@shingro Sounds a hell of a lot like the mileage they’re getting out of the Men of War engine. Cheers for the response.
Tagged: Men of War Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
Just a gentle heads-up for anyone who wants the most deliciously intricate and fabulously versatile real-time tactical strategy game. There’s a huge Steam sale on the Men of War series. Men of War: Assault Squad is what you want, and the GOTY edition can be had for a mere ten bones, with the vanilla a minuscule seven. @bowlisimo has been in the thick of it and has many a tale to tell. I certainly encourage anyone with a few friends who’re willing to indulge in a little co-op to get in on this deal.
A wonderful game. Assault Squad is a quintessential co-op strategy game like nobody’s business. Or somebody’s business. Many, hopefully.
Should be a hoot, that Ni no Kuni.
Tangentially…I mentioned this to @feenwager, but good heavens, Rayman Origins OST is by far the finest game soundtrack I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing/listening to in years. Not only that, but it continues to be utter soul food.
@bowlisimo Magnificent work on the co-op. And yeah, quite strange with the reinforcements aspect, I never really was sure what the caper was in the grab-bag of who gets what. But it’s glorious, regardless.
@impynickers I remember trying Baldur’s Gate multiplayer once. It was novel at the time, but I didn’t like it. I don’t really remember why either. That game is so finely tuned as a single player experience that it may have just been the presence of someone else’s will that threw everything off (which I admit, is weird since it’s a D&D game). There’s also a lot text to read, inventory to fuck with, and menus to go through that MMOs have since managed to streamline in a multiplayer setting. Then there’s the whole problem of actually getting it finished, it’s a long game. Good luck!
@unmanneddrone I did. I Steam-traded Amnesia and Serious Sam HD: 2nd Encounter and got Assault Squad for one of my buddies. It’s just as fun, except you can actually micro more with another mind roving over the battlefield. The only really stupid thing about it, is that the person who calls in a unit, doesn’t necessarily get control of that unit. If you have more units than the other guy when you call it in, the other player will just get control automatically. This leads to weird situations where you call in a squad and 2 out of the 8 guys will be under the control of the other player, or you call in some armor, wonder where the hell it is, and realize it’s sitting on the edge of the map. The saving grace of this is that you can give control to the other player, thank god, so it’s still playable.
@impynickers You just missed a Gamersgate sale, where the Men of War games were going for a song. They even had the 1C complete pack for 20 bucks – around 80-odd titles from the Eastern Bloc, even with Men of War: Vietnam Special Edition.
It’ll be on sale again soon. I’ll keep an eye out. One of the finest and most intricate experiences a fellow can have. It’s a meat grinder, but the stories…the war stories…
@bowlisimo My heart shucks its caul of viscous ooze in happiness to hear Men of War continues to float the boat. So much detail, so many options. It’s rather tough to describe just how awesome it is to a passer-by, but once you get your hands dirty in Assault Squad, no other RTT feels quite as enjoyable at that level.
Did you get co-op working? I still weep at our valiant attempt.
@beige Relatedly, activate a certain code!
The free Witcher 2 EE patch is out. I think it’s time to go back and see how that lovable asshole Roche’s side of things played out, you know, that whole ENTIRE ACT of the game that I didn’t get to play since I ran off with Iorveth and got all dwarfy (I regret nothing). I could really use some good dark fantasy right about now.
@unmanneddrone Can I just submit all of my mp3s? Also, I’m still playing Men of War. Finished all the skirmish maps on medium, definitely got your money’s worth. That game… I just realized I could take an mg42 off of a disabled half track and have one of my soldiers rambo around with it. The incredible depth of the micro management in a real-time strategy game like that is still astounding. “No. No! I don’t have time to drop some fresh mortars off to the mortar team, go find a gun or something, I’m coordinating the entire battlefield here.”
@cgrajko Demon’s Souls! Demon’s Souls!
@bowlisimo I became more and more unnerved the longer I descended. Thought I was a big boy after Amnesia and Cryostasis! But yeah, not a bad effort for a two day stuff-about with Unity!
