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Video Game / EndWar

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"...Don't they know, it's the End of the World..."

Tom Clancy's EndWar is a real-time tactics game in the Tom Clancy franchise that attempts to capture the notion of modern warfare through aversion or subversion of the tropes we usually associate with real time strategy.

... were it so easy.

The story of the game centers around the obvious: World War III. Set 20 Minutes into the Future, major nuclear terrorism in the Middle East in 2016 causes gas prices to skyrocket, with Russia soon after becoming the world's leading supplier in petroleum. In 2017, the orbital anti-ICBM shield jointly deployed by the European Union and the United States goes online, supposedly ending the threat of worldwide nuclear war. At the same time, Russia's export of crude oil and energy causes them to experience a significant economic boom period, allowing them to become an international military and economic superpower again. In response to this, Western Europe forges a new charter for the Union, becoming the European Federation - with the notable exception of the United Kingdom, who, with Ireland, forms their own union known as the "New Commonwealth". Despite declaring neutrality, the New Commonwealth does allow European forces to man the missile defense uplink sites on its territory. The prologue to the game begins in 2020, with the US about to complete the Freedom Star orbital military platform, which will shift the balance of power - which upsets the EF, who leaves NATO.

For lack of a better word, everything goes wrong from here. "Terrorists" attack the three superpowers. The US attacks the EF, believing they're funding the terrorists, because Russia planted the evidence. Before those two can compare notes and come to a conclusion, Russia manages to slip in (again, in the guise of the terrorists) and hijack the missile shield with a virus, and the Freedom Star lifter is mistaken for an ICBM by the missile shield and is blown up. Hey presto, World War III.

The player takes on the role of a battalion commander for an elite force on one of three sides of the conflict:

Mechanically, the game mixes in a few RPG Elements - your battalion is persistent between missions, gaining in experience and ability. An incapacitated unit will be evacuated, but the enemy can still kill it before that happens. Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors is generally in full effect - Riflemen beat Engineers, Engineers beat vehicles (with exceptions for good strategy), vehicles (usually) beat Riflemen. In the vehicles quadrant, they have their own rock paper scissors scheme - Tanks beat Transports, Transports beat Choppers, and Choppers beat Tanks. Outside of the triangle, there are Command Vehicles (purely tactical use, but with a drone escort that beats helicopters) and Artillery (beats everything at long range except Choppers, dies in close combat). However, when factoring in unit experience and upgrades and numbers, it can get a bit more blurred.

The game also prides itself on a Voice Command system that allows players to command units with their voice using a simple structure. "Unit 1 Attack Hostile 1", for instance, would give your first unit the command to attack the enemy designated as Hostile 1. This system exists in the fluff as the "Overlord" battlefield command system, with the player character intended to be a CO using cutting edge technology to gain an unprecedented, real-time, complete view of the battlefield instead of having the magical birds-eye viewpoint common to RTS games. The camera system reflects this and allows the player to view the battlefield only from the point of view of a highlighted unit as if through a gun-camera they carry (Or through the SitRep if you have a Command Vehicle, but that view of the battlefield leaves out many, many details, along with unit feedback), causing no small amount of "they changed the genre, now it sucks" from some RTS fans. In reverse, fans of the game consider this to have no actual loss of function, especially when physical input and voice commands are used in combination to issue orders as fast as possible.

Also has a spinoff for the DS and PSP, a turn-based game with more than a passing resemblance to Advance Wars or Battle Isle. Its unique twists on the formula are a two-part turn cycle, unit placement providing boni to engagements and a rather limited supply of extra units (capturing a depot will only allow you to build one or two top-shelf units and some light vehicles and infantry, assuming it even contains supplies). The setting is roughly the same, though it doesn't reveal any of the backstory and the split between the US and Europe comes much later.

A sequel was said to be in development, but was put on hold, and then ultimately cancelled on February 8, 2010 due to the game's commercial failure.

In September 2013, a free to play browser game spinoff called EndWar Online was announced. Set After the End, it takes place about a decade after the the original EndWar, which ended in a stalemate and left the world in tatters. However, even the end of the world has not brought an end to war. Remnants of the superpowers' once-mighty armies lie scattered, forced to scavenge from the dead in order to survive. Their vast territories are ravaged and occupied by separatists, deserters and bandits. If a sufficiently capable leader could reunite their forces and retake and rebuild their lands, then they might have enough strength to not just survive, but finally win the EndWar...

Gameplay-wise, it's split between the HQ, where the player manages their resources and army, and the tactical battles, which are based around lanes between a pair of bases. Units can only be deployed on these lanes, which they will progress on until they encounter an enemy unit or reach the enemy base, causing them to stop moving and start shooting. Armies are based around Commanders, each leading a group of units of one type with the same basic capabilities as others of the same type, but possessing their own set of special abilities. Each Commander levels up independently of one another, either unlocking new abilities or upgrading existing ones. They can also be fitted with Equipment, which will affect their units' performance in battle.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The EFEC occasionally uses bullets with extra features. For example, the Panther 1A3 can use microwave-enhanced shells as its special attack, which removes shields from all units hit in its area of effect.
  • All for Nothing: Russia instigated World War III so that they and their oil reserves would be secure, with the USA and Europe being too divided fighting amongst themselves to be a threat. Instead, EndWar Online shows that the entire world is a war-torn ruin with each superpower being balkanized and crippled (emphasis on Russia, since it was their plan).
