Where are you hiding it Order of War? Where’s that nugget of novelty, that pinch of personality that sets you apart from the rest of the Company of Blitzkrieg set?
It’s certainly not in your two nine-mission campaigns. They’re as predictable as they come – 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’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’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
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