And co-op connection shouldn’t be a problem, going by past experiences with friends in the Pre-Cambrian mire that is the Australian post-Millennial Internet experience.
Aim in definitely in the reach zone!
I generally can’t game on during the day, but if a weekend free of my female dominas can be wrangled, it is on. Whisky and World War II.
@bowlisimo Yeah, it either works for you or doesn’t…not the terminating part, just the atmosphere. If you look on the wall at each landing, you can see what level you’re on. It’s a touch of a spoiler, but the original SCP report it was based on is worth reading after you’ve gotten your fill.
Also, if I were home for the weekend and alone, I’d very much love to co-op a little Men of War with you. In the event that this situation ever occurs and you’re willing, we shall co-op. And enjoy Rossignol’s million little victories and losses. Oh, also…I cannot remember the selection process, but I remember selecting a squad of stormtroopers and a Panzer VI, then hitting the direct control toggle, whereby I was the tank and the squad formed up in a double column behind and we pressed in the enemy’s line. SO GOOD. Until, undoubtedly, my Panzer got disabled…or worse, exploded after an engine strike and killed my goose-stepping entourage.
@impynickers Yu Narukami? Pshh, he’ll always be Charlie Tunoku to me.
@beige Interesting thought there, about the dregs of the internet being the best qualified to pen a game like that. So…does that make 4chan worthwhile?
@unmanneddrone No amazing war stories at the moment, although at one point I did have a convoy of two half tracks full of rangers and an m10 tank destroyer roll up to the front while I had the MGS4 Love theme playing, needless to say, that ended up like the ambush scene in Clear and Present Danger.
I REALLY need a coop buddy for that game.
Also I agreed with everything those guys on Three Moves Ahead said, and then moved on to the episode dedicated to the wonderful Alpha Centauri, with Bryan Reynolds and Soren Johnson.
@feenwager Probably the most polarising game of 2011. Red and myself loved it. Not sure what a console experience would be like, but on PC, it’s the closest thing to a generational iteration on FEAR, but Red can articulate on the finer details with more clarity than myself at this point. Pure gameplay game, as silly as that sounds, but everything bar guntime is window dressing…and I suppose I appreciated the flavour more as the id Software art department did a fantastic job on character and locale designs.
However, as a man who loved his Bulletstorm – and I still bow down to you for that – maybe RAGE will be a little…flavourless in comparison? I know you’re a fellow who doesn’t care much for difficulty, but I think RAGE has a slight calibration issue in that area. Normal is super easy and you don’t seem to get much reason to inhabit the mechanics/feel of the game in such respect. Try switching up the difficulty and see what sticks. I’m not saying this will directly correspond with enjoyment levels, more a case of seeing a reinterpretation of the simpler days where you were given a gun and sent against the horde.
I dunno, it’s not a perfect game by any means, but it’s near-perfect where it counts.
Jim Rossignol of RPS is probably the franchise’s biggest advocate, so here’s a reassuring little Wot I Think snatch from the aforementioned site.
Playing Assault Squad has led – via the complexity of managing our little men – to some of the most inventive and heroic game events I have ever seen. Using a stolen pak gun to hold off an enemy advance while soldiers patched up a series of fallen tanks was just one in a million little victories, while instructing a soldier to throw a Molotov cocktail (looted from the inventories of the dead) only to have it smashed on broken scenery and set him on fire, one of a million tiny disasters. Men Of War is so rich as an experience because the details are so many, and so diverse. Yes, the default comment made in reference to the game’s eccentricities of design is that hats can be shot off the heads of all the characters (why aren’t they wearing them with chin straps!) but the truth is that the hats thing is simply a measure of all the other details in there, from being able to enter any building, to looting every fallen soldier on the field.
Many of you will not have played Men Of War, fearing this talk of micro-management, difficulty, and fiddliness, and that is a tragedy, because it will – for some of you – be precisely the game you are looking for.