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Somewhat in multiplayer (although there's nothing preventing you from blowing through the entire singleplayer campaign in one marathon session). Ceasefires are used inbetween turns, and CP points determine what units you can draw.
  • Anti-Infantry: Riflemen are designed to be this, in theory. In practice, however, they can also tear up lighter vehicles once in cover.
  • Anti-Vehicle: Engineers are designed to be this - and they are very good at it, being the only unit capable of taking on tanks, transports, and helicopters (given proper cover). Engineers garrisoned into a structure are pretty much impossible to dislodge with anything other than artillery.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Your supply of reinforcements is very limited, as is the amount of units you can have on the field at one time. Also, you are permitted one Command Vehicle, two Artillery, and six Infantry on the field at once.
    • And to a lesser extent, your choice of battalion can limit the amount of units you can deploy. Any others are temporary New Meat recruits you won't get to keep. The composition depends on what type your battalion is; see Faction Calculus.
  • Arbitrary Weapon Range:
    • Artillery cannot hit units that are too close to it.
    • Units cannot hit targets beyond their range, which is rather small by modern-day standards. However, due to the low camera angle and fixed chase camera, there is a greater sense of distance than other strategy games.
  • Armour Piercing Attack: Special attacks, air strikes and WMDs bypass shields completely. This can be used to quickly execute fleeing enemies when the unit can't stay around to engage.
  • Attack Drone: JSF and EFEC command vehicles are escorted by an automatically replenished squad of these. They're armed with machine guns by default, but can be upgraded with missiles (JSF) or lasers (EFEC). However, they're not especially powerful against anything except gunships. Non-upgraded drones can also be deployed by Engineers to defend an Uplink. Neither variant can be directly controlled, though the escort variant can be ordered by the command vehicle to attack specific targets.
    • The Spetznaz just use a batch of raw recruits for guard duty in both cases... although the voiceovers still refer to them as drones.
    • In Raid missions, the target structures are all guarded by four drones each who prioritize air targets. This is to make sure the attacker can't simply Zerg Rush the targets with gunships right as the mission starts.
    • In Siege Missions, there is a line of drones guarding key choke points on the map, preventing players from Zerg Rushing through to the critical uplink.
    • All Command Vehicles can be upgraded to carry a UAV that fires missiles. Not very useful at attacking any unit since the drone is ridiculously fragile, but can be a legitimate threat to Artillery since they can't shoot back.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Some upgrades can only be purchased when you have a unit of a high enough experience rank, and only units which also at least meet that rank requirement can use them.
    • The Command Vehicle is, while not too great at general combat, quite durable, to the point that throwing it into the fray as bait can be a genuinely effective tactic (don't do this too much however).
    • Also played somewhat literally - as your rank increases, you gain command abilities (Like snipe, missiles, SAWs, and higher levels of off-map support). A highly-ranked commander is probably going to have a very well tuned battalion with significant support.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The credits song alone makes it worth to finish the game multiple times.
  • Bad Boss: Sergei Izotov, the ruthless and calculating commander of the Spetznaz Guard Brigades. He often threatens the commanders with execution or exile to Siberia, and shows little regard for casualties on either side, describing defeated units as "useless".
  • Badass Army: Each of the different factions are elite soldiers from their respective countries.
  • Badass Boast: Quite often overheard during combat, especially if your unit has the advantage.
    Spetznaz Engineer: Welcome to Hell, we will be your hosts today!
  • Badass Creed - Every single battalion has one. Some of the better ones:
    • JSF 13th Airborne: Judgment From the Heavens
    • JSF 35th Airborne: Death from Above
    • JSF 26th Mechanized: Drive It Like You Stole It
    • Spetznaz 13th Airborne: You Should Be Running Now
    • Spetznaz 35th Armored: Big Tanks Thirst For Blood
    • Spetznaz 48th Tactical: Today We Feed The Crows
    • EFEC 16th Mechanized: Death to Tyrants
    • EFEC in general: Se vis pacem, para bellum. note 
  • Beam Spam: The EFEC has access to lasers. Subverted in that only upgraded drones, the Command Vehicle and airstrikes use them as main weapons. Tanks and Transports can equip one as an emergency anti-infantry weapon. Still, it is possible to have a beam spam when all 4 drones and the command vehicle are attacking at the same time.
  • Big Damn Heroes: On a Siege mission, you have to keep a Critical Uplink under your control for ten minutes without any reinforcement whatsoever. When that ten minutes are up, this trope occurs in the most epic fashion possible.
  • Blood Knight: Many Russian units have this personality, often expressing disappointment or surprise when ordered to evacuate.
    • Almost all units get quite enthusiastic when holding the advantage in a fight.
    JSF Vehicle: "That's it! We're murdering 'em!"
  • Bond One-Liner: Just prior to bringing up the mission results screen, your XO's will make rather nasty quips about your opponents if you won. For example, beating the EFEC as the JSF yields...or beating the JSF with the EFEC, or defeating the Russians with the EFEC:
    Maj. Alice Dennison: Sleep tight, Eurotrash. That's what happens when you take siestas.
    Capt. Ilaria Cimino: Now I see why Americans don't believe in evolution. Big tanks can't win every time.
  • Capital Offensive: In this game, part of the win conditions for defeating a superpower is taking their capital city in a three part battle. These capitals are Washington DC for the United States, Paris for the European Federation, and Moscow for Russia.
