Reviewed: December 18, 2006
Released: November 22, 2006
Wargamer.net brings turn-based action with several twists and turns to sci-fi strategy simulations. Massive Assault Network 2 is the third installment in the Massive Assault line and the second with the online multiplayer focus. MAN 2 is truly a science fiction turn based game with both sides not only deciding movement and attacks but new unit choices, secret ally exposure and invasions.
Massive Assault Network 2 features:
Massive Assault Network 2 starts you off with several countries in your possession at the beginning of the game but you unveil them one at a time when you want to. You have to unveil one country at the start but the others can be done at any time during the game according to your tactics. The ones that are not unveiled to your enemy are your secret allies, which your enemy canít see. The land you find yourself on is one of islands or one large landmass so there is really no advantage to either side with regard to terrain.
You have a wide variety of vehicles; some with weapons while others are for transport. But again the vehicles for each side are the same in regards to firepower and movement so you have no advantage there either. What this means is your tactics and strategy have to be better than the other player or you will see all your interesting little vehicles blown up with some very good looking weapons and effects.
Each sides turn has four phases; guerrilla, movement and combat, recruitment and disclosure. In the guerrilla phase any country that your opponent first invades you can raise local forces from that country according to the size of the country. The units you can choose from are the same for your side of the fight. These units can be placed anywhere on that country or near its shores according to unit type.
During the movement and combat you can move any existing units and fire upon any of the enemies that are within their range. Units have different firepower and range according to their type as well as different abilities. Each country is barren except for terrain and its capitol, which is the goal of each sideís forces. Move any unit onto the capitol and you control that country, take over all the countries that your enemy had and you win the game.
In the recruitment phase of MAN 2 you raise forces from all the countries you control according to its size. The smaller countries start out around $2 and the larger ones can be as large as $12. Units can start at $1 for small quick armed cars and aircraft carriers and warships can be as much as $10. They use these units of price to keep things simple for numbers but the game is not a simple one to win.
Each round ends with disclosure where you get to choose whether you want to show one of your secret allies to the enemy. At the start of the game the computer randomly decides on your secret allies who remain hidden until you show them. These countries will be able to add new units to the fight when you reveal them but until you reveal them you cannot do anything with that country.
The gameplay in MAN 2 is very customizable with things like time per round, size of the land and how many allies each side gets being choices for you when you start a game. The lobby works well with you being able to create your own game according to the settings you want or you can jump into a game someone else has set up.
Some turn based games can be a bit boring but Wargaming.net has spiced things up using some very unique and good looking weapons effects and explosions. When a unit is destroyed depending on its type and the weapon used it explodes with a neat blast ring effect. Pieces of your ship or armor will fly up and land on the ground leaving wreckage to impede other units for a few turns.
The terrain also looks good with great effects on the water and unit movements. They have used some neat looking vehicles with both sides being a bit different for ease of identification. They have also scaled the scorching for each hit to show which units are on their last legs and which have not been hit yet. They have done a good job with both the textures, vehicles and overall effects like the weapons and explosions for Massive Assault Network 2.
The graphics have resolution settings, texture and shadow detail and a few other settings that you can change for better performance or graphics quality. Massive Assault Network 2 has done a good job with the graphics and visuals in the game to make your opponents turn more interesting visually. The trees sway realistically with each one moving just a little different than the ones next to it. They also have waves along the shoreline, jet exhaust from aircraft, well you get the idea.
The effects for sound in MAN 2 are pretty good but not really outstanding. They have some decent voice acting for the tutorials and the AI you can fight against to learn the various aspects of the game before playing against a real person. The sound has some basic volume controls as well as a software or hardware setting.
Just learning Massive Assault Network 2ís gameplay mechanics and unit advantages will take awhile. There is a good variety of units like several sea and land units along with one amphibious attack unit. Each unit has different weapon strengths and characteristics so to learn the best use of each unit and what units go well together to make up good assault squads takes some practice.
Massive Assault Network 2 comes with two AI characters you can play with over the same multiplayer network. You can choose from any of the terrain scenarios to practice with the computer opponents. You also have many people on the network playing or waiting for opponents to play against. The several times I have been to the lobby to see how many players there were at least two or three were waiting for someone so there seems to be enough interest in the game to find people to play against.
There is also a really good selection of help and information screens that you can turn on and off to help you during gameplay that gives you warnings and other helpful hints. If you are about to end your turn and you havenít fired one of your numerous vehicles the game will popup a warning screen and ask if youíre sure you want to leave for each vehicle you havenít fire at a potential enemy. There are also numerous other help screens that will warn you or ask you if you want to proceed or return to that portion of the game.
Wargaming.net is offering a non-expiring demo of the game, and they have recently restructured their subscription fee so you no longer have to pay monthly. Just a one-time payment of $39.95 gets you a lifetime subscription to the game. Anyone who enjoys a good turn-based strategy has no reason to at least not try this game.
Massive Assault Network 2 is a well-made turn-based strategy game with some interesting twists to give a different gameplay style to a sometimes overworked genre. For those looking for a good looking and different strategy game to play against others or just against the computer MAN 2 is a sure bet.