Please do, I’d love some co-op. This battlefield is too deep for one mind to cover it all adequately. I basically divide the map into right, left and center and try to hold two of those while advancing on one. Has worked somewhat so far, but I noticed counterattack waves spawning every time I capture a point, and it gets worse the closer you are to victory, which is frustrating to say the least. I’ve adapted to clear out the last 3 or 4 points and then cap them all simultaneously, so I can avoid the Tiger or Panzer squads spawning and dismantling all my progress. Man, those Tigers…I wish I could mod the game to say “THE TRAVELER HAS COME!” when one of those rolls in.
Also, on the co-op topic, I don’t consider Dungeon Defenders finished. I’d still be up for more of that.
@impynickers It’s a shame Day of Defeat Source was left to rot and barely has anyone playing it anymore. That’s still a fun game. They should make it free to play, but they probably don’t care at this point.
@impynickers Man, get Assault Squad the next time it pops up in a sale or something. One of the Ukraine’s finest offerings. Get together with Bowls or someone for a bit of co-op or team capture. I think you’d love it!
Super in depth micro managing version of Company of heroes…. mental note taken.
Been biting off quick chunks of game lately.
First off Jamestown. Spectacular. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this game is goddamn likable.
It even offers couch co-op with my controller, keyboard, and mouse all compatible. Its bullet hell formula is slightly less intimidating than Ikaruga, which I appreciate. It feels like something I could seek to master given time, but offers a great bite of deliciousness when time is restrained.
Next I went back to Counterstrike, Source flavored. Getting on a good server can make some incredible difference to your experience. I have been frequenting a server full of fun loving people interested in talking about a wide variety of interesting topics, fooling around… just plain having fun and wearing hats.
Sure TF2 has hats, yes, but the rare server on counterstrike can also have hats, and crazy maps.
Ever since Elevator:Source I started to remember that multiplayer gaming is a great platform for conversation and shenanigans. I guess the fratboy crowd of XBOX live had sent me into a long despair. I stopped wanting to talk to anybody. While I was on a positive kick I eventually booted up Day of Defeat again, just to see the kinds of people I could find on there. More great shenanigans. Why can I never go on XBOX live and have this much fun? Why do those people hate so much?
Now, to be fair, I am absolutely certain that there are comparable experiences on steam, but there is a way for me to search for the kinds of servers and games I want to play. All this matchmaking nonsense has kinda taken away a lot of this functionality. I honestly cant tell you what good the pro, underground, or family settings on the 360 are doing, but they seem to rarely match me with people of my same type. Anyways… this is my slow revelation unfolding for maybe 20-30 minutes at a time. Short bursts of awesome.
Old Valve games = still hot shit.
@bowlisimo Great to hear! I was afraid it would be a tough ask to offer up Assault Squad to a Company of Heroes veteran, despite the under-the-hood differences. The carnage is unparalleled. The direct control method (it’s worth rebinding some controls for when the situation calls for it, at least in regards to control infantry and their stances etc.) is a guilty pleasure. I’ve found myself glued to direct-controlling AT guns and trying desperately to slot rounds into the tread or turret of enemy Panzers, just to give my lads a bit of breathing room. There’s a game that offers up untold number of stories.
Every single encounter and push feels so raw and important, with heroic moments around every corner. Also, making do with what you have has never felt better. Amazing physics, if a little hilarious.
I want to hear more tales from the Front Line! Regale me with your triumphs, your losses, your attrition!
@unmanneddrone Holy shit, Men of War is exhausting! I fought zee Germans for what felt like two hours straight on one battlefield, on the FIRST usa mission…and I still haven’t won! Mein leben!
That probably owes to my terrible sense of tactics and the penchant for US tanks to break down at the slightest jostle, but really, how do you take the other side of the river if it’s bristling with every death emplacement and artillery piece in the German arsenal and a near constant stream of dudes and armor? You don’t. It’s called a meat grinder.
This is the most grognardy RTS I’ve ever played. For instance, you have to resupply soldiers! Just the thought of stopping in the middle of a real-time battle to send guys to a deuce and a half and then physically put ammo in their little Diablo inventory, in the middle of an entire field of shit that you’re micromanaging, is nothing short of insane. If one of your men loses a helmet, you can go and find another one for him, that’s how crazy this is, then he’ll get blown up by something and you’ll wonder why you even bothered, poor guy.
