Soldiers: Heroes of World War II E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

Codemasters' upcoming World War II game can be played as an action or strategy game, or as a combination of the two.

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Signed by Codemasters earlier this year, Soldiers: Heroes of World War II is a squad-based action and strategy game in which you'll be required to carry out around 30 missions behind enemy lines. You can choose to play the game as British, US, German, or Russian special forces, and you'll find that all of the vehicles, weapons, and even ammunition at your disposal are completely authentic.

The most intriguing feature of Soldiers: Heroes of World War II is that you can play it either as a real-time strategy game or as a third-person action game. The most effective way to carry out your missions, though, will be to do both. Each of your units, as well as any vehicles they might have commandeered, can be maneuvered using a standard point-and-click technique, but you'll also have a "direct control" option that lets you step into the boots of or get behind the wheel of the unit you're controlling and get closer to the action. The strategy controls, it seems, will be adequate to perform most of the actions in the game, but if you need to target a particular area of an enemy vehicle, for example, you'll find that the direct controls let you do that.

All of the vehicles in the game will boast realistic capabilities, including track speed, acceleration, turret speed, reload rates, and armor. Inanimate objects in the game will also boast realistic physics, meaning that they can be destroyed or used for cover as you see fit. The game will basically be a huge World War II toy box for you to play with, and although you'll have missions with very specific objectives to complete, you'll find that you have the freedom to approach them in any way you please.

Soldiers: Heroes of World War II is currently scheduled for release in June.

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