Where are you hiding it Order of War? Where%26rsquo;s that nugget of novelty, that pinch of personality that sets you apart from the rest of the Company of Blitzkrieg set?
It%26rsquo;s certainly not in your two nine-mission campaigns. They%26rsquo;re as predictable as they come %26ndash; dreary slogging matches with almost no room for tactical experimentation. Something is badly wrong in a WWII RTS when you find yourself counting your teeth with your tongue during an Omaha Beach assault, or fabricating an origami frog while the Screaming Eagles storm Sainte-Mere-Eglise.
The scenario designers can%26rsquo;t shoulder all the blame. The folk that devised the combat mechanics also deserve Panzerfaust enemas. Despite a plump unit roster, incorporating everything from Tigers and Nebelwerfers to Sherman Calliopes and P-47s, Order of War%26rsquo;s warfare is deathly dull. There are no clear rock-paper-scissors relationships here, no role for cover, fog-of-war, morale, or veterancy. Nothing encourages you to employ anything but the crudest swarm tactics.
You might hope the game redeems itself in Skirmish or multiplayer? Nope. While both modes are a relief after the constrictions of the campaigns, neither provides enough variety or surprises to be serious long-term propositions. Why a studio with such a solid turn-based track-record (Massive Assault) would want to venture into a genre as well-trodden as this one is a mystery. Order of War is irrefutable proof pretty Panzers are no longer enough.
Oct 6, 2009