I don’t know much about this series’ evolution, but it looks to me like they played Company of Heroes and learned a lot from it. But as amazing as CoH is, I think this game plays better. I always wished I could lengthen the part of the game where you’re mainly maneuvering troops, before everything devolves into hungry hungry panzers. MoW really improves on that aspect, and armor feels more like a tool to help advance… FOR YOU, that is. I call shenanigans on this cheating A.I. son of a bitch. It feels like I’m attacking a troop cloning facility and tank factory sometimes…
Anyway, really cool, could use a few tweaks, but I think this is my new go-to game for WW2 real-time-tactics.
@beige I do love reading your hefty posts. Lots to consider. Oh, and that Gamersgate Men of War version? Just add the Gamespy online key into Steam and WHAMMO…it’s activated and you’ll be punching Jadgtiger shells through French cottages and into Shermans in no time.
@bowlisimo I think it was on the G4 video review of X3: Reunion that had Morgan Webb sum up her disdain at the state of tepid alien dogfighting AI with “What’s a girl got to do to get a bit of hard Kha’ak around here?!”. I let that one pass, found it smirk-worthy. Keep me informed. I’ve come to the conclusion I really need to hold off on my X3 adventures because it’s not a game where I can truly put a lot of time into each time I play, so those long sessions where you can really drive credit into your account with direction have to wait until the kid gets a little older and can fend for herself on the hillsides of Sparta.
@cgrajko I’d very much be interested in your view of Owlboy, sir. More pixel love.
Squaddies with a penchant for fiddling about in Dubya-dubya Two. Men of War Collector’s Edition/Pack thing is 15 smackers on Gamersgate. That’s the original MoW, the Soviet Marine-centric single player spin-off Red Tide and the fantastic made-for-coop Assault Squad in one pack.
@redswirl It’s hard to say what the quintessential cyberpunk game is…I’d say Deus Ex belongs to a clutch of titles that showcase the styling of this beloved geek-chic subset. Don’t forget the incredible Dreamweb from way back. I’d put that up there as a much more pure cyberpunk experience – taking its cues from the defining authors much more heavily. But, you’re right that Deus Ex is steeped in the thematics and aesthetics of cyberpunk or post-cyberpunk fiction and ideas.
For me, the top three would be the original System Shock, Dreamweb, Syndicate and Deus Ex. A shortlist would include Uplink, Hacker Evolution, a slightly tenuous Omikron: The Nomad Soul and a little-known Aussie-made sandbox RPG called The Creed – think an open-ended RPG-lite Syndicate Wars – one that shipped with an incredibly deep mission creator; user-generated NPC logic chains and parameters, dialog options, the works. It’s existed on the PC in certain titles henceforth, but The Creed certainly blew my young idiotic mind back in 1998.
Certainly looking forward to Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
In regards to @angryjedi‘s always-enjoyable Whatchyabeenplayin’, let me throw down.
Frozen Synapse @mjpilon and myself opened fire on each other for the first round of the tourney and by some stroke of luck, the deciding round had two bazookas on each team. Luckily, my rockets found some masonry to detonate against and bathed opponents in the warm wash of a high-explosive shockwave. HOWEVER, I must duck out of the tourney due to continued internet woes – woes that will now be fixed via the installation of fresh, faultless, flawless fabulous fibre-optics on the 20th of August. Thus, my worthy opponent, I had thee the baton and encourage you to make wurst from your bested opponents. Godspeed, @mjpilon.
Alpha Protocol Oh how I wish I had the time to marathon games like the old days. Alpha Protocol would be done and dusted by now, but for what it’s worth, still enjoying it immensely. Rather janky in places, and certain areas feature some of the most pedestrian level design and furnishings I’ve seen in the modern gaming era, but you play for the conversations, and that’s what I’m enjoying most. And when the action sequences are this unreliable in terms of stealth mechanics (enemies either oblivious, or somehow they know you’re there from a mile away), I eschewed the stealth agent run and got busy with the Assault rifle proficiencies. Having a blast. I’ll keep the stealth antics for a more reliable system…like DE:HR or something. Or….
