Act of War: Direct Action PC

  • Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Mar 15, 2005

Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
Buy On
  1. Cheat Code Central
    Act of War beautfiully bridges the gap between action and strategy and provides an all out assault of the senses thanks to the incredble level of visual detail, intuitive control and an aural symphony comprised of the sounds of destruction.
  2. A stunning debut for what’s obviously going to be a hell of a franchise.
  3. Graphically, this game is state-of-the-art.
  4. AceGamez
    Act Of War: Direct Action heralds a massive return to top drawer form in RTS gaming. Slick, intelligent, sexy, beautiful and so, so engaging, I don't know whether to play it or take it out for a movie and a slap-up meal.
  5. 90
    I actually found myself going back and replaying some of the scenarios, I enjoyed them that much.
  6. 90
    What sets this game apart from the rest is the life-like and believable urban zones in which you are forced to set up your defence or attack strategies.
  7. Computer Games Magazine
    Just deep enough to require tactical thought without bogging down in a ton of extraneous chores and options. [July 2005, p.60]
  8. Pelit (Finland)
    A stunningly beautiful real-time strategy with a powerful campaign and lots of fabulous action, although the AI is a bit on the silly side. Still, heartily recommended. [Apr. 05]
  9. A surprisingly engaging title. The story is full of twists and turns, and the way the story is threaded into the gameplay keeps you involved. The game isn’t frustratingly difficult.
  10. While it doesn’t really innovate the genre any, the story for this game really pushes the players to continue playing so they can see what happens in the end.
  11. A good, fast-paced strategy game that should appeal to traditional RTS lovers and more impatient gamers alike.
  12. 85
    Units seem to be well balanced, combat is fun and made pretty interesting by dense city sections, and the visuals should keep anybody more than satisfied.
  13. Here's a real-time strategy game with the soul of a sleek techno-thriller, stitched together with live action footage that, despite the acting and budgetary limitations, will remind you of the riveting television drama 24 at times.
  14. 85
    The campaign is terrific on any difficulty level, and there's always multiplayer if you need go get your base building freak on. Act of War is a heck of a package that will please any self-respecting RTS enthusiast.
  15. Its quick learning curve, matched with not having to deal with a tedious training mission lends this game towards the vets.
  16. 85
    How the story develops is fantastic and keeps you playing through the game due to the cut scenes between missions and the mission driven storyline.
  17. Takes the old-school RTS formula and enriches it in countless cool ways, using the lessons of the past decade to create a single-player campaign that's as valid and exciting as anything else in the genre. [PC Zone]
  18. Playing this game with the right people will keep it going for ages, just as it has Command and Conquers.
  19. Bottom line, if you can look past the technical gripes, Act of War: Direct Action is a very solid RTS game with a fantastic story.
  20. Game Informer
    A good, solid RTS that brings some new things to the table in terms of gameplay, but I never really shook the feeling that I was still playing "Command & Conquer: Generals." [Apr 2005, p.138]
  21. Eugen Systems took a lot of familiar concepts and gave them some new wrinkles. That’s good, and I’d even characterize Act of War as an entertaining game, but it’s just that those familiar concepts I mentioned are really familiar, and it just seemed like I had played Act of War before.
  22. PC Format
    Despite all the fireworks it's hard to suppress the feeling that Act of War is as shallow as a puddle. The objectives leave so little room for cunning that if you want to use your brain, you'll have to look elsewhere. [Apr 2005, p.100]
  23. The strategic elements are in place for the most part, it has an interesting take on resource collecting, and the 3D engine makes the explosions nice to watch.
  24. PC Gamer
    Each of the game's three sides is incredibly well-balanced. [June 2005, p.60]
  25. It looks stunning, isn’t shy with its explosions and pyrotechnics, and keeps things moving at a cracking pace.
  26. While Act of War doesn't transcend its genre, in terms of doing the pure "Red Alert" thing, there hasn't been anything as competent and thrilling in ages.
  27. Act of War strikes an ideal balance between demanding and engaging. It's returned our faith to the modern real-time strategy game, and promises an impressive new franchise from Atari.
