by Gregory Squires
previewed on PC
Not This Again
It can be a daunting task, going back to basics with a WW2 shooter. Now that the world seems to be over and done with them, there’s always the possibility that no one will want to play it. However, if Danish developer Reto-Moto’s past has anything to say about them, it’s that they love a challenge; and with their brilliant new spin on two classic genres, Reto-Moto has a potential hit on their hands with their latest mash-up of First Person Shooter and Real Time Strategy in their game Heroes & Generals.
Heroes & Generals is an online browser-based massively multiplayer first person shooter. What makes it different than other shooters is the intuitive real time strategy based component. This explains the title: Heroes & Generals. Heroes being the name of the brave soldiers delving into the First Person Shooter game; and Generals the handle for the master strategists that command the Real Time Strategy game. As in real life, an aspiring General must prove himself in the fields of battle before he could ever hope to command an army.
After creating an account and choosing to be either German or American, your journey as a hero of war begins.
The Heroes aspect depicts the First Person Shooter component of the game. Instead of having formulas dictate the winner of a confrontation like a table top strategy game; an online first person shooter game begins. Akin to that of Battlefield 3 or Star Wars Battlefront 2, when you first join a game (either by starting in a fresh game, or joining a match already in progress) you are confronted with a choice between different Assault Units, which basically determine what ‘special’ types of soldiers you can be. These can either be placed in a battle by a General, or randomly generated by the game. It was a pleasant surprise to see that almost all actions had animations, from riding a bicycle to reloading, unlike most pre-beta first person shooters.
German and American characters both have separate weapon loadouts, to coincide with the realism presented by the game. As a German, I had a myriad array of weapons at my disposal. Some of these weapons are the Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistol, Karabiner 98k with a scoped variant, MP 40 sub machine gun and a Maschinengewehr 42 light machine gun. A few of the explosives are the Stielhandgranate 24 hand grenade and the Tellermine 42 anti-tank mine. A player who had chosen to be an American, would of course have a different loadout than me.
Being a General basically centers on the command of Assault teams. ‘What are assault teams?’ I hear you ask? Assault teams basically add different troop types, vehicles, weapons and equipment to selected battles. They can either be added to battles by players acting as Generals, or spawned randomly by the game. Assault Teams are specialized units that can help overcome certain offences laid out by your opponent, for example if the other team has a tank, your team will be given an Anti-Tank Assault Team by the game. A few more of these Assault Teams include Mechanized Infantry, Recon, Fighter Squadron and Paratroopers. Because Assault Teams are specialized, each type has its advantages and disadvantages. For example Anti-Tank Assault Teams do well in urban settings with lots of buildings around for cover. On the flipside, they are terrible in rural settings due to the lack of cover. It’s a General’s job to make sure their troops are well-equipped with the Assault Team best suited to their needs.