Hitman Blood Money Doing another run on this in anticipation of the SoS mission. You really cannot beat Io Interactive for urban flavour. They craft the darkest and most delightful missions and scenarios. Looking forward to reading/hearing Squaddies’ thoughts on the game who’ve never played it prior. Contracts still reigns supreme for me, but Blood Money is definitely the most inventive and varied.
Men of War: Assault Squad / RUSE Always going back and forth between these two. Nabbed the DLC packs for RUSE over the Steam Sales, so nuclear artillery, the Japanese faction and a nice selection of maps are now things to play with. Sad to see only one Pacific map, but the game at its heart really isn’t a grognardian RTS…it’s a beautiful real-time boardgame. Men of War…well…you know how I feel about that glorious RTT experience. Outside of the incredible physics and sheer danger enemies present, nothing beats taking direct control of an infantry flamethrower and flanking around a barn to hose a nest of German artillery with Yankee chilli-sauce. @beige and @bowlisimo, I do hope you fellows end up owning this one down the line. It’s great fun and terrific co-op.
Supreme Commander 2 And finally, ol’ SupCom2. After fighting and besting an aggravating problem involving my Mobility Radeon and for some reason, it turning off geometry instancing (hideous graphical glitching thereafter), I’ve been continually enjoying just skirmishing against the computer. There are so many wonderful units and options within. Going back to what @bowlisimo said about the Chris Taylor titles being quite soulless, I’m in complete agreement…right up until SupCom2. I REMAIN IN A CONSTANT EROTIC TRYST WITH THIS TITLE. It’s a military science-fiction hardware lover’s wet dream. Dropships on automated deployment runs loading freshly-constructed ground units in batches of fifty, ferrying them to the front from the designated marshalling yards. Mobile shield generators flaring with every enemy shot made. Gargantuan experimental units thundering up out from their construction scaffolds and beginning their lumbering trek towards their rally point. Artillery raining down in salvoes of hundreds of shells, leaving the shattered hulks of quadruped gun platforms smoking and blackened. And need I remind the reader of an entire naval force crawling up the beach on newly-researched legs, their cannons brought to bear on the defenders?
What’s more, SupCom2 has one of the best strategic zooms this side of AI Wars or, to a lesser extent (perhaps, more aptly, to a different extent), RUSE.
It might look like a Michael Bay effort compared to the nuanced subtleties of Starcraft, but I would argue it’s as enjoyable and deep in its own way – just on a much grander scale. Amazing options in the tech tree to really direct what kind of force you’d like to build. More enjoyable for me, at least. Here’s a rather finely-soundtracked 4v4 video that sums it all up perfectly.
How I wish these were marathon sessions, but home duties and scribble sessions dig into the gaming time. So, a mission here, a quarter-skirmish there, you know how it goes.
I shall leave it there. I’ll be offline at home until the 20th, but will browse via phone and hopefully drop a few comments when I’m at work. Keep it up, Squaddies.
Just a heads-up for anyone interested in Men of War, particularly Assault Squad. Steam, D2D, etc., have it on sale ending this Monday for around 12 dollars. Many passed on RUSE for 14, but I urge any Squaddies with any interest in RTS and tactical gameplay to leap onto it like a heroic marine smothering a grenade with his own body to shield his buddies.
Puts hairs on a chest, or if hairs are in no short supply, adds wrinkles to the face and offers you the chance to dabble in the thousand yard stare.
One piece of DLC I’m pumped for is…predictably…Men of War: Vietnam. Infantry and Air Cav-centric battles in the thick jungles of Indo-China? Intrigued. Coming out very soon, I do believe.
@RocGaude I see all the Squad starring in my next Men of War battle. Plenty more “America. Fuck Yeah!” moments to be had! @feenwager gets first dibs on the M60 in ‘Nam, though. Just seems his style.
