Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Men of War Assault Squad Review

Men of War Assault Squad is a explosive, exciting, intricate yet repetitive strategy game. In this game, developed by 1C Company, you may control Japanese, Russian, American, British and German forces during World War 2 battles, some of which may be based on historical battles but are not intended to be taken literally. This is the first Men of War game that has very little narrative, while the others before it all had a campaign with a good deal of story. This game has single player but it is all about multiplayer and it is certainly much more fun that way. It was released on February 24th.
In Assault Squad you may destroy your environment and use that environment as a tool to your victory. You also may personally equip each individual soldier/tank or vehicle. Everything has ammo, inventory, fuel and health. These are some of the unique aspects of this game that make it stand out against the myriad of World War 2 games out there, it even makes it comparable to the some of the great ones, like Company of Heroes by THQ/Relic.

In Assault Squad there are only skirmish missions for singleplayer, the same skirmish missions from multiplayer. They consist of three missions for each of the five countries. Skirmish missions are all very similar in certain ways, which I will get into later. They all have flags on a large map that you must take in order, each flag unlocks a certain new unit, or units, that you may call in. You have reinforcements and points for reinforcements that continually fill up throughout the game; you can increase the speed of refill of your points by capturing new points, as they each have a number value of points associated with each flag. Each country has their own specific and unique units they can call in and they also have their own special abilities they can use, all of which are unlocked through assaulting and controlling victory points. Some of my favorite special abilities are For the Motherland, calls in twenty to thirty lightly armed soviet infantry; Airborne, calls in a single airborne for a small amount of points anywhere on the map; Artillery Tanks, so far I've seen two different special artillery tanks that have huge range and decimate large areas of map but they do reload very slowly.

For multiplayer they have all the skirmish maps, which may be played with up to 8 players, and they have the game types; frontlines, victory zones and combat. Combat is just a battle that can be customized to whatever the host would like, be that no artillery, only tanks, only infantry or other options. Victory Zones is a capture and hold type of mode, there are a number of flags on the map and it is two teams. Each team must try to hold and control as many flags as they can in order to win. Frontlines, my favorite mode besides skirmish, is a fairly unique mode. One team attacks a section of the map with usually 6 capture zones, they have a specific number of reinforcement points, and the other team defends also with a specific amount of points in which to defend. The defenders get a minute or two to set up defenses before the attackers can do attack, while the attackers may choose what units they wish to bring out. Once the attackers take the first area of the map each side receives more reinforcement points and the fog of war disappears and the map is expanded. The defenders may see the entire map from the start but for the attackers it continually expands if they successfully capture enough areas.
Here are a few of things I like about the game.

+A lot of multiplayer maps
+A long lasting amount of skirmish maps
+Fairly decent amount of players on servers
+Pathfinding improved upon from previous games (Pathfinding is how well the units move across a game map)
+Five unique countries to play
+Destructible environment is your friend
+AI more responsive than in previous games (Units respond quickly to enemy units coming into range)
+Less technical difficulties
+Improved server functionality (Used to be a lot harder to maintain good connection to online games)

Here are a few things I don't like

-AI still isn't as good as other competing strategy games
-Very little singleplayer content
-Skirmish sometimes feels like your playing the same routine over and over
-AI on hard is overwhelming brutal
-Still a good deal of connection problems for online
-A little too much micromanaging sometimes
-Difficult to rearm/refuel vehicles or weapons
-Framerate can get slow near the end of skirmish games, due to a large amount of destroyed vehicles/weapons and the bodies of soldiers all over.

It seems like there's a lot I don't like about the game but thats not necessarily true, they are more hopes for future Men of War games than things I horribly dislike with Assault Squad. This is a great game for multiplayer and a lot of fun for anyone who likes strategy games, although it is not as user friendly as Dawn of War 2 or Company of Heroes. I have played every single Men of War game so far and am a veteran of many strategy games. I purchased this game from http://www.getgamesgo.com/on a sale for $25, it Retails for $35, and play it through steam. Currently it is on sale for $27 on that very website. It is often on sale so if you are interested check out steam every so often and also rock paper shotguns RPS bargain bucket. See you on the battlefield.
Violent Score: 8.5 out of 10

Written by Sean Cargle


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