Men of War Preview

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Publisher: 1C
Developer: Best Way

Platform: PC
Official Site:

Two students, Smirnov and Kuznetov, have found themselves wrenched from the pleasantries of academic life to fight against the invading troops of Hitler's Germany. As they are bloodied and promoted in Men of War, they follow the Soviet campaign resisting the German invasion in a tale that ultimately turns to include German and Allied missions that take players through Russia, North Africa, Europe and the Pacific.

Projected Release: September 2008
Kyle Ackerman

Men of War is, in fact, another strategy game set during World War II. But once I took a deep breath, sat down at the PC and began to play, Men of War quickly grabbed me. Moments later, the game had me frantically and excitedly helping a few entrenched soldiers hopelessly defend their assigned positions from an overwhelming onslaught of German panzers. After repositioning artillery, hiding a few riflemen in the brush, adjusting the inventory of individual soldiers and watching my men slow the blitzkrieg at the expense of their lives, I was quickly convinced that Men of War should offer both the tactical depth and graphical horsepower to be a worthy WWII strategy game.

While Men of War fits in the general category of real-time strategy games, the focus is, rather, on tactics. There's no base-building or resource-collecting, and while it's possible to call reinforcements, battles are more about husbanding resources, positioning troops and making the right call at the right time. There's an incredible amount of detail in Men of War, and it's not all hidden beneath the hood. Individual soldiers have inventories, so I needed to remember who had the repair kit that could bring a tank's turret back online, and to watch out lest my men run out of ammunition and just crouch, awaiting death. That level of detail should make individual missions both fascinating and replayable, as there are clearly a lot of approaches to defeating the enemy.

In my time with the game, control over individual soldiers led to some heroic situations. The approaching German forces had destroyed my anti-tank guns, so I instructed one brave infantryman to put aside his rifle, run out of the trench and hurl a grenade at the sole remaining tank (in what turned out to be one of several waves). He was brutally gunned down. But the second brave comrade I so ordered succeeded before succumbing to enemy fire and managed to decommission the enemy tank, giving his allies a few precious seconds to reinforce the trenches.

I got to spend time with the Soviet campaign, but Men of War will also include Allied and German campaigns for a total of 19 regular missions and seven bonus missions. If the graphical and military detail I saw in the Soviet missions (ranging from repairing a tank and breaking a village's occupation to defending nearly indefensible lines) are echoed in the other campaigns, Men of War should look and play extremely well, especially for gamers who are fond of micromanaging to the level of individual soldiers. In fact, if Men of War has a challenge, it's going to be sufficient tutorials to introduce all the game's features.

I didn't get a chance to try Men of War's multiplayer, but an extensive multiplayer game is planned and should include Japan as a fourth, playable side. Multiplayer games promise a variety of game modes, including a capture-the-flag style of play and a mode that centers on securing "high-value cargo."

Men of War may not be slated to tread a lot of new ground in WWII-themed strategy games, but it looks poised to improve on what has come before with impressive graphics and an unprecedented level of detail, right down to what individual soldiers are carrying in their knapsacks.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on June 8, 2008 8:50 AM.

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