Order of War
Order of War takes an interesting approach to the WWII genre by offering a window into both sides of the conflict
- Little needless micromanagemen,; interface is good and easy to get used too, accessible, two campaigns offer plenty of variety
- Gameplay is too simplistic, uninspired
Offering mostly familiar gameplay and a traditional World War II environment, Order of War doesn't introduce quite enough new content for those who've been around these bases before.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
Welcome to the War
According to video game releases, it would seem that the Second World War is conducted every couple of weeks. Some of these wartime titles garner pretty high expectations, but most of them, like the recently released Order of War, boast nothing more than what's readily expected from the real time strategy genre with a dash of World War II thrown in for good measure.
Order of War takes an interesting approach to the genre by offering a window into both sides of the conflict, asking players to take command of both American and German forces as the game progresses. I found myself taking control of opposing officers during both the Invasion of Normandy and on the Eastern Front where I attempted to delay the Soviet advances towards Germany. Owing to this, Order of War does have a good amount of variety throughout its missions, going from paratrooper action on the first days of Operation Overlord to epic tank battles in the east to large urban conflicts in the space of only a few missions.
Boredom Punctuated With Sheer Terror
The gameplay, however, doesn't have quite as much variety. Order of War's most astounding feature is its reliance on the simplicity of basic combat rules, almost in a rock/paper/scissors type fashion: infantry beats infantry, tanks beat infantry, anti-tank guns beat tanks, etc. While this can usually be a base criticism of most RTS systems, Order of War doesn't have enough going for it when it comes to other gameplay mechanics to really excuse its lack of development in this area. This comes somewhat hand in hand with how missions usually unfold: you're given simple objectives from higher ups and expected to complete them with your assigned forces. Simple enough, right? Since your objectives are relatively straightforward, and because there is essentially no fog-of-war, the game tends to straitjacket its players into an all-too predictable pattern.
This isn't to say that everything about the game is disappointing. Rookie developers Wargaming.net still manage to insert some generally interesting ideas into Order of War, such as the game's elegant, unobtrusive interface. This allows players to move their forces around with ease while also changing formations and direction -- a system very similar to that of World in Conflict. Also similar is the fact that units are generally small groups of tanks, guns or infantry which helps to reinforce the ease to which you can move units and devise more complex ways over which you can attack enemy positions.
In the end, Order of War is a typical World War II RTS through and through. It does what its supposed to do, namely provide two campaigns and some skirmish play, but that's about it. The one thing I found unusual in Order of War is the degrees to which it stands out in its inability to do anything remarkable, and more jaded strategy gamers could well assume that Order of War was developed off a checklist by committee, devoid of any real inspiration. Surely it's not a bad game, but only one you'll get around to looking at after you've finished playing everything else out there.
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