|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Wargaming.net||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-Multi||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
May 1, 2009 - When you think of Square Enix, you probably don't think of games based on World War II. Although the house of Final Fantasy has been more than successful with its successful JRPG franchises, Square Enix is looking to start extending its grasp beyond the realm of Japanese-developed RPGs. For its first project Square Enix is working with Wargaming.Net on Order of War, a tactics-based title that is set during the final months of World War II.
Order of War seems to be a very straightforward tactics title, with players commanding troops, artillery, tanks, and airplanes in order to succeed in battle. Since the game takes place in the closing months of World War II, most of the story will revolve around your unit's desperation over the dire situation that seems to be coming to a head.
In Order of War, you can play as either the Americans or Germans. Although instead of playing through a single memorable assault through the gaze of either side, you will be able to participate in two completely different campaigns. You can play as the Americans and lead your side to victory, as history depicts, or you can play as the Germans during an assault by the Red Army. The secondary campaign is of most interest, as it allows you to rewrite history.
One thing Order of War is really trying to get right with respect to the tactical system is the map layout. The various landscapes feature plenty of tactical land formations like hills, valleys, and fields. However, instead of giving you a simple view of these landscapes, Order of War will use a unique camera system that includes multiple perspectives for each area. This cinema system aims to give players a movie-like experience when playing the game. The multiple camera angles will also allow players to get a better view of the action and make more informed tactics decisions.
The graphics themselves look really slick, and the game uses several filters in order to give it a very nostalgic look. Much care has also been taken with the landscaping in Order of War as well. Forested European landscapes look lush and lifelike, and there are plenty of natural elements that shape the gameplay. From the look of the trailer, it seems that the landscapes will feature sloping terrain that is navigable only by tank or by plane. In blended portions of the landscape, there also seems to be tactical advantages for certain units over different terrains.
Another really impressive facet in Order of War is the amount of active troops you can control. You will be able to take command of up to 1,000 independent troops at one time. It also seems likely that all of these troops will be displayed on screen at once, which will certainly make for some frenzied gameplay.
In addition to the frenzy caused by the high troop levels, there will be even more mayhem caused by the multitude of destructible elements in the game. These will include buildings, trees, and, of course, enemies. The different explosion animations look very spectacular, and the destruction physics are also very detailed. Although the trailer didn't show off any large-scale explosions up-close, even moderate tank-based explosions look great, so hopefully there will be more footage soon.
In addition to the two single-player campaigns, there will also be a couple online modes: Deathmatch and Skirmish. Although not much is known about what these different modes will exactly entail, the inclusion of multiplayer will undoubtedly increase the replay value of this title past the two campaign modes.
Order of War seems to be an unexpected choice for the first Western-developed title published by Square Enix. However, by going against the status quo, I think Square Enix is making a smart decision, especially with a game that looks as strong as Order of War. Though the gameplay seems like it will stick pretty firmly to RTS conventions, I think that it will prove to be a good thing. The visuals also look like they are coming along rather nicely; I can't wait to see more from this title. Although no firm release date is set, Order of War should be releasing sometime later this year.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor