11 Bit Studios has announced the European release of the PlayStation 3 port of their game Anomaly: Warzone Earth, now available for download on the PlayStation Network. The game was originally released on PCs last year April and has since been released for Xbox Live Arcade, Android, and iOS. The PlayStation 3 version of the game will be released in North America next month. I’m a big fan of the original PC version, and I’m glad to see the game becoming available to more gamers.
The premise of Anomaly: Warzone Earth is basically an inversion of the popular “tower defense” subgenre of strategy games that puts the player in the role of attacker. Two alien spacecraft have crash-landed in downtown Tokyo and Baghdad, both of which are now covered in mysterious domes of energy and infested with hostile alien war machines, and it’s up to you to lead a force inside to face this threat.
You assemble a force of up to six military vehicles- armored personnel carriers, tanks, missile-launching walkers, and more exotic things like mobile shield generators- and send them through a deadly gauntlet of enemy defenses. You select their formation and charge their route through each level, both of which can be adjusted on the fly as needed. Planning your route carefully is extremely important and can involve a number of different decisions- whether to fight through a heavily defended area that offers the shortest route to the objective or has more resource pickups that you can spend to add to or upgrade your vehicles or take a less contested path, how to use the cover provided by the ruins of the city to best advantage, and so forth. You also have the advantage of a number of special abilities that you can deploy a limited number of times to do things like repair your units, set up decoys to draw enemy fire, or call in an airstrike to soften up the enemy before your men have to tangle with them face-to-face.
Luckily, your guys are rather more active than the invaders in most tower defense games and are continually shooting back to destroy the enemy’s weapons, so selecting the composition of your force requires not only carefully balancing the value of different units against the limited resources you’re given to buy them, but also balancing offense and defense- walkers’ have powerful weapons with a long reach but can’t take much damage, APCs are more durable but less powerful, tanks are strong defensively and offensively but expensive, shield generators increase the survivability of nearby units but have no weapons of their own, and so on. Different types of offense are also a consideration- for instance, APCs have short range but can start firing continuously as soon as something is in range and within their line of sight, which is nice if you’re turning a corner around a building that had been screening you from enemy fire and are suddenly fighting at point-blank range, while walkers have much longer range but take longer to draw a bead on the enemy when contact is made and reload for subsequent shots more slowly.
It’s a lot of fun, and the ranking system that gives you a score according to number of enemies destroyed, completion time, special item abilities, friendly casualties, etc. provides a lot of replay value. If you enjoy real-time strategy, I strongly recommend Anomaly: Warzone Earth for whatever your platform of choice happens to be, and if you’re a PlayStation 3 owner who hasn’t had a chance to try it before, now’s your chance.
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