@beige It’s very much up your alley. If you want to get your feet wet, the original Men of War is a good place to start. There’s been two standalone expansions, Men of War: Red Tide and the most recent one, Assault Squad. Red Tide is single player only, made by a different company, but is pretty much the full Men of War experience, albeit in much smaller environments with less in the way of big armour engagements. I really wish I lived in the same timezone as you guys, because I’d certainly champion the idea of a few Men of War: Assault Squad…er…Squad co-op missions. Maybe @bowlisimo might be into it down the line, because at its heart, AS isn’t much of a single player campaign – just a series of nation-based skirmish sequences. If you think of it as a true, deep, sandbox RTS wargame, you kinda know what you’re getting yourself into.
There are some hilarious moments when the physics engine gets slightly tangled. Had a Willy jeep drive over a small pile of bricks, which somehow sent the vehicle and crew up into the air in a graceful 10 metre arc, crashing down through the wall of a Belgian cottage. But hey, with all the awesome physics they’ve put into the engine, the devs really have crafted a masterpiece and these comedic moments are few and far between.
And Anno 2070? Pretty keen, it must be said. Anno 1401 was terrific.
Hope King’s Bounty is treating you well!
@feenwager Nobody wages war like the US military. Sergeants Whittington and Parsons, especially.
Men of War really is chock-full of these moments. Amazing game.
@beige I really liked King’s Bounty – out of Vladivostok, too! Space Rangers territory. Another one to check out down the line if you need that PC strategy-RPG fix is the old Etherlords series. Kinda like King’s Bounty mixed with HoMM, wrapped around a card-based combat engine not too dissimilar from Magic: The Gathering. One of those perennially relaxing games.
Quick Men of War: Assault Squad vignette from the Operation Overlord skirmish for the US. Was making the final push against the German positions after a savage slog up from the coast, through a village (that, at this point, was reduced to bombed-out houses, broken walls, shredded fences and gardens, burning vehicle chassis and many, many corpses – bodies all lootable, as is the Ukrainian way) and into farmland. My cap points allowed me to call in a Sherman and a Chaffee, plus an M3 Ranger Halftrack and a few squads of infantry to bolster my ragged, tired forces holding the line. It was rolling fields dotted with haystacks and barns between my men and their final goal.
Sadly, my Sherman and Chaffee churned up from the beach just as I noticed the menacing muzzles of a Jagdpanther and a Panzer IV Ausf H now moving into a hull-down position in the top-centre of the map. I quickly took direct control of my Sherman, jamming the S key to spin the tracks into reverse, the Chaffee taking a glancing shot by the IV, but exploding as the Jagdpanther sent a round straight through the hull and hitting the engine. I swung the Sherman turret to try to get a shot off, but didn’t have the right elevation and my AT shell slammed into the embankment hiding the German hulls. Another shot by the IV slammed into my Sherman’s right-side treads and the sickening grind of snagged, broken caterpillar tracks coalesced with the despair of another skin-of-the-teeth engagement.
With my troops held back and the goal in sight, it was time for some hero antics. I needed something mobile to deal with the two German monsters. The M3 certainly wasn’t going to do the trick, and I needed those Rangers. Bringing my snipers forward and putting them in the shells of buildings nearest to the farmlands, they began picking off stormtroopers that began counterattacking. I had mortar teams come up on the flanks, but their ammunition was limited, so they had to make every salvo count.
The endgame came in the form of two ballsy marines (in this case, their names are Sergeants Whittington and Parsons), an M8 Greyhound, the Rangers and a whole lotta luck.
There was no way I was going to get my infantry forces across to the last cap point. The Germans had artillery on the right flank, with stormtroopers packing MG-42s in the hedgerows to the left. The two German tanks had reign over the centre…
Until I saw what my snipers must have picked off…out in the middle of one field, nestled next to a haystack, nicely out of the tanks’ visual radius, was a BMW sidecar motorcycle. The driver and LMG operator reclining in the grass with Springfield rounds in their noggins. I needed this bike if I was ever going to breach the lines. Problems, however, included the hideous artillery and AT guns on the right, the tanks in the middle and the MG42 troops in the hedges on the left. But hell, it was the only way.
