Men of War - Conclusions

Writing a proper conclusion for Men of War has been a pretty difficult process for me, as I must confess – I absolutely love this game. The level of detail and involvement that the excellent unit AI and direct control system brings makes Men of War play unlike any other RTS on the market and the way the levels are able to shift from small scale, involving just a handful of units to memorable huge scale warfare involving masses of forces without overwhelming the player is an accomplishment in its own right.

The fact that the game goes some way towards avoiding all the clichéd World War Two settings is also really refreshing, and rather than once again taking us on a tour of Stalingrad and Berlin, as so many WW2 titles have done in the past, you’re launched into battles that have been undeservedly untouched by other titles in the genre. This isn’t Hollywood World War Two; it demonstrates a much deeper knowledge and understanding of the setting.

However, as fantastic as the game’s core gameplay is, the ludicrous difficulty curve is a big barrier in the way of Men of War earning universal recommendation.

Men of War Men of War - Conclusions
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One particular level starts with you in control of a single escaped soldier armed with a pistol tasked with assisting the resistance fighters assault the prison camp. It quickly becomes an exercise in frustration as your solitary soldier is killed again. And again. And again, until you figure out the exact course of action required to sneak up on the sentry, steal his rifle and anti-tank grenades, destroy the two German light tanks attacking the resistance fighters single-handed and then join in the assault. The feeling of accomplishment when you succeed might be sweet, but gameplay that relies on such trial and error tactics will no doubt irritate.

While the larger levels are much more approachable, with the ability to call in reinforcements and special attacks, it’s these smaller scale levels, which the game unfortunately starts with, that will annoy players the most. Despite the frequent autosaves throughout the course of missions you’ll still find yourself restarting some dozens of times in the quest to find the right course of action.

Men of War Men of War - Conclusions
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Men of War Men of War - ConclusionsCombine the high difficulty level with presentation and cut scenes that are on par with the original Resident Evil (yes, in places it really is that bad) and you’re left with a game which, while delivering a fantastic experience at its core, lacks almost any of the sort of polish that big name RTS titles like Red Alert 3 or Dawn of War 2 have in spades.

While those able to look past to dodgy cut scenes, master the controls and persevere despite the difficulty will be richly rewarded by what is at its heart one of the finest RTS in years, the numerous barriers make Men of War a game that, while a paradise for the hardcore RTS fan, some will find just too intimidating and unapproachable.

However, even with its flaws I still love Men of War. The title is as generic as a tin of beans, the voice acting frequently laughable and the game itself harder than Mr. T’s chin, but buried underneath these, some would argue superficial issues is one of the most memorable, gripping and most importantly enjoyable strategy titles in years. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you class yourself as a fan of real time strategy games then you owe it to yourself to play Men of War.

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September 18 2020 | 18:30