Developed by French Eugen Systems and published by Atari, Inc., Act of War: High Treason delivers a fairly standard RTS experience in the vein of Command & Conquer Generals. Though elsewhere in the world it is known an expansion pack, the North American version is considered to be a sequel and a standalone game, not requiring its predecessor, Act of War: Direct Action, to play.
High Treason's story takes place three years after Direct Action's conclusion, on the cusp of the U.S. presidential election. The day before the results are to be announced, a wave of violence suddenly swells, resulting in the President being killed by a bomb while leaving the White House and the two presidential candidates, Vice President Cardiff and Senator Watts, coming under attack. Cardiff manages to survive while Watts is killed. Cardiff, as Vice President and the sole surviving candidate, becomes President by default. In the aftermath of the attacks, multiple government officials and military leaders are arrested on charges of conspiracy with regards to the assassination, including Major Richter and his Task Force Talon.
Defeating the trap at Fort McCoy set by Colonel Whitmore, leader of a Red Cell military group, TFT tracks a shipment of X-357 biovirus to Cancun, Mexico. There they find out that the Consortium is still alive and working with Red Cell. TFT hijacks a Consortium corvette to chase after the Consortium submarines carrying the virus. The submarine docks in Cuba where the TFT discover that the entire country is under Consortium control. TFT sets out to find Dr. Morello, a biological weapons expert. Though they fail to find the doctor, TFT discovers that Senator Watts is alive and that President Cardiff is allied with the Consortium, responsible for the former President's death.
TFT escorts Senator Watts back to the US to testify to Congress while continuing to track the X-357 virus. Red Cell loads the virus into a space shuttle protected by three US Army units. TFT attempts to stop the shuttle launch but is unsuccessful. Congres votes to impeach President Cardiff, resulting in the reinstatement of military leaders and two of the three US Army units to cease fire. The last unit however, the 104th Airborne, is still under Colonel Whitmore's command and continues to fight. TFT tracks the shuttle to Central Asia and together with a multinational coalition, the virus is destroyed. Senator Watts becomes President and TFT goes on vacation in the Bahamas.
Several gameplay mechanics have been changed in the High Treason expansion. Healing units no longer cast a constant slow healing aura but is now an ability that must be cast. The new healing aura heals faster but only for a few seconds and must go through a cool down period. Veterancy goes up to five levels as opposed to three; the highest ranked units, represented by a star, will increase the veterancy of all units in the vicinity. Fixed wing air strikes can be cancelled and the status of air strikes made more apparent to the player.
High Treason adds a naval warfare mode where players can build and command naval vessels in addition to the standard ground and air units their faction has. Naval warfare features VTOL aircraft that can be directly commanded like helicopters. Players must start the game up in Naval mode in order to access naval units
Several new units and upgrades were added to each faction and units from Direct Action are modified for balance. The MLRS and Piranha units from the previous game are reclassified as heavy artillery units. Heavy artillery units have long range but their accuracy decreases at longer range.
New Units and Upgrades
- Future Force Warrior
- GUOs Drones upgrade
- Oil-Vein Nano Saturation upgrade
- Objective Crew-Served Weapon
- Spinner Tacit Rainbow Launcher
- F-35 BLU-144 Blackout Bomb upgrade
- Sea Hawk helicopter
- San Antonio class destroyer
- Seawolf class submarine
- DD(X) class destroyer
- Polaris Sniper Buggy
- KA-58 Black Ghost stealth helicopter
- Hind AT-6 Missile upgrade
- Railgun turret Emergency Backup upgrade
- Tu-160 Blackjack bomber
- Cougar helicopter
- Visby class stealth corvette
- Bison class amphibious assault ship
- Typhoon class submarine
- Tarantul class corvette
- Sea Shadow stealth carrier
Two new multiplayer modes are added
- Marine One Down: There is no base building or resource collection in this mode. Players must control the "President" unit and escort him to their evac zone. Units spawn via occupied Checkpoint Bunkers in set intervals
- SCUD Hunt: A regular game but tactical and counter-tactical weapons are removed. A SCUD launcher is placed in the center of the map that can be controlled by infantry in its proximity. The SCUD launcher can be launched every three minutes and do more damage than tactical weapons. When destroyed, the SCUD launcher explodes with a large blast radius, preventing players from keeping the SCUD safe in their base.
