Faces of War

The fact that the entire playing field can be leveled has left the developer no choice but to stick with Soldiers ' wonderful free-form style, where the player forges his own path using the toys at his or herdisposal.

For example, aheavily defended enemy outpost can be snuck around, assaulted using grenades and/or tanks, picked apart by sniper fire, decimated by air support, fired upon by captured artillery, or subjected to strafing runs from a commandeered motorbike and sidecar.

Let's say you decide to go with the latter, but disaster strikes! The wheels of the bike get shot during the attack leaving your brave soldiers stranded in the sights of your enemy. How do you go about rescuing them? The complex AI that governs your team governs the enemy too, so don't expect all of the ingenious plans to be your own.

Allied, Soviet and German campaigns are promised for single-player, each featuring a rudimentary troop experience system and various real-life battles and missions. There's also a beach landing level, because that seems to have become the rule for WWII games at some point.

The multiplayer is also no afterthought, or more specifically the co-op mode that was the best part of Soldiers and pure LAN party gold. With each player acting as a member of a hugely outnumbered squad, these games are an unending stream of schemes and heroics straight out of any number of war films.

There are many things in Faces of War that we should really have seen in the genre a long time ago. It's a cause for celebration that they're finally on their way.