Strategic Command WW2 – War In Europe is a turn based wargame developed by Fury software and published by Slitherine. For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s a turn based strategy game played on a hex grid system that allows players to play various operations in World War 2.
The Strategic Command series has been a franchise that has always had more substance than style with consistently dated graphics and user interfaces. Fury Software however, know what should go under the hood in these games and have provided some great mechanics in their games over the years.
Chilly out today
War in Europe continues the trend of low quality visuals with high quality gameplay, but this time the game opens itself up to try and be more welcoming to newer players. The game tries to be accessible enough for everyone while retaining enough depth for advanced veterans of the game and genre.
Strategic command is played top down with battalions of units represented by icons on the huge map. Any campaign in this game is a serious time investment that can run into the tens, if not hundreds of hours. The map itself spans the world and players must manage several frontlines of engagement at any one time.
As with any in depth strategy game, the battlefield is not the most critical item you must manage. Players have diplomacy and supply lines to worry about which are essential to seeing your troops succeed. The diplomatic options available allows you to enter into talks with countries, this gives you the options to try get their support either by entering the war on your side, cutting of supplies to the enemy or brokering trade for yourself.
Maybe I can just sneak round
The game is not just about achieving military victories, as it is about making important diplomatic and political decisions to outmanoeuvre the enemy. One cannot be achieved without the other, it is a game of wits on all fronts and should you neglect your diplomatic warfare, eventually, your military front will suffer the consequences.
One of the great things about War In Europe is that even the complex systems such as the supply system is mostly kept under the hood and offers newer places easy ways to understand systems that are fairly complex. This in turn has allowed the game to reduce its learning curve substantially, leaving it much more accessible all round.
Supplies are very important in the game and while there are a lot of factors constantly affecting the system, new players however need only be kept to a few simple rules to manage supplies successfully. Since supplies directly affect things like unit movement, it is important to keep HQ’s close to the frontline, keep supply lines to frontline units unobstructed and keep researching logistic related technologies on the tech tree.
New York City!
Combat comes in all forms you would expect, land, sea, and air. Wining battles is about using the terrain penalties to your advantage and making sure you use the correct unit type against what the enemy is fielding. Putting a squad of machine gunners against a tank battalion for example, is going to yield little results. Keeping troops supplied and not throwing your units into suicide missions is a sound strategy, but it will take more than common sense to defeat your foe.
On the harder difficulties the computer AI is very proficient so expect a challenge as you try to take it on. The AI Fury has designed is quite the opponent, players could expect well thought out tactical decisions and balanced counter attacks from the enemy, so winning won’t be easy.
A solid part of the game is the implementation of a good Fog of War mechanic. The fog of war in the game keeps a realistic shroud over the enemy which will leave you guessing when and where they are amassing forces, and what their objectives are.
Due to the complex nature of the game, the one major issue I found playing was my own lack of understanding throughout. I often had to return to the manual or look up help online to truly understand how some of the mechanics worked. This often meant I had made major poor decisions early game that did not become apparent until later on, leaving me to start a new game several times.
Strategic Command WW2 – War In Europe is a solid instalment for the franchise that will please long-time fans. The developers have made improvements to make the game more accessible to newer players but still has a steep learning curve for some of the mechanics.
It’s sad that while the back end quality is there, the front end still suffers from outdated visuals and a lacklustre audio soundtrack. One feels that some investment in this area could help push the franchise forward into this century. This would help attract new players to the franchise and make the game feel fresh while retaining what makes the game good.
STRATEGIC COMMAND WWII: WAR IN EUROPE VERDICT
A solid outing for the franchise that is helped by the strives taken to make things easier for newer players, still could use some innovation and polish.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Beating the AI on a high difficulty is a noteworthy achievement.