  • Crapsack World: Heavily implied to be this. The oil crisis meant that only the richest and most technologically advanced countries could survive; the United States has the funds and reserves to survive, Europe has developed hydrogen-powered engines to the point where they no longer need oil, and Russia controls most of the world's oil anyway. Most other countries simply couldn't sustain themselves and broke down into anarchy. The United Nations has been disbanded due to diplomatic breakdowns, Venezuela was apparently annexed or invaded by the United States at some point, China's economy has collapsed and is experiencing massive environmental disasters, India and Africa are experiencing droughts that are killing thousands, and the Balkans are referred to as "a lawless anarchy of failed states".
    • On the other hand, it's implied that the countries that didn't implode from the chaos are at least trying to hold their own. Switzerland, the New Commonwealth and (some parts of) South America are mentioned as having pulled this off.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Units will lose troops or vehicles, and therefore firepower, when their health bar depletes. Units taken down to 25% health will send up a flare, disengage, and wait for evac.
    • This also means that if a transport unit is carrying infantry, the squad inside transports that get destroyed will also die, and a transport unit missing vehicles will not be able to transport a full infantry squad.
  • Colonel Badass: You and your allies and opponents are all Colonels in charge of your respective nations' most elite forces.
  • Comeback Mechanic: In Conquest mode, when one side captures more than half of the map's uplinks and starts the victory countdown, the opposition gains a single-use ability to permanently remove an enemy uplink (and the support power it provided, if it was upgraded) from play, stopping the countdown until the winning side can capture another uplink. Additionally, the Command Point cost for bringing in reinforcements is halved and both sides gain access to their WMDs, with the losing side getting one immediate use while the winning side starts on cooldown.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: The only currency worth anything is Command Points, which slowly build over time and can also come from securing Uplinks. Played somewhat straight when nothing gets upgraded without your say-so and you have to spend Command Points to set a forward uplink as your landing zone when the transport helicopter should logically be able to fly anywhere.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Subverted, as has been stated earlier, units are air-lifted from off map. Also, your mission type determines how many Reinforcements you have, and how many units you can have deployed at once. The closest you get to base building is by upgrading uplinks to provide access to army reinforcements, EMP blasts, and Air Strikes. However, the number of command points available to deploy these units is limited and must be increased through gradual generation or by capturing and upgrading said uplinks.
  • Continuity Porn: Former Ghost Leader Captain Scott Mitchell is the head of the JSF, the JSF's attacker aircraft is flyable in H.A.W.X., many European commanders and Kommandos were in Team Rainbow, Third Echelon supplies the JSF with information, the JSF recruits from Ghost Recon, etc., etc.
  • Continuity Snarl: What this eventually resulted in; while it is part of a greater Continuity Snarl in the Clanceyverse, EndWar is where it's especially noticeable. To give a brief summary,
    • Third Echelon has been branded as a terrorist organization and replaced with Fourth Echelon, EndWar, HAWX, and Ghost Recon disagree about the timing and the nature of the war with Russia.
    • It seems to ignore or not mention the previous total war with Russia, which ended in total defeat for Russia, in the first Ghost Recon, even though it happened less than a decade before EndWar.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Subverted, despite all three factions having the same units, there are subtle differences in their capabilities and upgrades. However, the combat chain remains identical for all factions and most of the upgrades have an equivalent in the other factions.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A "predator" in the Combat Chain can easily wipe out entire armies of its "prey".
  • Cutting Off the Branches: EndWar Online reveals that no one won, with the conflict not only devastating much of the planet but also resulting in the three superpowers fragmenting into various feuding factions.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Russian XO and news announcer.
    Russian News Anchor: The Pope of the Catholic Church is again urging Europe and America to cease their aggression against Russia. And each other.
    Russian XO: Put your engineers in cover so they may bleed less.
    • Scott Mitchell has a very dry wit and injects some scathing lines into his briefings.
    Mitchell: "If there weren't a war on, he'd be working fast food someplace. And I don't mean as a manager."
    Mitchell: "There are circus bears with more impressive military records. Plus, they can ride unicycles."
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Despite only having assault rifles, riflemen can destroy tanks on their own. It's just that the tanks in question are more likely to kill them first... unless the riflemen happen to be garrisoned, in which case, they have a fair chance of fragging the tanks, albeit with heavy casualties.
    • Tanks and Artillery can be killed slowly with the missile attack of an upgraded UAV as they can't fire back effectively for the former and can't fire back at all for the latter.
    • Even the "prey" can eventually kill a "predator" in the Combat Chain if there are enough of it firing at the same time.
  • Defcon 5: Averted. WMDs become available at Defcon One.
  • Drone Deployer: The Command Vehicle primarily attacks through an automatically replenishing supply of ground Attack Drones and can deploy a Surveillance Drone UAV that can be upgraded to attack.
  • Eagleland: Nice job jumping to conclusions and immediately attacking Europe, US. (To be fair, evidence was planted with the deliberate intent of framing Europe, and Russia eventually shows its true colors).
  • Easy Logistics: Units will never run out of fuel or ammunition.
  • Eco-Terrorist: The novelized version has a terrorist group led by a guy named Green Vox. They're an environmental group and during the Soviet invasion of Canada decide to blow up the oil fields with NUCLEAR WEAPONS... because oil is polluting the environment!
  • Elite Mooks: Your forces (and the forces you fight), to say it simply. They're all drawn from various special forces.
    • However, in most missions there are also regular army units in the field, but they cannot be directly controlled and infantry will not capture uplinks. The Force Recon ability allows players to order some regular army units onto the field to guard a location, and mission-critical buildings are usually guarded by drones.