Whittington and Parsons were set to prone, then began crawling out into the field. I had my Mortar teams start laying down FFE on the arty positions, then set to work in direct control with my Greyhound and its tiny little AT gun. Drawing the attention of the Jagdpanther and IV, I rolled quickly forward, found the right elevation and popped a round straight into the crew area of the IV – a lucky shot. The Greyhound engine whined as I shot it forward to the relative safety of a stone wall. Switching out of direct control, the M3 was moved up the right flank to take the artillery positions now that the mortars had scattered the Nazis manning in the guns. The M1 MG on the halftrack spat righteous fire upon the stormtroopers that were making a beeline back to their positions. The rangers jumped out, some took command of the PaKs, others nabbed the MG42 emplacements. They were good for the time being, but not forever.
Whittington and Parsons had luckily made it to the BMW. Now this was all about timing. As soon as the duo gunned that bike away from the haystack, the now-immobilised IV and the Jagd would send them both to hell. An upside was the carnivorous IV couldn’t move and the Jagd was…well…a Jagd. Bringing up a few squads of my marines, I had them ready to go on the mark. Racing a few snipers up to nearby haystacks gave me a slight edge in the open fields – at least, if the enemy were stupid enough to move slowly. This was it.
Whittington leaped aboard the bike, stomped the kickstart and the machine roared into life. Parsons jumped into the sidecar, swung the LMG on its swivel and the pair waited. I had one Mortar team start FFE’ing up the hedgerows, but the distance was a little short. Enough, though, to take attention off the BMW for a moment. I quickly gave the coordinates to Sergeant Whittington, and the engine roared as they accelerated up the field. Taking control of the Greyhound, I reversed it and felt the sting of another glanced shot from the IV. The Jagd had reversed out of firing range, leaving the stuck IV to deal with my Greyhound.
There was a screaming thump-thump-thump from the left flank. Holy hell. Whittington and Parsons were racing towards the line, dodging Nebelwerfer rockets! Parsons answered this by MG’ing into the entrenched soldiers dead ahead. My snipers were making work of the MG42s in the now-blasted hedgerows, the soldiers without cover and dropping like flies.
The end was in sight, but it could all go horribly wrong.
I had to get rid of that IV. It was the main thorn in my side, controlling the centre. I edged the Greyhound up over a hillock, watching its turret move in my direction and waiting for that muzzle-brake flash. Through the luckiest shot ever, my Greyhound crew managed to slot a round right into its turret. We’d done it.
Until the Jagd put its KwK43 cannon into use and fired a round straight through a barn wall and into the weak armour of my Greyhound. Bam. Engine was dead, hull was damaged beyond repair. The surviving crew scattered and I pulled them back to my line. My armour-killing days were over, even with bazooka troops at hand. OR SO I THOUGHT!
Switching back to the Sergeants, they’d breached the front! Not only that, but their path took them straight past the Nebelwerfer emplacement – of which the crew they’d made short work of – and were capturing the last point! Then I saw the Jagd rolling down around the farmyards it had been controlling…heading straight for the cap point Whittington and Parsons were valiantly capturing.
Then, the damn Jagd exploded!
Looking down through the smoking debris and corpses, the broken metal and shattered landscape…I spied the saviour of Whittington and Parsons. A single Sherman, one broken tread snaking off into the grass, its crew still bravely manning the turret of their immobilised tank. Down, yes, but certainly not out.
My Rangers and their M3 churned to the cap point as Whittington and Parsons hoisted the Stars and Stripes up the flagpole. A bloody victory, yes, but a victory nonetheless.
@beige Nothing is more exciting that a fellow finding his way towards the Zone for the first time. If there ever was a FPS built for Mark Whiting, I’d say it’d be STALKER! Yes, even in a Bioshock world. I cannot wait to hear of your adventures!
The NPC AI in STALKER is something unique, too. Especially when just observed, or you happen upon things that have recently “gone down”. Amazing stuff.
Sadly, no naming of your men in Men of War. They all come prenamed, so there’s a little bit of personality there already.
