Apr 3, 2014A true successor os S: HOWW2. Missions may be less in number (only 9 actual missions), but they take much more time to complete. The last Allied mission (where you start in a flooded city and in the end you have to take out some artillery fortifications, took me like 6 hours...of INTENSE gameplay. And I add that I played it in tactics mode. Have to say anything else? One bullet from nowhere may just 1-shot your soldier. It is not funny at all. But this way the game is intense and makes you act fast and think fast at the same time. After 1 mission you will really need some rest. Unfortunately you cannot pause and issue orders in the same way as in S: HOWW2 which is something vital and the reason I rate it 9/10 and not 10/10.
Graphics. Pretty cool. Camera fully rotating, fully zooming, nice animations and physics. The game was released in 2006 and for that period its graphics must have been stunning. The environment is realistic and detailed, fully destructible and takes you to the area where the actual battle took place. The figures move smoothly, spill blood, fall down or get launched by explosions very nicely. Physics is a strong aspect of this game. Even heavy tanks demolish buildings when they pass through them. I was in ISU-2 and was literally smashing everything on my pass. Fun times…
As I mentioned before, there are not many missions to play. Just 9 (3 for Soviet, 3 for Allies, 3 for Teutons). But you will need hours to complete just 1 mission, and after that you will need some rest…it is intense, especially with tactics mode. And here I have to explain something about it. You will just die as easily as the enemy, so your mistakes will be punished even harsher. You rush towards machine gunners who are behind road blocks? In seconds all your squad will be empty red bars. You will have to throw grenades, take an indirect approach and then throw grenades again to make them get out of cover. This is what we mean “tactics”. So yeah you will have to use tactics even more than before. It will be too intense though and I sometimes got pissed that 1 random bullet could just kill my guy 1-shot. Many people say that AI is not smarter on tactics etc etc. I inform you that it might not be smarter (AI in 2006 was still something under development, so stop qq’ing…nowadays titles have even worse AI), but it will hit MUCH harder. And this is enough to make the game more challenging. The difficulty gap is obvious if you play both tactics and arcade.
The AI thingy…yeah it is not perfect, but still can make you feel desperate. It knows damn well how to come out from nowhere to **** you up. Enemy infantry waiting patiently hidden behind some obstacle for your tank to pass by and then throw an AT grenade (or even Panzershreck) at it from 2meters. Boom. And boom you are dead. You made the mistake not to support the tank with infantry! Since it is AI, it HAS to be overwhelming in such a game. It HAS to make you feel that the odds are impossible. This is how it becomes challenging. And I like it. I will always remember missions that made me play them for hours, and in the end I was sore. So, no matter how, the AI manages to make it tough. Do not expect some walk in the park.
Again, this game, like its predecessors (S: HOWW2 and Silent Heroes) and its successors (Men Of War series) is made for HC gamers of this SPECIFIC style. Yes we like the micromanagement. Yes we like to start with 100 bullets and loot the rest 1000 from dead corpses. Yeah we like to see enemies 10 times our number to attack us and have to kill them all. And we damn adore not having to build bases to replenish our losses. Each soldier for us is something that must not die. Ever. In other games grenade is an ability with CD. Here, you can throw all your grenades one after another. Your only limit is how many you actually have in your inventory. Realistic? Yes. Fun? Even more. Sometimes though, the action is so fast that you do not have time to breathe and replenish ammo from bodies. But in general, if you are careful and not careless, you will not have such a problem. This game has the habit to make you walk at its pace, and not at YOUR pace. More challenges and we like them.
If you are not ready for some owning from the AI, at least in the beginning when you will be getting acquainted with the changes from S: HOWW2 (if you have not played you should not read this review and not even try this game), do not try it. You WILL cry. It is one of the games I have played from start to end on tactics mode and I feel proud. Last allied mission. I had to take out some artillery defenses above a beach. It was some kind of fort with 2meter walls, narrow corridors WITHOUT ceiling. Instead of bashing my head in these corridors in front of some MG’s, I took a soldier outside and he was throwing grenades above the 2-3m wall on the heads of the enemy soldiers inside. It was thinking that made it possible and not numbers and zerging like in other…”strategy” games.… Expand
In most ways the game feels like so many European developed RTS titles that fail to connect with gamers that it's only the Direct Control function (and the well known logo of Ubisoft) that lifts it ever so slightly out of the crowd of other strategy games developed across mainland Europe.