    • The Elite Pack DLC added Elite Armies for the Elite Armies: the JSF 15th Special Operations, Spetsnaz Alpha Brigade and EF Battlegroup 1. How Elite? Where every other army is lead by a Colonel, this one is lead by a General. Heck, 40 turns into the game, the overall commander of the entire faction takes over the Elite battalion (for the AI).
  • EMP: A mission support call-in that can disable enemy vehicles, drones and shields in its blast radius for a short time as well as removing the map on the enemy's screen and revealing the targeted area. Interestingly, the Spetznaz level 2 EMP shows a hacker hacking a computer.
  • Enemy Chatter: Inverted, possibly. Your currently selected unit will chat about a number of things. Such as...
    Gunship pilot: Look at 'em down there! Sooo cute!
    • Most of it consists of the soldiers chatting with each other, choosing from a random list of statements and answers.
    Man, if I had a dollar for every uplink we captured...
    I hear ya, man!
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: All JSF and Spetznaz weapons fire rounds with color-coded tracers, as do the EFEC's conventional weapons. Less ridiculous than it sounds, Russian-made tracer ammunition in real life burns green because of the presence of barium salts.
  • Faction Calculus: The battalion type of a player's forces, enforced via the Arbitrary Headcount Limit.
    • Powerhouse: Armored battalions are the undisputed specialists at Tank Goodness and More Dakka, capable of fielding the largest number of tanks and artillery, perfectly suited for a head-on meatgrinder or cracking a fortified enemy position. However, the battalion's dependence on these two units as its muscle means the player has to be constantly on their guard against gunships, which are specialized for killing these two very units. At the same time, lack of gunships means Armored battalions have limited means of retaliation towards enemy artillery fire, short of shooting back with their own artillery, relegating the few gunships and riflemen they do have to spotting targets for the artillery.
    • Subversive: Airborne and Mechanized battalions.
      • Airborne battalions are Fragile Speedsters, capable of raining Death from Above at enemy hardware with their large numbers of gunships. Their large numbers of riflemen also allow them to be Goddamned Bats, running invisibly around the map capturing the enemy's uplinks, denying the enemy off-map supports while simultaneously gaining command points for deep-striking more riflemen behind the enemy for capturing yet more uplinks. They can hit the enemy straight where it hurts but once they are cornered, the Airborne battalion's lack of tanks and artillery means they don't have the firepower for a head-on battle or the means to crack fortified positions, thus they crumble relatively quickly outside an urban environment with buildings to garrison.
      • Mechanized battalions fall closer to Balanced than Airborne, with lots of IFVs and engineers making them highly mobile, yet hard to dislodge once fortified and pretty much impervious to enemy air attacks. Their decent number of tanks and riflemen also make them good at hitting the enemy in their flank and then running away, but the faction as a whole is more powerful on the defensive against enemy armor than facing them out in the open. On the other hand, their lack of gunships and artillery means the Mechanized battalion is very much a Close-Range Combatant whose best option against enemy artillery is running away.
    • Cannons: Tactical battalions. With a large artillery park and lots of riflemen for invisibly spotting targets, this battalion is capable of laying the smackdown at extreme range and softening up incoming enemies before they get into range. With an equal mix of infantry, tanks and gunships, this battalion is well-suited for defensive combat, capable of standing its ground against any ground assault that makes it past the artillery. However, this battalion has one severe weakness: with only one IFV unit, not only is the infantry robbed of mobility, but when the battalion actually goes on the offensive, the artillery park becomes quite vulnerable to enemy gunships as soon as it's no longer surrounded by entrenched infantry.
    • Balanced: the Assault battalion. Consisting of an equal number of all unit types, this is a Jack of All Trades battalion without any notable weaknesses.
  • Failed Future Forecast: A key part of the game's 2020 political scenario is that, as the result of devastation in the Middle East, Russia has become the world's largest supplier of oil and natural gas. At the time of the game's release, this seemed like a plausible scenario. However, the US shale oil boom, which took off after the game's release, resulted in the US blowing past Russia and then Saudi Arabia in oil production, becoming the world's largest oil producer by 2020.
  • False Flag Operation: The terrorists attacking all 3 factions are actually funded by the Russians, with the attack on them being staged.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Played straight and averted by turns, since, realistically, there are just some assholes in your units who don't get along with anyone else, and announce their contempt for their comrades over the radio.
    Spetznaz Infantry: Don't pretend like we are friends now.
    JSF Vehicle: I'd never socialize with any of you people outside the force.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Some of the unit upgrades feature rather innocuous names for absolutely terrifying weapon systems. For example, the flamethrower mount for Russia's battle tanks is designated as the "Bumblebee".
    • Some unit callsigns also fall under this, such as the Russian Artillery unit "Circus Cannon" or the American IFV unit "Sleigh Ride".
    • This seems to be Europe's naming convention overall, as only their Riflemen and Artillery have callsigns that can even be associated with violence (types of swords and long range weaponry, respectively).
  • Forever War: While EndWar Online is set After the End, it's revealed that the titular EndWar is still technically ongoing.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • More generally, Europe's forces are more mobile but lack the staying power of the Spetsnaz and the accuracy and More Dakka of the JSF.
    • Gunships can cross over any terrain but are very fragile and can die even to Riflemen in cover.
    • Riflemen themselves are much faster than Engineers but can rarely stand up to a straight fight with vehicles. With Deep Strike, riflemen can literally cross the entire map in a single deployment but will be wiped out if the enemy decides to send a single transport to intercept.
