Iron Front: Liberation 1944 Review

In its attempts to be realistic, Iron Front: Liberation 1944 bites off far more than it can chew.

Realism in shooters is something the computer game industry has both striven for and struggled with for some time. It's good to feel that what you're doing has some connection to the real thing, especially when historical settings are involved, but it isn't fun to spend half your game time field-stripping rifles and doing KP. A veneer of authenticity can make for a more emotionally charged experience, but to pull this off, a game needs to hide the inevitable lack of realism that's at the core of first-person shooter gameplay. It's a delicate balance, and one that Iron Front: Liberation 1944 utterly fails at. As fate would have it, Iron Front also fails at not crashing constantly, not looking like its graphics were drawn by a teenager, and at being any fun at all.

If standing around listening to random Nazis speak German draws you in, Iron Front has you covered. Also, get help.

Iron Front starts with a solid historical basis, at least: you play either as a German or a Soviet soldier in the middle of a campaign to win the Eastern Front in World War II. It's an enticing premise for those who have imagined the life of a foot soldier in the ranks of two of the world’s most ruthless dictatorships. Gameplay lands somewhere between ARMA and Battlefield 1942. There's a thick coating of realism, alongside a kitchen sink full of possibilities. You start off as a simple soldier, but ultimately you can do everything from manning heavy weapons to commanding tanks to flying fighter aircraft. Sniping, stealth, huge frontal assaults: everything’s included. Iron Front: Liberation 1944 is highly ambitious in scope, but ends up trying to do way too much. The ground portions do feel somewhat realistic (at least in the sense that you can die and kill instantly), but the opaque control system makes flying a plane cumbersome and inorganic.

To its credit, the game offers dialogue in both German and Russian (subtitled) or in horribly dubbed English, if reading isn't your bag. The thing is, regardless of the language you choose, you won't care what anyone is saying. Apart from the occasional stultifying cutscene in which you listen to a narrator read text that's already visible onscreen, most dialogue in the game is AI-generated radio babble that comes so fast and furious, and is so poorly tracked on your heads-up display, that it may as well be a TV left on in the background. Iron Front tries hard to give you a feeling of being one part of a much larger battle, but because the briefings interface is totally obtuse, and because the way information comes at you in missions is so confusing, the interface overwhelms both you and itself.

Before missions you'll get a tactical briefing, but it's not much use since the AI never does what it's supposed to.

In fact, the entire game overwhelms itself. During the review process, Iron Front received a large patch that fixed some (but by no means all) of its stability issues. Yet in spite of the patch, the game still crashes, just not as often. Other bugs have revealed themselves since: loading screens frequently hang, necessitating forced quits; controls stop responding mid-mission for no apparent reason; AI entities stand around doing absolutely nothing while receiving effective incoming fire; and sound suddenly cuts out or goes extremely quiet in the middle of critical briefings. AI pathfinding is also a huge issue, with non-player characters frequently getting lost or trapped on geometry, and enemies patrolling in endless circles, doing nothing of importance.

As if the technical issues weren't enough, it becomes immediately clear when you begin a real mission that Iron Front is completely overwhelmed with feature creep. All sorts of small arms are, ostensibly, realistically modeled, along with vehicles, heavy weapons, airplanes, you name it. But the game tries to cram realistic performance for all of these things into its limited controls, creating a morass of impenetrable key bindings that are impossible to memorize and even harder to implement when someone is shooting at you. Why, for example, is there a separate key for "stand up"? Why can't you simply hit the "crouch" or "prone" button again? Conversely, double-tapping the forward button to sprint is extremely clumsy, especially since your sprinting speed is so similar to your normal movement speed that it's hard to tell at times if you've even started sprinting successfully.

You've just started a scenario mission. What are you supposed to do? Who knows!

Let's say you manage to look past all this and struggle through Iron Front's interminable tutorial levels to get to actual missions; you only have complete chaos to look forward to, because enemy AI is completely moronic, allies are useless, and death will randomly hit you with no warning whatsoever. You might be walking along a friendly runway in your HQ during the first 10 seconds of a mission, about to climb into the cockpit of a Focke-Wulf 190, only to be summarily laid out by God knows what in the middle of your own base. Was it an enemy bomber? A piece of shrapnel? Friendly fire? A sniper? It doesn't really matter--have fun looking at another loading screen while the entire mission resets.