There are three playable factions in High Treason: the U.S. Army, Task Force Talon, and the Consortium.
- United States Army: Includes the four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: The Navy, the Air Force, the Army and the Marine Corps. This faction's units tend to be more capable of taking and dishing out punishment, however the units are much more specialized, less flexible and tend to fall victim to the 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' mentality of RTS games.
- Task Force Talon: Abbreviated as TFT in game, their units are the most flexible of the game. Though not as strong in a straight forward fight as the U.S. Army, they are equipped with the latest technology and weaponry which allows unparalleled flexibility
- Consortium: This faction is a very large terrorist organization whose units focus primarily on stealth and guerrilla warfare. Unlike most RTS games that include a terrorist faction, they are well-equipped with advanced technology and weaponry, as opposed to using an outdated and improvised arsenal.
High Treason also introduced a fourth, non-traditional faction: Mercenaries. Unable to be chosen as a playable faction, they are instead hired by the player at Mercenary Outposts on the map. When hired, there are two fees -- one for deployment that acts as insurance for the team members, and one for retainer. The deployment fee can be refunded, in part or in full, based on the condition that the mercenary team is in when they are released from player control and evacuated off of the battlefield. The retainer is a small, rolling fee every five seconds that keeps the mercenaries under player control and on the field of battle. The retainer fee is increased depending on the kind of mercenary that is hired. There are three different kinds of mercenary teams for hire, each with three different units available under that category.
Official Mercenaries: Fairly standard military units. Low deployment cost, low retainer.
- Schwarzer Hund Team: Consists of five close combat soldiers.
- Grizzly Rescue Team: Consists of five combat medics. Heals nearby infantry every twenty seconds.
- Dogs of War: Consists of two AA-Tanks. Incapable of firing on anything other than air units.
Unofficial Mercenaries: Made up of more advanced, specialized and powerful military units. Medium deployment cost, medium retainer.
- Iron Rain: Consists of three Su-25 aircraft, fitted for anti-vehicle combat. Ineffective/incapable of targeting other units.
- Death Wing: Consists of three Su-27 Flankers, fitted for anti-air combat. Ineffective/incapable of targeting other units.
- Burning Legion: Consists of three T-80 tanks.
Illegal Mercenaries: Highly advanced, powerful units. High deployment cost, high retainer.
- Rawhide: Consists of three artillery units. Effective against unarmored/lightly armored ground units.
- Shadow Hawk: Allows for deployment of a F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Bomber. Drops one bomb with a decent blast radius.
- Fireworks: Deploys a truck with stealth capabilities that has the ability to deploy a nuclear bomb at a player designated location. It can then be detonated from either the bomb itself or the truck. Large damage radius. The truck should be moved away from the blast radius in order to evacuate and recover the high deployment fee.
A patch was released April 12, 2006 with an improved version of the patch released on May 2 of the same year. The patch included multiple improvements to the original release, fixing issues with pathfinding, improving general performance and other various bugs. The most notable features included in the patch were the Map Editor and the Modding Tool. The Map Editor is fairly standard, allowing the user to create their own maps while also having the ability to convert maps from the previous installment into playable ones for High Treason. The Modding Tool granted the user the ability to edit virtually anything else they pleased in the game. With it, the user was able to add and create their own units and buildings, as well as modify content that existed originally in the game.
PC System Requirements
- Windows 2000/XP
- 1.5GHz Processor
- 256MB RAM
- 7GB Hard Disk Space
- 2X DVD-ROM Drive
- DirectX compatible Sound Card
- 64MB ATi Radeon 8500 or nVidia GeForce 3 class Video Card
- DirectX 9.0c
Despite having no FMV movies, High Treason requires 7GB of hard drive space in contrast to Direct Action's 6GB of hard drive space.