    • On land, Transports are the fastest but are quickly chewed up by any dedicated anti-armour unit (Tanks and Engineers).
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted. It is entirely possible to hit your own forces with danger-close application of gunships, tanks or artillery if you're not careful - or you just don't care. Said units even warn you about friendlies being close - but if you do it anyway, the targeted unit will yell at you to cease fire.
  • From Bad to Worse: The global situation grows progressively dire as the campaign drags on, with news broadcasts bringing up mounting unrest, food shortages and overall gloom. Eventually, if the conflict goes on for long enough, conditions become so severe that governments shut down all non-essential services just to maintain some semblance of order.
  • Future Copter:
    • The JSF's AH-80 Blackfoot gunship is a stealthy, high agility attack gunship. Featuring a second-generation fly-by-wire system, a 30mm chaingun connected to an eye-tracking targetter allowing instantaneous and precise aim, a plethora of rockets and missiles, a thrust-vectoring nozzle to replace the vulnerable tail rotor, and an experimental hydrogen engine designed by a company in California, the Blackfoot represents all of the latest innovations in American helicopter design.
    • The EF's PAH-6 Cheetah is a sleek and deadly gunship powered by a dual hydrogen-powered turboshaft engine that is just as powerful as the petrol-powered engines as the previous generation. It features a shrouded tail rotor (which greatly reduces the helicopter's acoustic signature), a top-of-the-line electronic countermeasure suite, a 30mm autocannon and 68mm rocket pods, and the HOT-3, an optically-guided tandem warhead missile. As befits its namesake, the PAH-6 Cheetah is the fastest, lightest and most maneuverable helicopter in the world by a considerable margin, even easily capable of a loop with a full combat load.
    • The Speztnaz's KA-65 Howler is described by observers as a "flying tank". The Howler is so heavily-armoured that even the cockpit glass can withstand direct hits from 20mm rounds. With a coaxial counter-rotating rotor that allows it to move a tremendous body gracefully and stay stable even in adverse weather conditions, combined with a massive 30mm autocannon and plenty of 88mm folding-fin rockets and air-to-ground missiles, it is a fearsome opponent for ground forces.
  • Garrisonable Structures: Infantry that is not in cover is going to die.
    • Goddamned Bats: Infantry that are in cover are scary. Engineers can kill most vehicles while taking very little return damage, while Riflemen can hold their own against anything short of a tank or artillery - they have a habit of shooting down gunships that attempt to pry them out of their building. (One of the best ways to get Riflemen out of cover is other Riflemen, with Storm Building.)
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Most Spetznaz infantry, both in-game and in cutscenes. The only exceptions are Riflemen snipers who wear a balaclava and Engineer flamethrower operators who wear a welding mask.
  • Gatling Good: The JSF Engineer can carry a portable gatling gun, the JSF fighter has twin gatling guns as its level 1 air strike, and the JSF and EFEC basic drone carry a minigun.
  • Glass Cannon: Artillery can obliterate any ground unit at long range but die if you so much as sneeze at them.
  • Gonna Need More X: Upon winning a battle with the JSF against Russians, one of the things the player's XO can say is:
    They're gonna need bigger tanks next time!
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: "We did not start this war". Said by representatives of all three nations in the ending of the prologue, and all three are technically right. But all three are also guilty for playing with matches.
  • Hero Unit: Not present at all. The command vehicle might count, but it's really not good at all in combat; its really more Mission Control than anything else. Arguably, a Legendary unit might count, but they're still as much fodder as any other unit.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: General Amadou de Bankole is implied to not have originally come from the EF due to his West African accent, but he's a true believer in its ideals to the point that he's the highest ranking military official in the Federation.
  • Informed Ability:
    • JSF Engineers are supposed to have powered exoskeletons. The only difference between them and other Engineers is better anti-infantry equipment.
    • EFEC Riflemen come from all around Europe and are encouraged to stick to their home country's tactics (read: non-lethal). However, they behave exactly the same as any other Riflemen unit.
    • The Spetznaz tank is supposed to be equipped with an AA gun. Can be subverted if you purchase a specific map pack or play the PC version.
    • It is constantly emphasised that JSF and EFEC units have better communications equipment than the Spetznaz. All orders and feedback travel at the speed of light.
    • The JSF is described as having the cutting edge in stealth technology. It only has 1 stealth unit (which all other factions also have).
    • The JSF is also described as being faster than the other two factions, with a doctrinal emphasis on "High speed, low drag." In actual fact, the EFEC tend to have a slight edge in speed, while the JSF actually boasts superior range and accuracy to their opponents.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Securing all the uplinks in conquest mode or securing the Alpha uplink in siege mode will result in an instant victory. In-universe, this is justified by the introduction of the Nuclear Nullifier SLAMS missile shield, controlled by said uplinks. It is implied that the losing army has to quickly evacuate before the winning side simply obliterates the stragglers with air superiority. A few news blurbs even make note of entire carrier groups being casually wiped out with WMD strikes.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Implied through some of the quotes from the Force Recon units, showing some disdain from the regular grunts for the special forces that the player commands.
  • Invaded States of America: Battles can happen in the US, including Washington DC.
  • Iwo Jima Pose: The American ending features one of these.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Units that lose 75% of their HP are "down", and send up a flare to signal for evacuation after recharging their shields. Particularly unpleasant enemies may continue firing on them, or at their transport choppers, in order to kill them completely. The acceptability, fairness, and overall jerkitude of using this tactic is debated in multiplayer games.