Multiplayer offers little respite, although at least you don't have to deal with much in the way of AI idiocy. Still, almost all players of Iron Front appear to be located in Europe, so pings from the US, particularly the Western US, are absolutely awful. If you do get into a decent game, you better know how to speak German, because the guys you're playing with most likely do. But don't worry, you won't have to listen to them for too long--games crash, lag out, or unceremoniously kick you out on a regular basis. On the rare occasion you do get to play through a match, you spend most of your time sneaking about, encountering nary an enemy, and getting totally owned by someone you never see.

Floating tooltips try to offer guidance, but the key bindings make no sense, and it's hard to read them in the middle of getting shot at.

Alternatively, you're on the other side of this: you creep up on some poor soul who has no idea what's going on because Iron Front hates clarity, and you equip your Mosin-Nagant rifle, hunt for that one button that makes you look through the scope rather than the iron sights, press it, line up your target in the period-appropriate crosshairs, and then restart Windows because you've been kicked to the desktop, and your mouse cursor has disappeared.

Iron Front is unfinished. Playing through a game, even with some of the bugs squashed, gives you a sense of confusion more than anything else. More patches may be on the way to shore up what there is of Iron Front, but as it stands now, you're better off avoiding these perilous battlefields.

The Good
N/A
The Bad
Filled with bugs and technical snafus
Controls and situational reports are confusing
Graphics and sound are terrible
Multiplayer matches are hard to find and set up
AI is absolutely awful
2
Terrible
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

319 comments
spindie
spindie

It is july 2013 as i write this comment and while i absolutely adore the modifications that deep silver have made to the arma2 engine (guns, vehicles, acessories, skins, sounds, maps..etc) I can't really blame the reviewer for giving this game a 2.0. From a casual gamers standpoint (compared to all the current great games out today) your first impression of this game is going to be.. Its garbage. But it's not the game that was made poorly, it is the lack of flexibility of the arma engine that makes developing a fluid campaign nearly impossible. If you can step back and look at arma for what it is, than you can begin to appreciate iron front. Arma really is nothing more than a military simulator.. i would really not even consider it a game. If you are looking to kick back and just mindlessly enjoy a shooter campaign than this is not the game for you. Arma is like playing army chess.. One where there just happens to be a 3D battlefield for you to get a better look.. But being the stiff, calculating, engine that arma is.. Its hard to make an actual entertaining, believable, campaign story out of like deep silver tried to do with iron front.. Its still a great game tho.. just hard to wrap your mind around

Changmilee
Changmilee

Reading the numerous comments in defense of this simulation's gaming goodness leaves me feeling like Alice gone through the looking glass.  I love this genre and look for any goodness I can find in such games, especially when they involve WWII on the Eastern Front but honestly, this one is a train wreck filled with bugs, balance issues galore, broken objectives and other serious playability issues.  I realize that one person's elixir is another guy's poison but this pile is pure  strychnine.

Q1257
Q1257

When Iront Front works, its great.  Unfortunately, it working is a rare event.  I cant even pass the Soviet tutorial because the Zis-3 never activates, and I make sure that it is always patched up-to-date.

mattibaby
mattibaby

Having owned and played Arma 2 and enjoyed it a lot I found this review a lot to be desired.  Here is a good review done by a person who is IMHO more used to playing games such as these.  Anyone who reads the above review should also read this...

 

www.simhq.com/_land3/land_131a.html

 

P.S.  Simhq regularly hosts multiplayer servers for this game and features screenshots of their past events.

Sheddius
Sheddius

brainiac1988 I totally agree with you. This guy should stay far away from reviewing milsim's, he obviously has no idea what he's talking about. Half the "review" is just a rant about keybindings. Perhaps you're better off sticking to a console Mr. Reviewer?

wenqiweiabcd
wenqiweiabcd

Well, what is the essential difference between the mechanisms of this game and that of ArmA 2? ArmA 2 was just as buggy and frustrating when it was first released, yet it managed to score as high as 8/10. The only explanation I can see is that neither of the games are reviewed objectively ---- if the authors cannot even write a review from the point of view of the intended audience of the game, he/she might as well not write it. 

