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Xmas Decision: Which Game?


Ruthless
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In my humble opinion the question of which game boils down to what you want to do. Tac-Ops is more Battalion, Company, and Platoon sized operations more of a tactical at the eyeball level. Where DA is more of a Corps,Division kinda game. Personally a snuffy like me wants to smell the kordite. So you have to ask yourself what appeals to YOU.

"What did you use in the walls, 220?

Ah 220, 221 whatever works."

Mr. Mom.

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I have both and with regreats I have to say that decisive action is not a very enjoyable game for me, although it looks better on paper (from the specs).

It has a steep learning curve and even going over that I found it pretty dull. In special I am disappointed about the terrain model, terrain modeling is by far not complex enough for my taste. I also question some of the models for combat values. If you look up threads on decisive action on the General Forumon this site you will see that several other people were feeling that way, too.

Other annoying things are a Word .doc manual (not PDF) and generally the game is pretty prone to "bad" Windows coding, I think it doesn't even run on my Windows 95 box when using the latest DA patch and I don't think any of my emulators run it on FreeBSD (or Linux), don't remember exactly right now. Add an annoying copy protection and install procedure.

Tacops is comparison is a run-anywhere, uncomplicated program which happily munches away whereever you put it.

Back to the DA/Tacops comparison, if the price tag was reversed it would be more apropriate. In a word, I recommend Tacops smile.gif

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Well, I've never played DA, but looking at the screenshots I do not think I could. The maps look all nice and complex but the interface is a throwback from Windows 3.1. The colors are horrendous. I'm not one for raster burn on my retinas.

I mean, really. 2D wargames do not have to spend time on textures for polys, high-count models, rendering, light sources, etc... that a full-fledged 3D game does (SoF2, for example). It's mostly about the math that runs the sim. But for goodness sakes spend a -=bit=- of time making the interface look nice. TacOps windows are the nice, easy to look at green color. DA's buttons are _atrocious_ and I personally believe the information at the top could be presented in a much better way...

In closing, turn-based games must pay attention to the smoothness of the interface. If I am going to stare at the same picture for 30 minutes trying to figure out where I want my little tank to go, it had better look nice. Or at least not give me a headache.

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Heh heh, James S I actually read your review when it (DA) came out which is what made me interested in it (I usually think GD reviews are pretty good and fair and tend to jive with my opinions.)

To everyone, thanks for the input. I realize a lot of the posters are going to be TacOps fans since we are here, but of course that doesn't make your opinions invalid, either.

For those who LIKED DA, did you NOT find the interface problems/dullness that others mentioned?

I think I will do a search and find a little more info and download the demos and see if I like'em. My problem is not that I can't get them both (I'm married so I have two families giving me gifts which amounts to a lot of loot at the holidays), but that I don't likely have time to play both.

Anyhow, thanks for the info.

Any more opinions welcome, as well!

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Originally posted by WhiteSun:

Well, I've never played DA, but looking at the screenshots I do not think I could. The maps look all nice and complex[...]

Complex? Are you by a chance mislead by the fact that they just put a nice BMP over the real structure?

(Tacops does that, too, but the underlying TacOps terrain model is sufficient for my taste, the DA one not)

[Edit: I'm not on a crusade against DA or anything, but TacOps is IMHO better for more reasons than are matter of taste, and DA is screwed from publisher constraints including the price]

[ November 22, 2002, 03:08 PM: Message edited by: redwolf ]

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Another game worth looking at is Armored Task Force.

ATF is about the same game scale as TacOps, and handles the same subject matter.

Some aspects of the game are superior to TacOps - like the terrain modelling, map zoom and the method of handling formations and subunits among other features which may vary in taste with players. It also boasts real-time ( 1 sec = 1 sec) with up to 8X time. But it does have a steep learning curve and the interface is not as 'intuitive' compared to TacOps.

TacOps is superior for its ease of use, the multi-national OOB and when it comes down to being a tool for military training, TacOps wins out hands down. Also, multi-player in ATF is limited to two people and it would take a stretch to use ATF as a CPX tool. Still, the game has merit and I am rapidly warming to it.

In fact, I am thinking of doing a comparison between the two games and posting a review. I want to have more screen time with ATF since the game just got released in the last week and I want to do the review only after being fully familar with ATF.

At any rate, for those who want to try the demo, it is available at:

http://www.shrapnelgames.com/downloads/

As a sidenote, the game is designed and coded by a serving artillery officer in the US Army.

[ November 22, 2002, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: Del Shand ]

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Ruthless: I found that DA's interface did take some getting used to. [There are three really hard-core modern wargames on the market: TacOps, DA, and ATF (which is a major upgrade to BCT). TacOps has the best interface by a long shot. ATF is supposed to have a much better interface but I have not spent any real time with it yet.]

However, I do not find it *boring*. It focuses on a higher level of war; if you want to see individual tanks explode, you're looking in the wrong place. If you want to worry about orchestrating division- and corps- level operations, then it's extremely good.

Part of DA's learning curve is the interface, but even more so is the sheer complexity of the tasks handed to you.

[ November 22, 2002, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: James Sterrett ]

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James: I read your review on DA. How long does it take to get a handle on the interface - an evening? Or is it like the game GO - 'a lifetime to master' ;)

I am thinking of getting the game - TacOps and ATF is satisfying my tactical appetite but I have a craving for a modern operational level game.

Thanks

[ November 25, 2002, 11:18 AM: Message edited by: Del Shand ]

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For the most part, and hour or two. I ran into a few gotchas a while after - the biggest was something with helicopter transport. I don't recall the details exactly, but I think it involved a help window which, if clicked away, meant the program assumed you no longer which to designate a landing zone and thus the helo transport order aborted. 8(

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  • 1 month later...

I played DA for months and have now shelved it for several reasons.

1. It is not too dificult to learn to play. You must read the manual though. If you spend a couple evening reading, it plays in a straight forward way.

2. It is underdeveloped in my opinion. The user community is small, and the program has some minor but annoying bugs. Not game stoppers by anymeans, but annoying. When airlifting units for example. The Pick up menu shows units available on the previous pick up. You have to cancel and pick up again to get the right list.

3. The scenario editor is terrible. Impossible to trigger counter attacks, etc. Opfor can only be placed in a static defense. Attacking forces rush forward like a zulu charge.

4. the scenarios that come with it are pretty much all the same. And there are only a handful. The user community has created little.

5. Game has potential. But falls short in many ways.

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