    • You get an achievements for doing this enough (and for shooting down the transports)
    • It can be horribly tempting (particularly against AI) to call down a WMD strike on the last incapacitated unit of your enemy when victory is assured.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Spetznaz Tank can mount a flamethrower and the Spetznaz Engineer can carry one.
  • Kill Sat: The EF's and JSF's WMDs are both based on satellites.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Captain Scott Mitchell (of the Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter series) is alive and well in this game, so if you play this before Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (where Mitchell is last seen critically injured and being evacuated due to his injuries), the impact of that game's ending is rendered pointless.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Command vehicles appear to be practically useless in combat, only armed with a single short-ranged defensive weapon that you can't even control. In fact, the entire game works to portray the vehicle as a rear support vehicle - from the in-game tips literally declaring the vehicle ineffective in combat to the vehicle being granted a "bodyguard" of drones to protect and handle the footslogging for it. What they don't tell you, however, is that the vehicle has the single highest health of any unit in the game and its "defensive" weapon has a monstrously high damage output. Granted, the vehicle is slow enough such that it can't chase down fleeing enemies, but its sheer survivability makes it useful as a battering ram, simply driving up to and parking on top of a defended position. The enemies are forced to either abandon their post or tank the damage of the command vehicle's gun (particularly useful in breaking force recon or uplink defenders as they cannot flee). Commanders underestimating the power of the command vehicle have had units singlehandedly wiped out.
  • Loophole Abuse: The WMDs of each faction exist because of this. The SLAMS satellites are programmed to target and destroy objects on a ballistic trajectory that exceeds the Kármán line from below - however, the US kinetic strike is launched from a Kill Sat and thus exceeds the line from above, while the Russian themobaric missile is launched from the ground but does not fly high enough, resulting in neither being intercepted by the missile shield. And the EF's satellite laser, of course, is an energy beam that cannot be shot down.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Transport, Gunship and Artillery units gain, as a veteran upgrade, the ability to hose down an area with a massive barrage of missiles or rockets. While thematically different, all provide the ability to suddenly lop off half of a targets health, though at the expense of reduced range compared to their normal attacks. note 
    • In the fluff, this is how the US and the EF tested the SLAMS system: by unloading their entire nuclear arsenal at each other for the satellites to intercept.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: As you've probably figured out by now, Russia ends up in the villain role in a Western game yet again. Granted, a Western game made by the Chinese branch of a Canadian company, but still.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The US vs the EF vs Russia.
  • Mighty Glacier: Tanks are quite slow and heavily armoured but are the uncontested kings of ground combat.
  • More Dakka: The Russian philosophy of design appears to be: If you can't make it better, put more of it on the vehicle. Exemplified by their Artillery, which has two barrels.
  • Multi-Platform: While the PC version has several improvements over the console versions, including the smaller HUD layout, it also has a few bugs such as the voiceover hint for garrisoning infantry into buildings referencing the color of the command reticule's range number indicating if the target is within weapons range; there is no such thing on the PC version as it uses a standard mouse cursor, not a command reticule.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Both reporting names and most unit callsigns, which makes sense as one would want to inspire a sense of dread in their foes. Seems far less common among the Europeans, as they favor a Fluffy the Terrible approach.
    • Russian T-100 "Ogre" battle tanks. That reporting name alone should tell you everything you need to know about them.
    • American AH-80 "Blackfoot" gunships, whose callsigns are all hideously deadly snakes. (Mamba, Diamondback, Cobra)
    • American Riflemen have callsigns associated with precision lethality (or murder) and supernatural monsters. (Icepick, Vampire, Hitman)
    • European Panther 1A3 Tanks, with their reporting name calling back to the rightly feared Panther tanks of the previous World War.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Played with. The New Commonwealth had pretensions about neutrality, but then allowed Europe to garrison troops on their soil to protect their Uplink clusters. After that, all bets were off. Averted with Israel, who really do remain neutral with no lasting effects, though one could actually see their neutrality as favoring America and Russia, since European tanks are partially of Israeli design, and possibly built by them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Inverted. The Russians wind up screwing up their own plans. Sure, they succeed in provoking the US into attacking Europe... and then their own declaration of war against Europe (Because they're trying to help! Really!) causes the US to panic over their sudden expansionism and declare war on them as well. Oops. However, the Russian commander comments that war is inevitable and it's in Russia's best interests to pull the trigger first. Best case scenario, America helps them wipe out the EF, and they can roll in and take the spoils. Worst case, MeleeATrois, where at least they're ready, and the US and EF are infighting rather than focusing their efforts.
  • No-Sell: A "predator" in the Combat Chain can shrug off the combined firepower of anywhere between 3 to 5 of its "prey". (practically an entire army)
  • Nuclear Nullifier: Following Saudi Arabia getting crippled in 2016 by a nuclear terrorist attack, the US and EU created the SLAMS (Space-Land-Air Missile Shield) System, an anti-ballistic missile defense that rendered strategic nuclear warfare obsolete. Unfortunately, it also had the side effect of making large scale conventional warfare possible again, which would cause a rise in tensions that would eventually lead to World War III.
  • Nuke 'em: When one side in a battle is in danger of losing (usually signified by being one capture point away from losing the map), they hit Defcon One and gain access to a single-use WMD.
  • Obligatory Swearing: JSF infantry swear like, well, Marines.