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

The game shouldve been reviewed by someone who's into the genre...He is obviously not into military sims.

 

Ok its a pretty bad game, even for a military sim..     but "2.0 - Terrible" ?

No, I'd say somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5

 

xmonpar
xmonpar

2.0 is too goodits just rubishgameplay rubish, graphic rubish, sound rubish. & horror to control movement & interaction object.

 

for example, in second mission its difficult to mount into wagon, because stupid icon to take MP40 refuse changed to icon mount into car...

 

why in car have gun armory...why interaction to take item n mount is the same button...WHY ????

I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

 Being that I'm desperate for tactical shooters, I loved ArmA, and other people seem to like it; I'll get it.

rgray34
rgray34

Well yes the game is Arma 2 in it's own right and i also agree a score of 2.0 is really harsh.  But yes the game for some has some bugs and if your not used to playing a game like Arma 2, then you will find more fault in the style of gameplay.  Most people honestly dont have the patience or time to learn the game as it based on tatics not shoot from the hip type game.  If i were to review the game based on playing it i would of gave it a score of 7 as my only quirk with game was the flying mechanics in game felt weird.

Jedo
Jedo

The map looks like a rip-off from Arma II. Not  modified, not renewed - literally just the same thing.

Veronity
Veronity

This looks more like u gave COD fan write a BF review or viceversa...

oflow
oflow

This game is basically an Arma II mod its using an updated Arma II engine.  The reviewer basically doesnt know what hes doing so he gave it a low score but it should have got the same score as Arma II since its the exact same game in a WWII setting instead of modern day.  (Arma II got an 8.0 on this site)

 

 

Since Gamespot has gone to the new format their review quality has gone downhill.

foojam
foojam

Shame on Gamespot, it's not the site it used to be. Now they need money from companies in order to write a good review. Or the game must have been made by Americans. Shame on Gamespot.

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

Game not for brainless fps players,play something smart before, then come and test again with some brains in the head! Even here infested with zombies (fps players)

lmfaoown
lmfaoown

I saw this "Why, for example, is there a separate key for "stand up"? Why can't you simply hit the "crouch" or "prone" button again?"  and immediately knew we had a CoD moron play a military sim.  Gamespot, step your game up by choosing the correct people to play games, or get rid of your CoD staff :)

Warsilver
Warsilver

Even with all of the faults, it's a fun game.

walterbai
walterbai

2.0 wtf, this game is very good.

lsw3638
lsw3638

GS threw out its own principles for review for this one.

 

Where is the standard review procedure that needs several other editors' opinion to make sure review score is objective?

 

More or less the same ARMA 2 gets high scores while this not U.S. miliatary simulation, not funded by U.S. military gets lowest score possible?

 

Deep silver didn't pay anything to list ads on your site,

Deep silver is politically irrelevant.

This review is punitive at best.

 

A fine showcase of principles required for a public review site.

Dabel
Dabel

Gamespot score 2.0 = Terrible....game developer hasn't wired me any money on paypal yet. 

 

Ragingbear505
Ragingbear505

A 2.0 is a little ridiculous. Is Iron Front as good as Arma 2? Definitely not. I expected this review to have a midrange score in the 5-7 range and complain of meager content, lackluster netcode, and steep system requirements. Instead I read that the game is bad because you die without knowing what killed you, the controls are too hard (they're really pretty simple), and that the game bombards you with too much information. Those kind of complaints indicate that this isn't really the type of game the reviewer typically plays. This is where the review system is flawed. Eric Neigher's arguments are completely valid for him, but they're strongly biased by his perspective on the game. To the sim fan a lot of controls are expected, authenticity is considered fun, not an obstacle to it, and lots of information is usually a good thing. Often I see the justification that "Well the review is for the average gamer and not just fans of the genre" which is based on the flawed assumption that there is an average gamer. There isn't. Every gamer I've met has unique tastes that make them particular to certain genres, sub-genres, certain games, certain systems within the games themselves, etc. Imagine if you saw a review of the next Call of Duty game with a lower than expected score by a sim fan and the review had complaints like, "The enemies didn't use proper military tactics, the control scheme was overly simplistic, tank physics are non-existent" Every arcade fps fan reading the review would be very confused because those are features they expect. I don't know Eric's background in gaming but it doesn't seem like this is his genre and games should be reviewed by people experienced in them.

