Imagine a world where a resurgent Russia is stirring up trouble among its neighbors.

Doesn’t call for much imagination these days, does it?

That’s one element that makes "Tom Clancy’s EndWar" so interesting. Another is a voice-activated command system that does a good job of putting you in the middle of the action.

Ubisoft’s T-rated game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is set a little more than a decade in the future, when tensions among the United States, Europe and Russia send the three sides careening into war — after a forceful shove from the Kremlin.

You can play as the commander of a rapid-deployment force on any of the sides. It’s your job to use your riflemen, engineers, tanks, transports, helicopters and artillery to secure key positions and/or eliminate the enemy.

Although you can call in reinforcements when a unit’s eliminated, you don’t have to worry about establishing bases, gathering resources or other hassles common in similar games.

However, the biggest thing that sets "EndWar" apart from other tactical simulations is its interface. Instead of a complex combination of buttons, knobs and triggers, most control can be handled via voice commands.

Although the system seems a bit complex at first glance, the tutorial — which leads you through the war’s opening skirmishes — does an excellent job of easing you into command. Each unit is designated by a number and each key point is designated by a letter. Each command is issued with a brief phrase. You typically state the unit you want to act, the action and the enemy or location that should receive the action. For example, the command to send helicopter gunships to blast some tanks might state: "Unit 9 attack Hostile 4." Commands for air strikes or upgrading units or data uplinks are a bit different.

The fact that I’m barking out commands instead of twiddling my thumbs helps me get into the game. However, if you’re a dedicated buttonmaster who can twiddle faster than you can talk, you can still handle everything the old-school way.

When you initially launch the game on your console, you’ll need to calibrate the voice-command system to match your voice. Mine worked beautifully.

The other big difference is the game’s visual presentation. Instead of viewing the action from a seat in the stratosphere, you’re among your troops. You can switch from unit to unit, but you’ll always be with your men. This, too, helps you feel like you’re part of the action.

Since you spend a lot of time at ground level, you notice that the unit renderings and animations are good, though not great. Similarly, the battlefield maps look good, but don’t expect building-for-building depictions of the cities they represent. So, while Washington offers a pretty good representation of the National Mall, don’t expect to find Stripes’ office.

You can play through a campaign, single-player skirmish or online. Ubisoft also plans to develop an online persistent campaign.

Overall, "EndWar" is a solid tactical simulation, but the engaging voice-command system gives it a good hook that might draw new gamers to the tactical genre.

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3On the Web:

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