GC 2008: Men of War First Look

Live World War II through three different perspectives in this new strategy game from 1C.

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Men of War is the upcoming sequel to 2004's well-received World War II real-time strategy game Soldiers: Heroes of World War II. The previous game was praised for its intricate challenging gameplay and quality presentation, and based on what we saw today of Men of War during a visit to 1C (the publisher of the game), that same quality seems to be continuing in stride.

The game takes place in Europe and North Africa during the second world war and will feature action in three campaigns: Soviet, Allied, and German. During the demo, we were dipped in and out of a couple of the Soviet missions to get a feel for how drastically the game changes as you progress through the storyline.

The first Soviet mission we watched saw a small band of soldiers operating in a squad and trying to capture an enemy tank that had them pinned down. Though you can give orders to multiple units at a time, the 1C producer on hand pointed out that in smaller missions like this your best bet is to take control of individual units to get the most out of your strategy. The tactic for capturing the tank first involved taking out enemy units nearby, including flanking a nearby vehicle with a lone soldier and blasting it to bits with a grenade. After dealing with the soldiers that were defending the tank, our demonstrator was able to capture it and repair its damaged tank tread.

Once the tank was captured it was time to wreak havoc. Producers pointed out the intelligent enemy behavior several times to us--once they saw a tank coming, for example, enemy units were loathe to try to attack the tank directly. More interesting to us was the fact that enemy units located farther away from the conflict weren't even aware that an enemy tank was heading their way--until they were called by their comrades and asked to help out in the fight.

Compared to its predecessor, Men of War will feature 20 new units to try out in missions that range from stealthlike strikes to large-scale assaults. We saw a later Soviet level during the demo, and the change from the relatively intimate earlier mission was stark, with lots of enemies to control and battles ranging across several different fronts.

If you're tired of the single-player campaign (which will include 19 total missions), Men of War will also feature online multiplayer for up to 16 people, as well as the ability to play as Japan in multiplayer. Because there will be no resource gathering or other traditional RTS tropes, the developers are hoping that Men of War will cater to strategy fans who don't mind a bit more pace in their World War II battles. Men of War is scheduled for release next month.

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