Changnoi28
Changnoi28

So this game us based on an ARMA II mod? No wonder it sucks. ARMA II was one of the worst games I have ever played - pointless briefings, unplayable combat, detail creep, I couldn't stand it.

guard2182
guard2182

I played this game and finished the german campaign, it was fun, the graphics were amazing you just need a good pc, gamespot probably has shitty pc's and couldn't run it maxed

nyran125
nyran125

on emassive thing reviewers always seem to miss out on games that are like this. Is the editors. They completely ditch the editor mode. Ive spent over 500 hours on the ARMA 2 editor alone, you can design FGULL blown military opreations in ARMA 2 adn everything. I think reviewers need to review the whole game not just part of it.

HAMMERCLAW
HAMMERCLAW

This is a game that needs all the love and TLC that only a true computer gamer can give it. Full of bugs and glitches to sate the desires of technical tinkers, both subtle and gross--but it's not for the timid.

WoZe
WoZe

They should have named the game Iron Front: Modern Warfare. Get's a 9/10 gaurenteed.

Falzonn
Falzonn

I too will admit this review does not seem to be as well thought out as it could.  Hell, I played IF a bit back when it was still a mod for Arma 2, and it worked well.  Sure, the AI is still not the best, but everything else worked fine.  Played like Arma2 to me, only with weapons & vehicles from WW2.  So unless they did something drastic to the game when it was made from a mod to retail, this review is overly harsh.

d34nh46i
d34nh46i

i thought this was a review, but this guy didn't seem to mention any of this game goodness.

BoP-Falcon
BoP-Falcon

Well, this has to be the most stupid Review for a long time...

If the Reviewer isn't intellectually equipped to play a Game more complex than CoD DON'T LET HIM REVIEW IT!  The entire Review is total nonsense... "Gameplay lands somewhere between ARMA and Battlefield 1942." This Game is nothing more than a Arma2 Total Conversion Mod and it plays exactly like ArmA2 in Multiplayer... nothing new... But Mr. Eric "mentally challenged" Neigher doesm't know, because he isn't doing his job...

 

Controls are fine, but if you play for 15min. and can't even doubletap a Key in the right moment, well then you are too stupid for it...

 

Multiplayermatches hard to find and setup? Yeah, totally hard to choose a Mission from a List and click OK, when everyone is ready... You may need a special College degree for that...

 

Graphics terrible? Graphics are at least ok, when you set them right and according to your Hardware... But again, you would need to know what you are doing...

 

The Mission-Editor isn't even mentioned, well it's important, because you create Missions with it, which are fun... Too stupid for it? WRONG GAME TO REVIEW!

 

This Game isn't very good, it isn't worth the money and it's filled with bugs, but it is NOT a 2.0 and Mr. Eric Neigher did an horrible job reviewing it...

 

Time to get rid of some underqualified Staff Gamespot!

Muratha
Muratha

and how i'd hoped for a world war all ensemble game ...

 

Dredloc
Dredloc

Another terrible Gamespot review.  I have a feeling this guy only plays halo.  Considering this game is basically ARMA in WW2 nad that got a high review...I'm a bit confused.  I Own the game and it still needs a lot of polish but the graphics are very realistic.   The sounds are realistic but to to subdued. I see great potential in this game.  I would say in it's current state more like a 5.5-6.0.  The ARMA engine has always been clunky and I really don't get why they won't fix the basic things but the game is much better than a 2!!

 

T-_-K
T-_-K

A year ago i played ONI and it uses double tapping w to sprint and imo it's better than using alt (skyrim) or space (mass effect)

Hobbes444
Hobbes444

"double tapping the forward key to sprint is extremely clumsy"?

