Let me be clear, this isn't an accurate simulation of WWII combat on the strategic or tactical level, its more like an impressionist's painting of WWII
One of the most popular themes in computer gaming is the second world war. The shear scope and drama of a conflict that spanned the globe, and still has repercussions to this day, has endless appeal to legions of game players. With so popular a topic, there is no shortage of titles based on the war. Into this crowded scene comes an old title, but an entirely new game, Axis and Allies 2004 edition.
Tanks are the backbone of any good assault, and A&A has plenty of them.
Combat on water is pretty itneresting, and provides some much-needed variety.
Axis and Allies is not a remake of the 1998 title, or the extremely popular board war game, it is an entirely new system. In fact, its really two games in one, an extremely challenging tactical game, and a superficial campaign game, that seems rather sparse on details. Let me be clear, this isn't an accurate simulation of WWII combat on the strategic or tactical level, its more like an impressionist's painting of WWII. But before I continue, let me also say, its a fun and challenging game, that will absorb many hours if you give it a chance.
The game is devided into a dozen allied scenarios, and a dozen axis scenarios. From El Alamein to the fall of Berlin, and the taking of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the allied player will control military forces of the three allied powers, the Americans, the British, and the Soviets. Each scenario involves capturing cities and airfields, and destroying the enemy, and as they progress, the game becomes progressively more difficult. You will breeze through the early battles, but by about the forth, you realize it isn't so easy. The ever popular 'tank rush' works early on, but as the scenarios progress, you will find your heavy metal turned to smoking scrap by axis anti-tank units. The key is to mix and match forces to deal with what the enemy army is equipped with.
The combat unit recruitment is somewhat typical of RTS games, and also a little different. You usually start only with a few unattached regiments, and a Corps headquarters, which must be protected at all costs, since it is the only unit that can produce divisional HQs. There are several types of divisional HQs, that you must buy in order, the first being infantry, than motorized, and so on. You must also produce ammo and fuel trucks, if you expect to keep your army operating. Also needed are engineer, motor pool and artillery trucks, each opens up new units and techs that improve existing units. Money is based on how many HQ and cities you hold, and combat units and fortifications are subtracted by this total.
Airpower is handled the same way as the other units, build an airfield, and study tech, but each air strike cost money, and missions can be delayed if you lose planes to enemy flak, so there is incentive to fly flak suppression as well as bombing operations. The games selects a single historical type, no matter the time period for planes, but they are well done and fun to watch in operation. Airborne ops are treated the same as other units, build a HQ, and then you can deploy AB units anywhere on the map, if you have the money.
The graphics in the game are really good, especially the explosions.
Taking down a tank isn't easy, but possible with special anti-tank units.
Seapower and invasions are interesting operations, there are no transports in the game, only battle fleets and carriers. Battlefleets can recruit regiments of marines, and corp headquarters for invasions, and carriers can fly any air mission, and even launch air borne units, but don't worry, paratroops in this game is a rather weak infantry unit, and each HQ can only support three of them.
The regiments for each army are similar, they consist of things like regular infantry, mortar troops, anti-tank, and so on. Each type has a different cost to build and upkeep value. Tanks come in three levels, light, medium and heavy. In the scenarios, and effort was made to identify the correct type for the period, so there is some accuracy here, but not alot.
Combat is handled by giving orders via the common quick and drag method, and the animated units blaze away until they win, break, or are destroyed. Moral and experience are factors, and units can gain ranks, displayed as chevrons over the units. Air attacks are quite fun to watch, bomber circle the target and bomb away, while AA tries to shoot them down, and often does. Building and units can be repaired, buildings by engineers, units by being unengaged and in a supply zone, which is near a HQ or a captured town. This range can be extended by supply units.
The music in the game is quite good, dramatic at times, and some of it is used to alert players when units are built and destroyed. The game includes many ingame movies, one for each power, and a movie for each scenario, with excellent voice-over work, that is not corny, but fits and mood of the game quite well. The terrain is done nicely, and each theatre is given appropriate buildings for it.
There are a lot of varied environments to do battle on.
Air assets can be damaged by enemy forces during an attack run, so be careful.
AXIS & ALLIES VERDICT
Over all, if you are looking for an accurate WWII simulator, you should probably look elsewhere, as this game is not that. What it is, is a fun game that gives the feel of re fighting WWII, with a difficult and aggressive AI that will try to wipe you out. In fact, the Iwo and Okinawa scenarios seem almost unwinnable. The strategic game is not as well developed, but its still fun, and easy to play. If you like combat and WWII, by all means, pick this one up.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Recreating this fall of Berlin in this game is very exhilirating and entertaining.