Undoubtedly @bowlisimo is aware of the Men of War series…or, from its lineage in Soldiers: Heroes of WWII or Faces of War. But, for the few who give a tinker’s cuss and are looking for something a little more “meaty” in their RTS/RTT, Men of War is, hands-down, a game for MEN. Big burly bearded bastards, or alternatively the quiet ones who end up saving the day. Rarely, if ever, do I fondle e-phalli in regards to gameplay accomplishments, but Men of War is filled to the brim with nitty-gritty detail and will eat your gonads for breakfast, so making your way to a single checkpoint is a triumph.
This probably holds as much appeal to the Squad as a Japanese Drycleaning Simulator: Highschool Panties DX “Froth of Lace” Edition, but here goes my love-in of Men of War, particularly the newest standalone expansion “Assault Squad”.
Take Company of Heroes across to the Ukraine, get the idea of intricate battlefields replete with destructible cover and terrain retooled by detail-oriented Russians, add a dash of Commandos to the mix in terms of being able to loot every single fallen soldier, throw in the ability to directly control any unit in the game (so you can be that lone soldier/artillery/vehicle who leads the push or becomes a hero) and you’re only scratching the surface.
What you’re essentially dealing with is a glorious mesh of Close Combat-esque engagements, wrapped into a Company of Heroes style cowling, with elements of pure wargaming magnificence. Your squad of marines pinned down behind a drystone wall – a wall rapidly being eaten away by German MG42s – with only an AT gun at your disposal? How about swapping your HE rounds for AT rounds and try to punch a few salvoes THROUGH the house the stormtroopers are using as cover? How about bringing in a heavy MG, setting it back a little, then getting a marine to use an AT grenade against the wall to break it down and give the MG team a clear line of sight?
Your troops are relatively smart little buggers, too. Grenades can be ordered to be thrown, but for the most part, they’ll know when and how to use them – clearing bunkers, disloging infantry etc. Thing is, like war, things can and, invariably, DO go wrong. Grenades can be fumbled and clip terrain, exploding back onto your squad. Ricochetting AT rounds might bounce off that marauding Panzer IV and slam into the very wall your squad are taking cover behind. All of this is mapped out with an incredible deftness and attention to detail. One soldier can stop a Tiger dead simply by a well-timed grenade to its tracks. There ability to target individual parts of armoured vehicles can turn the tide on the slippery slope of combat. Last stands are made, ammunition runs out…but if a ballsy marine can manoeuvre quickly and quietly to salvage a Panzershrek or take command of an enemy vehicle or gun emplacement, there’s always hope.
Best of all, Assault Squad is built for multiplayer, particularly co-op.
However, I’ll let Jim Rossignol – of RPS fame and a dyed-in-the-wool evangelist for the Men of War series to have the last word.
“Men Of War is, in many ways, a technical marvel. Dozens of units, destructible scenery, intricate physics modelling. It’s quite the thing. And so is the challenge that faces you. You responsibility is not for resource collection or base building, but simply for the men on the field. And while these tiny heroes will shoot and take cover and dive away from grenades (sometimes) they do require meticulous management. Their positioning, their retreats and often, even, their specific ammo and targeting, must be managed by you. In a battle with hundreds of units, this can become breathtakingly tricky.
It’s precisely this depth that makes the game so rewarding, too, of course. Playing Assault Squad has led – via the complexity of managing our little men – to some of the most inventive and heroic game events I have ever seen. Using a stolen pak gun to hold off an enemy advance while soldiers patched up a series of fallen tanks was just one in a million little victories, while instructing a soldier to throw a Molotov cocktail (looted from the inventories of the dead) only to have it smashed on broken scenery and set him on fire, one of a million tiny disasters. Men Of War is so rich as an experience because the details are so many, and so diverse. Yes, the default comment made in reference to the game’s eccentricities of design is that hats can be shot off the heads of all the characters (why aren’t they wearing them with chin straps!) but the truth is that the hats thing is simply a measure of all the other details in there, from being able to enter any building, to looting every fallen soldier on the field.
Many of you will not have played Men Of War, fearing this talk of micro-management, difficulty, and fiddliness, and that is a tragedy, because it will – for some of you – be precisely the game you are looking for.”
Just for a quick idea of the game, check this introductory video made about the original Men of War: