Men of War: Red Tide Hands-On Preview

Written by Harry Butler

September 5, 2009 | 11:16

Tags: #1c-company #direct-control #hand-on #men-of-war #preview #red-tide #rts #russian

Companies: #1c-publishing #history

Men of War: Red Tide - Impressions

There are differences between this new game and the original, though, especially in regards the scope of levels. One of the missions in Red Tide saw us holding a large defensive line against an onslaught of German tanks and half-tracks but we only had the option to control a tiny handful of infantry and the crews of any anti tank guns strewn across the battlefield.

While the trenches are still manned with hundreds of nicely detailed and authentically armed men, these units were now beyond your control, leaving us to just concentrate on effective use of AT guns in direct control mode to smash the oncoming armoured speartip.

While the result is less overwhelming complex than similar missions in Men of War it hits a snag when you urgently need to re-crew a damaged gun or force infantry to throw an anti-tank grenade or Molotov at an oncoming Panzer only to find that they don’t listen to you anymore, and are duly cut down by waves of angry Germans (a bit like Joe when he started going on about Monkey Island at last month’s GamesCom).

Men of War: Red Tide Hands-On Preview Men of War: Red Tide - Impressions
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The same case of a considerably reduced array of controllable units also cropped up later in the mission where we were tasked with counter attacking the German lines. Where as in Men of War we’d have been charged with a number of tanks and infantry with which to throw at the waiting Germans, Red Tide put in charge of just two tanks and a dozen or so fragile Infantry with which to crack the entrenched Germans – needless to say that the quickload key got a hammering following this point.

The gameplay we’ve sampled also seemed a fair bit more linear than what we’ve seen in previous campaigns. One of the best things about Men of War was that it had the wonderful feeling tantamount to playing with your toy soldiers, with the player given the choice of which tools to use to crack the problem of “Fascists need killing.” Call in the artillery? Fix up a Tiger tank and go on a direct control rampage? Take a group of tooled up commandos round the flanks and wreak havoc with a commandeered Howitzer? These were the gleefully fun choices that made the original game’s bigger levels so much fun, and we hope that 1C hasn’t forgotten that in favour of a more rigid game structure.

Men of War: Red Tide Hands-On Preview Men of War: Red Tide - Impressions
Click to enlarge

However, those concerned that the fun of direct control has been diluted have nothing to worry about, with the satisfaction of insta-gibbing a German Tank with a well placed AT gun or going all Audie Murphy with a solo infantryman still intact.

Of course, direct control allows you to take control of any unit available to you, be it tank, infantry or an artillery piece. Red Tide -as its distinctly nautical name implies - expands the unit count with gun boats, new tanks and even a battleship or two, although whether we’ll get a chance to play with the naval vessels rather than just have them there as backup remains to be seem.

From what we’ve seen of Red Tide so far then, it carries over much of what we liked (and didn't like so much) of the original, although we’re still worried about the apparently more limited and linear levels, we’re still hopeful that 1C can build upon the success of the original. The game really is a labour of love for the devs judging from the level of authentic and detail they put into the game, and we don’t expect to be disappointed come Red Tide’s release later this year.
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