by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
I hate first impressions. It's too easy to dismiss something as rubbish that is in reality perfectly fine, just because you started off on the wrong foot. I almost dismissed Officers: World War II because of first impressions and that would have been a real shame. Granted, the game didn't exactly make it easy for me to like it straight from the start. Loading up my first game took forever and a day, only to kick me out in mere minutes telling me that I had failed my objective. I thought to myself "Damn this game is tough!" and tried again and again, and yet again. I am glad I did, as I am still playing now - and enjoying it.
Officers: World War II is a Real-Time Strategy game that takes the player to the beaches of Normandy at the end of World War II. Similar to other recent games in the genre, it does away with the classic base building and resource gathering in favor of fast-paced action. The game prides itself on its scale and rightfully so. With up to 10 square miles across, maps are positively huge and the amount of units that can do battle on the same map is a whopping 1500. Does size matter? Absolutely.
A new approach
As it turns out, the difficulty level of Officers: World War II isn't as bad as it first appeared. It took me a while to figure out how to play the game and learn why I got my ass kicked the first few attempts. The game isn't particularly strong in the graphics department and when my first soldiers landed on Omaha Beach, I figured this was some simple, run of the mill strategy game. I opted for a frontal attack against the Nazi defenses and saw my troops getting shredded to pieces in no time. Learning from my mistakes, I started to treat my AI adversaries with a little more respect and went on to fully use the tools available to me while commanding my forces.
Every unit has four skills. Infantry units have Shooting, Camouflage, Detection and Repair. For vehicles, Repair is replaced with Driving. Skills improve with use which is an incentive to keep your units alive as long as possible. I didn't really notice any difference between rookie squads and more experienced ones so I tended not to pay too much attention to the skill levels. Keeping units alive however, is certainly worth the effort. There is no resource gathering so you are completely dependent on whatever reinforcements the game will give you.
While you are dependent on the reinforcements, you do have a say in both the type and amount of reinforcements that become available. The game map is littered with both small and large strategic points. The larger ones provide resource income and capturing these will generally have a big effect on your spending power. The smaller points give smaller bonuses, but the risk of attacking them is easily offset against the gains. Bonuses range from food and fuel to special units and additional artillery support to help you soften up heavily defended enemy strongholds.
The concept of supply is handled strangely in this game. Infantry units can set up landmines to help protect important regions, but only at the cost of their ammo supply. Each sector starts with a set amount of resources that are used up by your military. Food is usually the first supply that threatens to run out. It is possible to transfer resources from one sectorĺs main strategic point to another by giving transport orders from the resource map. Trucks will leave the depot, heading for the designated depot to drop off their goods. It is entirely possible to intercept these supplies, and the enemy will gladly take out these easy targets, so ferrying stuff around can be a big risk.
No Pros and Cons at this time