D-Day Hands-On

Get ready to fight the greatest invasion in history in this real-time strategy game.

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D-Day is the upcoming real-time strategy game from Hungarian developer Digital Reality, the developer of Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps. As such, it takes the gameplay and graphics of Desert Rats and adapts it for the Normandy invasion of 1944, with a number of improvements, of course. D-Day is on display at London's Game Stars Live show this week, where we got a chance to try it out.

In D-Day, you'll control Allied forces as they go from the landing on the beaches all the way through the major battles of the campaign. These include the battle of the Falaise pocket, Operation Cobra, and the breakout out of the Normandy pocket. D-Day is more of a real-time tactical game, since you'll control individual units on the battlefield as you try to use tactics and the terrain to your advantage rather than building up a base and collecting resources to prepare.

There are a wide range of forces at your disposal, including infantry and sappers, who are useful for disarming antivehicle mines. The level of micromanagement appears to be manageable, and you can give your forces permission to move and fight freely, which is helpful. So instead of having to click on individual sappers and then having to click again to order them to disarm a mine, you can set them loose and they'll automatically disarm any mines in the vicinity while you focus on other areas.

Digital Reality is also adding a lot of new vehicles to the game in order to faithfully adhere to history. As the D-Day invasion took place after the desert campaigns in North Africa, expect to see heavier German tanks in the game, ranging from the King Tiger to the Panther.

Obviously, Digital Reality has had to adapt the graphics engine from Desert Rats to go from rendering sparse deserts to rendering the lush Normandy countryside. The game still looks great--the 3D models are quite detailed and the textures are sharp. D-Day will feature both a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer modes, and a map editor is being thrown in as well. The game recently shipped in Europe, but the US version will ship later this year.

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