Order of War Impressions - First Look

We take a first look at this large-scale World War II strategy game.

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World War II was an epic conflict, and developer Wargaming.net has partnered with Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix in the hopes that its real-time strategy game Order of War will be a comparably epic game. Order of War will offer huge, cinematic battles in both single-player and multiplayer with upward of 1,000 soldiers actively fighting on expansive battlefields that are miles around.

The game has been in development for some three-and-a-half years; in fact, it has already launched in Russia under the name of Operation Bagration, and though that game offered only Eastern Front combat, it apparently went on to win several awards in the Russian game community. The original game has since undergone a massive overhaul, adding in Western Front conflicts, English localization, and various technical enhancements.

The game will offer two different single-player campaigns for both US and German forces; each will offer six missions on the Eastern Front and three missions on the Western Front. Wargaming.net is looking to offer a great deal of tactical variety in the various campaigns (as well as in multiplayer) by including many different kinds of reinforcements, such as infantry, vehicles, armor (in the form of a great variety of tanks), airships, paratroopers, offscreen artillery strikes, and one-off air strikes. There will also be interesting tactical concerns on the ground, such as the ability to garrison buildings and trenches with infantry, as well as the ability to destroy terrain with Wargaming.net's proprietary game engine, which the studio developed in-house.

The developer apparently seeks to appeal to both hardcore and casual players by including features that it hopes will appeal to both types of gamer. The more-casual players will hopefully enjoy the game's "fancy camera," which lets you zoom the camera in close on a unit or handful of units with a letterboxed view that blacks out the top and bottom of your screen. The game will also feature a full soundtrack produced by composer Jeremy Soule, whose previous credits include The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Company of Heroes. Furthermore, the campaigns will offer fully voiced in-game cinematic sequences from your fictitious military superiors--recurring characters--who will constantly pop into the gameplay after you've completed each goal on the game's multi-objective campaign maps. These characters will deliver clearly voiced briefings that will point you in the direction of your next goal. In addition, the game will feature three difficulty settings, the lowest of which will be "easy."

Order of War will offer huge 3D representations of some of the most famous historical World War II battles.
Order of War will offer huge 3D representations of some of the most famous historical World War II battles.

Of course, for the serious strategy fans, the game will also offer a normal difficulty setting, as well as the highest setting, "hardcore." Wargaming.net also hopes that serious strategy fans will appreciate the game's emphasis on historically accurate military vehicles, tactics, and battles. The US campaign will retell the story of the war in brief from the side of the Americans, though the German campaign will necessarily include less-related battles that highlight the Axis armies' engineering superiority, especially its massive King Tiger tanks. The game will also offer multiplayer in the form of competitive maps and team-based two-versus-two multiplayer maps that will be based on the campaign levels.

Order of War's huge maps and attention to historical detail will hopefully appeal to serious strategy buffs, whereas the game's cinematic elements, explosively destructible environments and physics engine, and impressively huge battles will hopefully appeal to more-casual players. The game is scheduled for release later this year.

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