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Thursday | December 8, 2016
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Order Of War (PC)

Order Of War (PC)

Order Of War is a real time strategy game developed by Wargaming.net and published by the legendary Square Enix. You take control of the American Forces from Operation Overlord and the invasion of Normandy as well as the German troops from Operation Bagration, Russia’s final push during WW2.

The presentation is absolutely fantastic with wonderfully designed mission briefings as well as an easy to access menu system and intuitive UI. These briefings are an unusual mix of historical war footage with computer rendered 3D images of vehicles and other cell shaded facets to thoroughly describe your upcoming duties.

While Order of War may sound initially like a ‘run of the mill’ WW2 strategy game the differences are clearly evident in the scale and epic nature of the title. You can command a wide range of unit types from small groups of soldiers to full armies – comprising tanks, planes and artillery – seeing hundreds of units litter the screen at any one time is truly a sight to behold.

Some strategy games are aimed at the hardcore player but Order Of War has a clear focus on a more mainstream audience allowing a relative newbie to the genre to drop right into combat without overloading the senses with pixel perfect micromanagement. This is also verified by the fact that individual units can’t be commanded directly but they are grouped together as a ‘company’. This really translates to a system which will pair 50 or so infantry soldiers together as one unit and the same applies to the armored side of the equation. While it may sound oversimplified, it does offer a huge scale of combat possibilities without becoming a mad mouse dash as you attempt to control every single unit on the battlefield.

The interface (much like the action) is rather straightforward with icons along the bottom right of the screen showing available units grouped into companies. Along the top of the right side of the screen you can see which units are available to buy and how many credits they will cost. After purchasing it is then sent through to the nearest area under your control.

Controlling the units is a rather standardized affair and you can move them to face in the direction you wish – a rather important aspect of movement because if you have tanks pointing away from enemy fire it can mean the difference between victory and being carried away in a bodybag. Combat is also enhanced by a system which allows the player to ascertain the weapons range of all the units. This same methodology also applies to enemy units, you can click them to get a clear view of their range against friendly units in their vicinity.

The battlefields are expansive, comprising a terrain area of multiple kilometers across various surfaces such as rivers and mountainscapes. The developers have also included an interesting concept of allowing transport trucks to be brought into the battlefield to move men and artillery from one area to another. Players are also able to purchase aerial and artillery strikes – this is tied into the number of control points you currently hold and is a nice touch to add more value to controlling areas of the map. Sometimes a critically positioned airstrike can make a huge difference when trying to take over a heavily defended zone. When players complete a mission there are points given for successfully achieving main and secondary objectives as well as extra points handed out for a good ratio of kills to losses. These points can be subsequently spent on upgrades for future missions which allow you to enhance firepower and accuracy as well as increasing movement speed.

The American campaign is excellent with a solid historical background and it starts on the morning of June 6, 1944 as the U.S Airborne unleashed thousands of paratroopers behind the German lines just before the beach assault. Unusually for many strategic games there is also a solid focus on the German side of WW2 and you can control their units if you wish to step outside the usual confines normally forced on gamers in this genre. It might be a little controversial to allow people to control ‘the bad guys’ of such a prominent war setting but it is handled with suitable neutrality and the focus is merely on the battlefield action and none of the nasty SS antics (which would offend many).

Overall, the game is solid however I found that there was often the option for ‘turtling’ – which basically means you aren’t often punished for spending your money on defenses and turning away enemy attacks as you expand. Eventually after many defenses are built you can then spend money on unit building and form your own attack, overrunning the enemy positions with relative ease. Increasing the difficulty level to hard somewhat helps to make the AI more aggressive, but it seems still limited as the enemy appears to be often forced within a specific financial limitation.

The realism is also ruined slightly by unusual firing patterns from tanks and artillery – more than once I noticed a missile being launched at a low angle and managing to travel through a mountainous terrain section to hit an enemy on the other side. The collision detection also needs more work as friendly tanks will run over your own soldiers yet not harm them in any way – its not a major issue, nor is it exclusive to Order Of War, but it does ruin the immersive element of the game when it is noticed.

Graphically the game is impressive with extremely highly detailed environments, fantastic textures and an effective use of particle effects. With so many units on screen there has been a noticeable drop in animation quality but it really isn’t that noticeable unless you really study the units up close. Maxing all the settings at high resolution requires a formidable gaming machine with a GTX260 (or 4870) and high clocked dual core CPU a requirement. Lesser machines will run the game fine but lower resolutions or settings will be needed.

The audio side of the game is also impressive and the decision to use american actors for the german side of the campaign works well, even if it does sound a little daft. The score is very appealing with a suitably epic orchestral feel pervading the experience and if you have a good speaker configuration, every bang and explosion is realistically reproduced.

In regards to the value for money aspect of the game, it took me 16 hours to complete the single player missions and I played on a higher difficultly level. After completing the single player campaigns there is a multiplayer mode which offer both online battles and AI skirmishes for two or four players. You can also take control of the Red Army which is not an option in the single player campaign.

Order Of War is a game which is sure to appeal to the majority of WW based strategy players. Those who love micromanaging and a more complex overall gameplay mechanic might be underwhelmed with the options but for the average gamer I feel there is quite a lot to take from the experience. Recommended to the general strategic oriented public.

Gameplay
82

Great, epic, fast paced strategic battles. A little ‘easy’ overall, particularly for genre veterans.
Graphics
88
Massively impressive terrain and unit quality only marred by less than stellar animations.
Sound
78
Musical score and effects are excellent and the voice acting is pretty good too.
Value
79
Between 15 and 20 hours gameplay in single player mode with other options for multiplayer.
Overall
82

A solid RTS game

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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