  • Obvious Beta: Double-subverted. About a month before the game's release, Ubisoft released a public beta of the game.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Radio chatter from units who are at a disadvantage consists primarily of them discussing how screwed they are, usually at high volume and with a lot of panic in their voices.
    • When regular army units near one of the player's infantry squads get fully wiped, squad chatter changes to a mixture of shocked, angry and dejected exclamations.
      Spetznaz: No survivors... this is bad result.
      Spetznaz: I knew comrades in that unit!
    • The typical player reaction whenever their XO begins an update with "Check Unit X...", as this is always used to notify them that a unit is facing its "predator" in the Combat Chain. You'd better hope you can get them out of there or bring in your own support real fast.
    • Writ large on the faces of the players command staff when your opponent drops their WMD, as shown in the reaction vignette. Likely the players too, as they're about to lose a lot of soldiers and the battle has now escalated a far more frantic, no holds barred stage.
  • One-Hit Kill: Anything caught in a WMD's blast radius is instantly incapacitated; if the squad has lost even a single unit, it's just killed outright. Fully-upgraded Command Vehicles that took no armor damage may or may not survive.
  • Ornamental Weapon: Riflemen and Engineers have what you would expect from a modern day infantryman modelled on their bodies. For example, the JSF Marksman has what appears to be a smoke grenade on his belt (which he cannot use), the Russian Engineer has a backpack with a string of grenades (which he cannot use) and the JSF and Russian soldiers all carry a combat knife (they would rather shoot you point blank with a rifle than whip it out).
  • Permanently Missable Content: Any unit which completely loses their Hit Points is removed from your persistent battalion - as is its experience. It's immediately replaced by a green unit, but still, you feel it.
  • The Plague: If a campaign goes on long enough, a new strain of flu called Influenza M starts making its way across the world.
  • Post-Soviet Reunion: As oil and gas prices soared in the wake of the Arabian Peninsula being devastated by nuclear attacks in 2016, the Russian Federation became flush with enough money to build up its military well past the Soviet Union's heights during the Cold War, and when many of the dysfunctional countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans were effectively excluded from the newly formed European Federation, it wasted no time seizing the opportunity to bring them into its sphere of influence to the point of de facto annexing them. Just before WW3 breaks out, Russian territory (both de jure and de facto) includes Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and stretches all the way to the Adriatic Sea, having several outposts in the "lawless zone" comprising the former Yugoslav states.
  • Red Shirts: "Army troops" are your Red Shirts and enemy Mooks. They have no shields and effectively serve no real purpose other than to fight it out between themselves and whichever Special Forces (player units) they stumble upon. The Force Recon upgrade deploys slightly tougher ones with Fast Attack Vehicles and Tanks to wherever the player needs them.
    • To be fair, they do stand a chance against Gunships and Engineers if they are lucky or concentrate their fire.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: You don't build stuff. Units are flown in from off-map via the same transport helicopters that evacuate them. Even upgrading uplinks reveals that the upgrade is actually stored inside the uplink itself. (where it gets the space to store 3 separate versions of antennae is another problem)
  • "Risk"-Style Map: The overview of everything in World War III and the Theatre of War.
  • Rock Beats Laser: How the Spetsnaz are able to keep up with the JSF or EF requires some Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
    • Camouflage Paint can compete with Active Camouflage
    • Modern Day Ballistic Armour provides more protection than Futuristic Nano-composite Armour.
    • Training Engineers really hard is enough to keep up with advanced sonic wound sealing technology.
    • Sometimes literally, in that a Russian machine gun on the Tank has better range and comparable damage to a Tactical High Energy Laser on a European Tank.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the disadvantages of using Sit Rep is the inability to fly out in a Gunship and observe the beautiful architecture and nature (before a battle).
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • A large battle (or WMD strike) will eventually end with a significant portion of the city flattened, bodies littering the streets, forests burning down and the husks of vehicles dotting the landscape.
    • Paris, Moscow, and Washington DC also have sporadic anti-aircraft fire and artillery shells flying in the distance, most of the skyscrapers burned down or collapsing and thick smoke covering the sky, signifying the fact that by the time the capital is in a position to be attacked, the defending side must be losing pretty badly.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: A fully upgraded Ogre tank is capable of going toe-to-toe even with the helicopters it's supposed to be weak against.
  • Shock and Awe: The European Engineers have an upgrade that gives them a ballistic shield with a built-in taser.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Marksman in a Russian Riflemen Squad looks a lot like Natasha from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.
    • The Marksman in a JSF Riflemen Squad shares more than a passing resemblance to Captain Price.
    • The Springfield uplink cluster "is located between Springfield and Shelbyville."
    • JSF chatter is generally at least perceived to be cribbed heavily from Generation Kill. If the spoken lines aren't enough, one support ability sends Joeboys in a column of Humvees to a designated area. The name of the ability? "Force Recon."
      • Of course, Generation Kill's Marines weren't Force Recon, they were First Recon. There's a difference.
      • Though there is a possible reference: One of the nicknames a JSF command vehicle (presumably where the battalion commander is) can get is Scarface, and in Generation Kill the commander of the 1st Recon Battalion is nicknamed Godfather.
    • One of the 360-exclusive Achievements is called Call of Booty for winning a battle with only Infantry.
    • One possible callsign for American IFVs is Rosebud.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Yeah, those WMDs will kill ANYTHING. A full health-shield Command Vehicle at ground zero is just about the only thing that will survive.
