Apr 20, 2011Having been a big Men of War fan and enthusiastic modder ever since 'Soldiers Heroes of WW2' and subsequent games all unusually having different titles yet sharing a great deal in common in game engine and style of game play, I was rather surprised by the final result of Men of War: Assault Squad. It left me disappointed. Following are the reasons why.
Firstly the game is virtually a copyHaving been a big Men of War fan and enthusiastic modder ever since 'Soldiers Heroes of WW2' and subsequent games all unusually having different titles yet sharing a great deal in common in game engine and style of game play, I was rather surprised by the final result of Men of War: Assault Squad. It left me disappointed. Following are the reasons why.
Firstly the game is virtually a copy paste from the 'Vanilla' Men of War game. Now people may consider that a harsh thing to say, as veterans of the series will know that that's nothing new in the series and in fact most of the games current features, vehicles & units have all had previous lives all the way back to the aforementioned 'Soldiers'. In itself it's a good thing, a process of evolution from one title to the next. However this edition of the Men of War product is in my opinion failing to evolve and in many areas devolving instead. Many features such as skirmish mode have big design flaws as well as disastrous bugs that linger from older titles yet should have been the attention of developers. Skirmish mode is liner and repetitive with little in the way of grand tactical challenge, options being grab and hold ground like an enormous Pac Man made up of dozens of little screaming soldiers and chomp your way through a horde of enemy units that flood down a narrow battlefield limiting any concept of manoeuvre (a key aspect to any battle). Each skirmish map is a copy paste of the last, sticking the player into a new environment that despite being graphically impressive is mostly old scenery rearranged from the Vanilla game. Path finding is pathetic (no improvement from original) and should be better after all the years and needs to be corrected or even slightly improved. Examples being units wondering around aimlessly or not at all when called into battle, AI driving over its own defences and getting stuck.
Compared to Vanilla Men of War single player/co-op fails to be as fun or actually challenging in ways other than to time and sense. One of the key areas of the original being its carefully designed battles that gave the player a freedom despite its scripted nature. In fact I've looked at Assault Squad's scripts and found them to be lazy and limited by comparison to the earlier efforts and even more so the results.
Multiplayer claims to be better balanced and claims to be less about heavy units and in theory I understand the aim of the developers. The original tended to have a mechanic that led players to gravitate to heavy vehicles, yet light vehicles and infantry could easily out manoeuvre heavier tanks and the balance was arguably very good. The playing style as a lot to do with the results and the appearance of imbalance. Assault squad changes engagement ranges and weapon ballistics for all units to give a greater sense of realism which overall is a great idea that fails to adjust other game mechanics such as map sizes ad overall scale of the battlefield (showing the limits of the engine) and to take into account the view distance of the player and the ability to zoom out far enough to see what is being fired at and vice versa. It would have been a wise and simple change that has been sadly omitted (my guess is for frame rate issues??).
Plus points are to be found but are limited to fractionally better graphics and a few new maps (others being modified or removed from the core game altogether). Also the limited movement of the tank mounted Anti-Aircraft guns is a good change to make them less effective against infantry from the sides and rear (a simple change yet a wise one).
Overall the game fails to cover any new ground despite what major reviews suggest. People new to the series will no doubt admire the core game play and ideas but that isnt new to this game. Older players from previous games such as 'Soldiers HoWW2' and 'Faces of War' will possibly be disappointed. I know that quite a few enthusiastic players feel neglected and unhappy with the way the series is going. Digital Mindsoft seems intent to shed its old core of players and create a more mainstream game to compete with rival titles and seem more preoccupied with promoting the same material over and over using clever marketing and shiny graphics. Bye bye Men of War it's nothing personal just business.… Expand
Awards & Rankings
LEVEL (Czech Republic)May 22, 2011Interesting, although limited development of good RTS towards multiplayer. This game is not a groundbreaker but if you like playing cooperative military action games it has a great potential to entertain you. [Issue#203]