A impressive war simulation let down by its tough, confusing gameplay and the lack of storytelling and personality.

User Rating: 7.5 | Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 PC
First of all Theater of War 2: Africa can be considered a leap foward from the previous title but still have the some of the very same issue that make such an impressive game not so impressive compare to other recent war games. For you who had no idea whats is it, Theater of War 2: Africa, similar to Theater of War, is a war simulation, where thickness of your tank's armor, gun calibre, type of shell fire from your artillery gun and tanks and how well your troops are supported will meant a swift victory or total defeat. Its basically a game that mimic real war that hitpoint doesn't count in a real war.

Because its a war simulation and not a classic RTS games, the first thing you notice that its a very challenging game to play for beginners, including me. Since, you can have 5 to 10 Sherman or Valentine tanks and still being knockout by a single Tiger tank. Its a game that challenge you to plan, strategies, and coordinate an assault and not simply pushing tanks and infantry to the frontline. Your opponent will try to pinned you down with better strategy, advantage terrain to stop you from overunning them while try to cut your troops down. Its a game where large numbers or thick armor doesn't gauruntee a victory to your force.

The game's theme is set during the 1942 North Africa Campaign, you either lead the US and British army led by Montgomery and Eisenhower to drive the Germans & Italians out of North Africa or you command the Panzer Army Africa or the Africa Korp, led by Erwin Rommel in the last full scale offenssive against the Allied forces. The game itself have a pretty accurate background featured real terrain base on the 1942 North Africa setting. Its a game that emphasis on realism and it does it nicely compare to most of the war games. The game itself have impressive graphics, from the realistic tanks and other vehicles to the buildings. Though the explosion is not that impressive compare to some of the games that featured real explosion. Infantry look better compare to the previous title, yet is still not as good as to the vehicle itself. The game featured a veriety of weapons, and vehicles, including the well known Panzer III & IV, Sherman tanks, trucks with armor number on every part that will be hit, including the turrent, rear, front and even the side armor. The vehicles type, armor, weaponary and even backgorund can be view in the mini encyclopedia featured in the game itself. Annoying as it can be, is that no matter how thick the armor of a vehicle is, if the vehicle is hit at the tracks or wheels, the tracks or wheels will break, it will rendered it immobalized. Since you can't repair it during combat, even the best of tanks can be nearly useless in a abttle, especailly in maps where its very, very and I mean very wide areas.

Each of the three campaign, the US, British and Africa Korp featured 5 missions. Seems kinda short for just 15 mission in total. But in most missions, especially the Africa Korp will make you save games multiple times just because your enemies have a far larger force to throw at you, and even worst where your army is continuosly rain down by artillery fire. Your AI opponent can't considered to be even a bright commander, but make up by fielding a larger force where it enjoying throwing everything at you. The missionitself can also be confusing, you may run around for hours trying to figure out what or how to complete the mission until you realise you have to hunt down every last of your enemy or secure the town by destroyng every hidden enemy.

The mission was a dissapointment even further by the lack of storytelling, the game simply give you the mission and its background, order of battle and deploying your forces without much detail on how, what or when to attack. No characters or cinematic to give a further insight and story of the North Africa Campaign itself. Basically, it is a game that just giving mission, nothing much nothing less.

The multiplayer however, tells a a different story, where you are given a similar amount of point, where you can have a force similar size to your opponent. Some tanks like the Panzer VI Tiger can destroy the entire army by itself , and yet can still be destroy by a skilled Allied player. This is at the point the AI is no longer able to enjoying throw army at you, simply because it can't or its system wasn't versitile enough to outmenuever your force(Hmmm, if Montgomery or Erwin Rommel was there he would have shot that commander). This is when real player comes in. It is a challenging to see you and your opponent trying to avoid fighthing you head on and attempt to take every advantage he/she can to defeat you. Giving a good classical war simulation.

If you are not satisfy for AI torturing you and confusing gameplay, you can create your very own mission by the mission battle genarator. The map and mission genarator is far more simple and allowing you to create scenario and missions that created by yourself. The system itself also rarely hampered the computer, thus allowing to create a map or missionwithout suddnely lag. You can create mission by placing orders, and triggers, tricky at first but later will able to enjoy the benefit of having your very own missions, where you can have masses of tanks while your AI opponent can only field infantry with no support at all!

In a nutshell, if you don't mind the lacking, confusing and tough mission. And willing to spent some time creating your own or just go straight to the multiplayer. This game is a classic war simulation, where Montgomery and Erwin Rommel would have also like to have it in thier inventory.