By Jove, it’s a bloody war!
As previously mentioned, the British forces play a little differently to the Americans and a lot of that is at first communicated through the voice acting.
Yep, Opposing Fronts
has unfortunately started down that long, dark road of using stereotypical voice acting and writing in place of the decent character-building cutscenes of the original game. Sometimes it’s just the Germans, talking in English but bizarrely using occasional German terms and reminding each other to “Remember what Mother used to tell us, eh Klaus?
”, but the British fall prey to this acting too.
With the British Army, it’s the usual problems. There’s the officers who are typically stoic and posh, supported by the grunts who are voiced in an annoying blend of English accents, all of whom you can expect to use phrases like “By Jove, that was a blighter!
Moving onto gameplay, I should point out that the voice acting isn’t the only difference between the officers and grunts of the British side. Veterans are formed a little differently than in the original game too, with only officers being capable of becoming veterans. As officers upgrade to veteran status, they gain a few new abilities – as if it were a special course they teach at Eton, or something.
Opposing Fronts lets players campaign as either the British 2nd Army (left) or the Panzer Elite (right)
Officer status isn’t just limited to single, pompous men running around on the battlefield though. Certain units like the Cromwell Command Tank count as officers too it seems and form an invaluable part of the British forces. The tanks in particular are especially useful and can use their increased speed ability to nip behind enemy tanks and fire a few shells into the un-armoured rear of the enemy.
Rumours and previews of the expansion previously suggested that the British would be a more defensive force than the Americans of the original game, but in my experience they were just as effective at ploughing forward as their allies. The different command trees, formed of Canadian Artillery, Royal Commandos and Scottish Engineers, are versatile enough to let the British lead the charge effectively and the artillery support is great for clearing entrenched enemies when needed.
Operation: Farmers Market
Then there’s the other team, the German Panzer Elite who must fight a campaign set around the time period of Operation Market Garden.
Unlike the British or American forces, the Germans are an obviously shattered army made up of disorganised elements from all branches of the German military. As such, as they try to weather the storm, they have to learn to make do with what they have rather than building up large forces.
Click to enlarge
Because of this, the German army feels like it focuses more on guerilla type tactics, using speedy troops and vehicles to nip in and out of smaller skirmishes and using halftracks to try and hold ground. This approach lets the German forces do some things the other forces cannot, such as recovering some partially destroyed vehicles or using infantry to fire heavy weapons from within vehicles.
Again though, the main falling point for the German forces is the voice acting both in the game and in the cutscene. The German forces feel like an army of cardboard cut-out thanks to the dodgy voice acting and the matter isn’t helped much by the way that orders are barked at the player via a tactical map in between objectives.