    • It should be noted that units being 'killed' in the game are lost forever, which doesn't always happen with your units being hit by a WMD, but it will make them incapable of fighting.
    • Just watch where you point those things, because they will destroy YOUR units just as easily as the Enemy's.
  • Sphere of Destruction: WMDs behave like this. They don't harm anything outside their (admittedly huge) blast radius, but everything that is in range takes full damage, no matter whether they're at ground zero or at the edge.
  • Stone Wall: Command Vehicles are the slowest ground unit, have a weak attack with a pathetic range and can survive a WMD at point blank range when fully upgraded.
  • Surveillance Drone: The Command Vehicle can deploy a UAV to a designated position on the map. Said UAV can be upgraded with a missile attack, turning it into an Attack Drone.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: As above. Can be subverted, either through superior numbers or through the timely application of a special ability. One of the notable examples of this are the Enforcers' Panther tanks: normally they're pretty much cannon fodder for enemy gunships, but once they get their special weapon upgrade they quickly turn into Goddamned Bats, being able to completely bring down enemy shields in one shot.
  • Take Cover!: Infantry out of cover or buildings are unlikely to survive long against other units, let alone effectively kill them. Once they are in cover, however...
  • Tank Goodness: Three beautiful examples. The American M5A2 Schwarzkopf, which can be described as a suped-up Abrams. The European 1A3 Panther is a sleek, high-tech Lightning Bruiser of a tank that runs on a hydrogen engine and features experimental microwave weaponry. The Russian T-100 Ogre is an iron monster of a tank sporting a massive 152mm main cannon, a flamethrower and a pair of machine-guns for anti-air work.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: The AI instantly knows if you have at least three units in WMD blast radius, no matter where those units are on the map and no matter whether the AI's units can see them or not. If you're not paying attention, an innocent move order to a gunship squad can result in half of your army getting instantly wiped out, followed by the AI's counterattack which can cost you the match.
  • The Siege: One of the battle types is called Siege. One faction is defending its capital, but gets no off-map support of any kind, including reinforcements and evacuations. Any of their units that are defeated in battle are killed off for good. They must keep the attackers from capturing a critical Uplink for 10 minutes until the cavalry arrives. The attackers meanwhile have to deal with highly durable fortifications that impede their progress, and combat drones that pose a threat to their mechanized forces.
  • That's No Moon: Ever play on the "USS Reagan Seabase" map? Fly the camera around the map after the battle and you'll see that a third of the base you're fighting in isn't a base at all, but a ship. (That also happens to be taller than the nearby skyscrapers) They weren't kidding when they said, "We're launching the attack from a mobile offshore base."
  • Theme Naming: Unit callsigns are all themed on something, varying from unit type to unit type and nation to nation. As an example, tank callsigns.
    • American Tanks are violent acts or forces. (Thunder, Butcher, Grinder)
    • Russian Tanks are beasts, some mythological. (Dragon, Mastodon, Rhino)
    • European Tanks are famous mountains in Europe. (Aneto, Olympus, Untersberg)
  • There Can Be Only One: Whoever wins, this is effectively the outcome of the war. Apparently, there's only room for one world superpower.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future
  • United Europe: The European Federation is comprised of most current European states, though it's mentioned that individual countries still exist within it. The UK, Ireland, and Switzerland are the pretty much only truly independent ones left, waiting it out before the fighting started.
  • Units Not to Scale: Thoroughly averted when it comes to units on the field (You can even watch individual soldiers walk into a transport). Played straight with transport helicopters. A single helicopter drops off 4 tanks, each as big as itself.
  • Vestigial Empire: By EndWar Online, every superpower is a shell of their former glory, with their armies scattered and much of their territories occupied by warlords, secessionists, and deserters.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Your units all have consistent names, consistent voices, and their experience carries over between missions, turning them into unholy terrors eventually. It's pretty hard not to get attached to them.
    • Heavily damaged units will take on a Stop Poking Me! attitude or outright panic. Ordering them to evacuate from the battlefield results in a response that's practically dripping of relief and thanks.
    • Your units also seem to get attached to you too, with their dialogue becoming more familiar and laid back as their rank (and amount of time under your command) increases.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Some people get high from killing off units.
    • There's also a case of What the Hell, Player? present. If you order units (mainly on the American and European sides) to kill incapacitated enemies, at least some will express reluctance if not outright disgust at the idea.
  • The War to End All Wars: The game's title is EndWar.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: What sometimes gets slung around late in a given match. If targeted on an Uplink, it permanently disables it, which can spell disaster if it's targeted properly.
    • The JSF gets a trio of satellite-launched kinetic rods dropped onto the target from space.
    • The EF gets a laser satellite nailing the target (and anyone nearby) with pinpoint precision.
    • The Spetznaz gets a good ol' cruise missile packing a fuel-air warhead.
  • Western Terrorists: What attacks the US, EF, and, supposedly, Russia? A bunch of angry ex-soldiers from collapsed nations. Funded by Russia to get the EF and US to waste each other.
  • World War III: Duh.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: After every battle in the WWIII campaign, there is a short news report. It NEVER mentions when any of the capitals are taken.
  • Zerg Rush: Sending a bunch of gunships at your enemy at the beginning of a match can work pretty well, with their high movement speed allowing them to get to the opposing landing zone before they can move all of their units away - if your opponent is prepared to deal with them, you can just run away with said high movement speed with minimal casualties.
    • However, an update added a wave of regular riflemen at the beginning of a match to discourage this behaviour.