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Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.4    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Darkwind: War On Wheels
July 19, 2008 | Michael Wuerthele

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Graphics and Sound
Chapter the First: Graphics: What is it With You? What are You Looking For?
This is by far the biggest overall complaint with Darkwind- the graphics. The car markers seem too close to real world equivalents, and the graphics are representative and plain. To this, I say so what? It's a wargame! Graphics don't make the game- gameplay does, and Darkwind has that in spades.

Chapter the Second: Death Is Listening
The audio in Darkwind is decent, and representative as well. This isn't an acoustical tour de force, nor is it intended to be. It just doesn't need to be, and the silence in places does seem evocative of the blasted Evan landscape.

Technical Details: Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves
There's only really two technical issues with the game, as I see it. Initially, you need to be careful with which Java client you acquire with the game- there's separate Intel and PPC versions of the client, and one won't work with the other. As long as you pick carefully, you won't get burned with a Java applet that won't launch. More recently, the 64-bit Java upgrade seems to randomly make the Java applet not launch correctly, but this oddly doesn't seem to be the case all the time. I haven't figured out where the problem lies yet, and may be a PEBCAK issue, so I won't hold it against Psychic Software.

The second issue is the client versus the web-based interface for the game. I'd really like tighter integration between the resource management in the web interface, and the client which handles the combat. While it may be easier to code and implement changes this way, Psychic Software isn't afraid up game client updates anyhow, so I don't see where the separation is truly necessary.

New player, consider this my gift to you. It's not clear what needs to be done with your firewall in all the documentation I've read for the game, and the Java launcher doesn't seem to support uPnP. Go into whatever configuration screen you need to use for your router and/or firewall, and open TCP and UDP ports 28000 through 28020. The old advice to allow traffic from and to www.dark-wind.com doesn't seem to be completely valid anymore.

Conclusion: He Fulfilled His Contract, He's an Honorable Man
I liked Darkwind, and not just because I'm old and slow. It's nice to be able to control your vehicle with precision, and not weave all over the freaking place Grand Theft Auto style. The combat is satisfyingly descriptive without gobs of gore splashing up on your screen, and the visceral thrill of seeing your gang grow cannot be denied. Darkwind is basically free, with additions for paid subscribers, but don't let that deter you. By any definition, Darkwind is a good game, and well worth a look, even if you have old iron to play on!

• Helpful community (pre-PVP)
• Free!
• Turn based
• Runs on a large variety of hardware specs

• Given the chance, the same helpful community will hunt you down in game
• Free, limiting some content to only paid subscribers
• Turn based, not a adrenaline junkie's game
• Representative graphics

Darkwind: War On Wheels
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