Not bad but not very involving....
You basically give orders to counters on the 2D map then when your done, click "fight" and watch the next 30 minutes of the battle play out accoring to your commands. This is all well and good, but, the 30 minute turn actually ends up lasting about 10-15 minutes depending on how many units are engaged. This makes for a hellishly time consuming game. It takes around 1-4 hours to play through a scenario unless the AI or yourself is beaten before the turns run out by taking too many losses.
The scenarios are quite good but be warned, there are only 3 maps and some of the linked scenarios start to feel all to similar when your defending the same objective for the 4th time but just with a different set of units. There are alot of scenarios to play through and so as far as value for money goes, this one will keep you playing for a few months. PBEM is another strong point if you can find an opponent.
The graphics are not bad for a counter based TBS game but i have seen far better. The maps are fairly detailed but there isnt much variation in terrain. The counters do a good job of representing the units so you never find it difficult to distinguish between them or loose units in a mass of counters. It all runs in a window as well so you can multitask if you feel like it whilst a turn plays out. The interface is simple to use and is clutter free.
The sound is alright, nothing amazing. The "gas, gas, gas" phrase is my only sore point as every chemical attack that comes your way is reported to you with the same annoying phrase. No music whilst in game. Ambient gun fire in the background whilst turns play out and samples for unit fire are all standard stuff.
Theres a heck of alot of unit types at your disposal from M1 Abrams to MI24 Hind's. You can call for off map artillery and fighter support which is a cool feature. Each unit has lots of statistical values that adds a depth to the gameplay if you take the time to figure it all out.
As a turn plays out you are given information as to what time units will start to move (delay of issued orders) and what time an airstrike will hit its destination for example. An enemy unit may have moved by the time it gets there. There is no unit facing in this game which i quite frankly find strange as you cannot flank a unit or surround it. You just get to fire more often, giving you a greater chance of killing a unit.
The main thing that bugs me about this game is that it takes longer to watch your orders play out than it does to actually issue them which means that you spend most of the time simply watching the screen rather than interacting with the game. You cant do a thing once uve clicked fight except sit and watch your units as they engage the enemy.
The mission briefings are bland and i never really felt any attachment to my units as whatever the outcome of your battle was, the next scenario wipes a clean slate and basically tells you what the aftermath was rather than the aftermath being what you as a player created. i.e. you won the battle but the game then tells you that your side actually lost the battle. This would be alright if u were playing a fictional battle, the problem is, this game is completely non-fictonal with its story so you never get the sense of being involved in it as you cannot change the outcome or the next scenario in a linked campaign. Your units dont gain xp or follow you to the next mission. So units you lost in a previous battle will be ready to fight another day in the next linked battle.
This game is fun for a while but it never got me emotionally involved and hence is not something i can reccommend to most casual gamers. Hardcore TBS gamers out there may find something i didnt with this game however but i can honestly say ive played more exciting and involving TBS wargames.