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Theatre Of War 2 : Africa 1943 (PC)

Theatre Of War 2 : Africa 1943 (PC)


TOW 2: Africa 1943 is the sequel to the successful Theatre Of War and features a huge sense of scale as well as intuitive camera structuring to let the gamers get right into the heat of the battle. There are some issues however which could possibly ruin the experience for many which we will detail in the review today.

The title focuses on real life events in North Africa within a specific month in 1943. There are three campaigns, one for the Axis, British and Americans and all of these are epic in scope letting you take part in assaults on cities and defending key locations from attack. The only downside is the comparative scaled down nature of the missions compared to the original title which may annoy fans of the franchise. To balance this a little the developers are offering a game creation tool so you can make your own battles.

An integral part of the game is developer Battlefronts focus on the ultimate realism of the mechanic which means the game differs from many strategic war games on the market. It implements a sophisticated system for line of sight as well as unit moral which is intently focused on real life situations. There are a plethora of other options in the code which reflect the fluctuating nature of a real life battle and although the option allows you to turn these off, they really do add a sense of realism I have not experienced in many other strategy titles. When it comes to strategy games I have high demands so this appeals to me and the fact that the AI system analyses each weapon fired with possible outcomes is a staggering achievement.

So far it all seems incredibly positive but there are some issues with the realism which I need to mention. Firstly, while it is great to have one of your soldiers able to climb into any enemy tank and control it, the game somewhat unrealistically doesn’t seem to analyse a pre defined set of skill sets … after all commanding a formidable weapon such as a tank requires training. It may seem that I am being overly critical, however with such an emphasis on the dynamic realism it does bear a mention.

The game design has been enhanced when compared with the original however the interface is still up for some improvement. While I admire the developer for creating such an elaborate UI, there are so many icons and buttons to press that it can be really easy to lose the flow of combat at times while you struggle to remember exactly were to go. It is imperative that the manual is absorbed from cover to cover before any indepth game play is attempted, something I found out after a bit of trial and error.

Another UI issue is the selection of the units which I found a little troublesome, mainly because of the huge icons which float above the units and the rather tight clickable area in their vicinity. Some people might be put off by the fact that when one of your units is destroyed the game enters a pause mode to alert you, but you can be sure that a unit offscreen will get your full attention. If this proves to be annoying (and it can be in huge battles) the developers have allowed this to be disabled, but you have to quit the game and run a seperate EXE, which is rather a convoluted process.

Graphically the game is stunning, featuring wide open vistas with incredible texture detail and the models are also impressive. All the tanks are lovingly recreated and the detailed explosions, fire and smoke all help to create the illusion of a gritty war setting. The animations are also impressively handled and the soldiers realistically fall to the ground when taking cover from enemy fire. The game however does require a lot of power and I noticed some performance issues if I dropped graphics hardware lower than a 260 GTX at high resolution and even a quad core processor seems to help performance when the bullets start flying. If you have even modestly performing hardware I suggest you purchase with caution as it can drop into slideshow framerates if your system doesn’t meet the grade. I am hoping that the engine can be optimized more with some patches in the not too distant future.

The audio side is a little lacking with repetitive unit acknowledgements becoming irritating after a while, however the battle sounds are relatively impressive, if a little bland. There is no music at all in the game which I find quite refreshing, especially when I can remember the last strategy title I played having hideous manga style electronic overtones.

Unfortunately there are some issues with stability which I noticed during testing and there are documented cases of crashing when saving and loading saved games. I am not sure if it because I am using an SSD on Vista 64bit in my gaming PC but I experienced very few of these issues, although I did experience several Nvidia driver BSOD’s.

Theatre Of War 2 is an intelligent game with wonderfully detailed environments and lovingly created units, unfortunately there are some issues which threaten to destroy the experience – fingers crossed a patch will be released shortly. Game stability and a poorly optimised engine mean that only those with patience and access to high end hardware will get extended enjoyment and when you couple this with the cluttered UI it becomes a recommendation strictly for a small audience.


Wonderfully realistic but the wow factor fades into annoyance with some rather big game issues.
Massively detailed in all areas but demands high performance hardware.
Explosions and ambient noises work well. Annoying speech and no music.
Hard to recommend with the issues, but some people will fall in love with the realism.

Recommended, but with caution.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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