Western Front PC strategy game impressions
For such a momentous time in human history that First World War was relatively underserved by video games. Mainly because the dominant scene of the conflict – the nightmarish trench warfare on the western front – is almost impossible to recreate in the medium.
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I mean you may Recreate it, a lot of games have it, but the problem is that – and I’m sorry for the ghastly reduction in source material here, but we’re talking about video games so I have to do this – it’s boring. Most other forms of warfare have become fantastic strategy games throughout human history because of their mobility. That makes them games. You can flank, drive, encircle and retreat. There are instant and actionable tactics you can employ.
The western front, on the other hand, was a meat grinder. Attacks involving thousands of men could result in gains of just a few yards. There was an enormous strategically Efforts underpinning the war, from recruitment to manufacturing to global supply lines, but tactically there is very little for the player to do Dowhich is why almost every game based on the conflict has been slow, bad, or both.
Which brings us to The Great War: Western Fronta new strategy game from Petroglyph, the studio behind it Star Wars: Empire at War And Universe at War: Attack on Earth. It attempts to approach the issue from a slightly different angle, which I can best summarize as “Total War meets Tower Defence”.
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The game is divided into two sections. There’s a strategic aspect where you move armies across a map in a turn-based system and then as two forces clash the action zooms into real-time combat. This RTS element itself has two stages; There is a planning and building phase, in which you design a network of trenches and firing positions, and a combat phase, in which you deploy units on the field and control them in real time.
The strategic stuff is fine. It works, it’s easy enough. However, it’s the RTS side of things that’s most interesting, and this is where the game shines and ultimately falls down.
The design and construction material is the highlight in the darkest way imaginable. Imagine a historical murder machine built the way you would assemble a LEGO set. You are given a map and can draw trench networks on it, choose the type of trench, map the supporting supply trenches, place machine gun nests and puzzle over the location of artillery batteries. If this was the gameand after that decisive battles like some sort of flood management/tower defense title, I think it could have been the best WWI game ever made.
Unfortunately, the moment a fight actually begins – perhaps as a nod to the actual conflict – everything falls apart. You control individual units, not entire lines of men, and a lot of the gameplay involves moving them around the map and trying to time your battles destructive artillery support Only To the right. The problem is that these units are oddly sticky, having trouble entering or staying in trenches properly, making them a nightmare to control, while the AI’s own tactics are often somehow worse than those used 100 years ago applied to actual battlefields.
That sucks the life out of the whole thing, which is a shame! There are a lot of good ideas here, and the presentation is surprisingly serious. There is a lot of information Company of Heroes2D cutscenes in the style of 2D, and the developers walk the line between respecting the horror of the conflict and expressing its brutality in the form of a video game, like every other WW1 release I can recall.
The Great War: Western Front is now available on Steam and the Epic Games Store.
https://kotaku.com/the-great-war-western-front-impressions-strategy-pc-1850286102 Western Front PC strategy game impressions