  28. If you’re an RTS vet who’s played everything out there, you’ll enjoy what Act of War: Direct Action has to offer. It introduces the small changes it needs to make it seem fresh, and Dale Brown’s tech thriller story line keeps you entertained throughout.
  29. A quality RTS because it combines modern-day combat with a cool story and top notch graphics. It provides a pretty decent challenge for veterans, but since it's very easy to play even novices will be able to hop in and achieve instant success.
  30. The game is beatifully made even if we miss the possibility of smashing through a house with a tank, as one could in "Heroes: Soldiers of WWII."
  31. Pelaaja (Finland)
    As a whole, Act of War doesn’t deviate from the tried and true gameplay mechanics of it’s genre, but it manages to deliver a solid, modern day warfare RTS-experience with nice visuals. [May 2005, p.86]
  32. 80
    Its story is well told, its action is well presented, and though it is a very traditional real-time strategy title, it’s a very good one.
  33. You’ll be impressed by the Act of War’s destructible landscape, you’ll laugh at the ridiculous acting and you’ll yelp with a sick joy as your snipers pick off enemy commandos hidden in the undergrowth.
  34. The A.I. is quite good, particularly at the tactical level, where you don't have to baby-sit an army.
  35. The combat is generally tight, while the visuals and overall sound should keep the non-hardcore gamers glued to their monitors.
  36. Act of War is polished, but it's not polished enough to hide the bad acting, disjointed and unrealistic storytelling, and most of all, the complete lack of inspiration or innovation.
  37. While the entire game may be likened to a trip to Chili's rather than Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, you should come away from the table satisfyingly full nonetheless. Just make sure to bring a breath mint to get rid of the lingering effects of the cut scenes.
  38. The only problem is Act of War follows too closely in the footsteps of prior best-selling titles.
  39. 70
    In many ways, it's a by-the-numbers RTS, but a solid one, with a few imaginative mechanics built into it.
  40. 70
    The single player campaign does a good job of gradually introducing new gameplay concepts and putting them to use. Unfortunately, the great gameplay is saddled with a ludicrous story (complete with overacted FMV cut scenes and techno-fascist iconography).
  41. games(TM)
    Will it make you rethink how you see strategy games? Don’t be daft. Will you enjoy playing it? Almost certainly. [May 2005, p.88]
  42. However, it’s most definitely a great step for the genre in terms of storytelling that will hopefully be properly mimicked and expanded by another developer or in a sequel.
  43. Quite brutally it’s old school that just doesn’t meet the modern grade.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Yuri
    Mar 26, 2005
    If you thought c&c:generals was good, think again.
  2. Mar 31, 2012
    This game is awesome. It is one of my favourite games of all time up there with homeworld 2. Both of these games are so great i find it hardThis game is awesome. It is one of my favourite games of all time up there with homeworld 2. Both of these games are so great i find it hard to decide which is the ultimate. These guys really stepped in and picked up where westwood dropped the ball, dropped the live action cutscenes and went "in game 3d" Full Review »
  3. Sep 22, 2011
    I played this RTS religiously for about a year before I moved on and found out about Dawn of War. Anybody who likes RTSs at all should tryI played this RTS religiously for about a year before I moved on and found out about Dawn of War. Anybody who likes RTSs at all should try this little-known gem from Atari. To put it simply, Act of War is in my opinion the perfect Command and Conquer game. It takes everything that made Command and Conquer great and dials it up to 11. This is strange because Act of War isn't actually an official Command and Conquer game. IMO, Act of War got exactly the right scale of combat. With DoW 2, you have small intimate squad battles. With Supreme Commander, you've got a ginormous scale with epic battles across entire peninsulas. Act of War had the perfect average of scale with good infantry action (even inside buildings!), while also allowing for devastating nuclear strikes and massed tank rushes. They even managed to pull off air combat in an innovative realistic fashion, which Relic later mimicked in CoH. Even Command and Conquer 3 came out later and tried to follow the magic and execution of Act of War, but I think they fell short. About the *only* complaint I can ever make about Act of War is that the infantry are individual units rather then squads, but I played it before DoW so that didn't bother me at the time. Full Review »