How? are you using a computer with a 1.6ghz single core cpu and integrated graphics to play this game? I've never have any problems double tapping "w" in A.V.A (Alliance of Valiant Arms) to sprint. What did you do GS? Get the Xbox reviewer instead of the PC reviewer, or does your gaming pc just suck?

KaSeRoR
KaSeRoR

Reviewer woke up on the ugly side of the bed... LoL! I dug it cuz I can dig it!

>=)

 

Smosh150
Smosh150

@RockZillaX Old thread, forgot I still followed this, but anyways I can't say he is a moron, but more of a person who is less familiar in the workings of Military Sims, being biased isn't a bad thing as long as you try to take it into the perspective of fans of the genre or even a neutral stance, but not blatantly being against the game due to not understanding it or even not knowing how to proceed when reviewing a game like this. They should have used a more experience reviewer such as the reviewer who reviewed the ARMA 2 series. Though I guess that is kinda biased as well. Though this review is out of date anyways, most of the problems if not all have all been rectified or at least mitigated as much as possibe.

m1rock
m1rock

 @Sheddius Have you actually played this game? I mean really played it?  I have.  Its awful!  Even for a sim its awful!   TONS of bugs, broken objectives.   Awful.  Take for example, the mission searching.  You go to an objective marker, then they spawn 100 germans right ON TOP of your team with no way to hide or escape.  Or give you bonus objectives that are impossible to complete in the time allowed. And thats IF you can even get the objective to trigger.  Half the time the game wont let you advance or will fail your mission because you didnt follow a very strict preset path.  Yeah thats realistic.  Or how about mind boggling options like unlimited saves in normal and up difficulties and ONE save in novice difficulty! MAKES NO SENSE!  Not to mention the poorly translated English menus.  Revert and suspend my game? Dont you mean restart and quit???  I could go on and on.  I swear you people who defend this game havnt even played it!

xmonpar
xmonpar

older game like hidden & dangerous or red orchestra...better than this

Smosh150
Smosh150

 @Reuwsaat Honestly the game is really fun, if you like mil sims then you will enjoy it. The graphics are fine, any more and you will kill your GPU, the only really bad factors about this game are the bugs and shotty connection, but that can be all fixed, if you are up for the larning curve the game is really fun. Learning curve isn't that hard if you are playing with other people who know how to play and are willing to help/teach you.

Smosh150
Smosh150

 @lmfaoown As much as I dislike COD it is inappropriate to call him a "COD moron", I see the context in which you are meaning, but since this is text it implies that all who play COD are morons. I do agree that this seems to be the wrong reviewer for the job though, as I said they should have used a reviewer with military sim experience or the reviewer who reviewed ARMA 2 as he should have the necessary experience to review a game that is close to ARMA 2.

Clovergirl227
Clovergirl227

 @lsw3638

 Only a modification of Arma was bought by the US military to help instruct soldiers on firing techniques and situational awareness. It wasn't funded by them, they put out a competition to developers to come up with a system they needed, they chose, and bought it. The version of Arma we play is nothing like the one they have, and was build and released before.

Ruukasu01
Ruukasu01

 @Ragingbear505

 your probably right but that doesn't stop the game from sucking horiblly. Either way, the game really is disappointing and definately unappealing.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

 @Ragingbear505 

you sir, are very correct. i want my sim games to brief me with 10 pages long and make me spend 2 hours setting up the tactics beforehand.

jmrwacko
jmrwacko

 @Dredloc ARMA 2 doesn't have garbage graphics, and it has a large modding community and tons of developer support.

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @xmonpar A Stuart tank KO a Stug III at 1500metres ????not that great, but yeah Red Orchestra is somewhat better gameplay integrated.

lmfaoown
lmfaoown

 @Smosh150 I agree with you, and not all cod players are morons.  I worded it pretty badly, and was a really quick reply.

Iron Front: Liberation 1944 More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    Iron Front - Liberation 1944 has players take on the role of a Russian or German infantryman, using teamwork, tactical skill, and authentic war machines to battle for victory.
    5.3
    Average User RatingOut of 99 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Iron Front: Liberation 1944
    Developed by:
    X1 Software
    Published by:
    Deep Silver
    Genres:
    Strategy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Language, Violence