. The developers are also ditching the annoying auto-aim functionality that bugged players in earlier games and replacing it with a new and more realistic aim-assist system.

The good news on the multiplayer front is that Conflict: Global Terror will be the first game in the franchise to have online multiplayer support, so yes, this means both Xbox Live and PS2 online. Details, however, are still being kept secret for now. Meanwhile, the traditional offline multiplayer modes, such as split-screen multiplayer, will remain. With its new graphics engine and improved gameplay, Conflict: Global Terror looks like it has everything it needs to recharge and reinvigorate the franchise. The game should ship for the PS2, Xbox, and PC this October.

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