Battlefront18 Oct 2006 0
YOU MAY HAVE TO FIGHT A BATTLE MORE THAN ONCE TO WIN IT
Margaret Thatcher could easily have been referring to PC war gaming when she uttered the above quoted phrase. With clearly no shortage of World War II strategy titles, wargame designers are forced to innovate in order to ensure that the latest efforts rise above the rest of the flock.
Enter Battlefront, the upcoming battalion-scale wargame system in development by SSG and Matrix Games. Shipping with brutal, high-intensity scenarios on multiple fronts, including the Pacific Theater (Saipan); Western Front (Market Garden), Eastern Front (Novorossisk) and North Africa (Gazala), Battlefront promises to provide players with a diverse and satisfying strategy experience spanning the entirety of the globe.
Distinguishing Battlefront from otherwise similar strategic level treatments of World War II, is the battalion scale command focus, which according to SSG and Matrix, will permit ?the player with a chance to experience true issues of command, control, sighting, and supply at a level that emphasizes plenty of tough but enjoyable decisions to make.?
WAR IS AN UGLY THING, BUT NOT THE UGLIEST OF THINGS
Battlefront?s graphics are strictly utilitarian, but lend to the atmosphere of a table-top map with regiment and battalion unit counters jockeyed to and fro, just like one may expect to find under a battlefield HQ tent.
The top-down strategic maps are displayed colorfully with varied terrain features such as, woods, marsh, elevated, rough and broken terrain, roads, farms, towns, etc. Geographic features vary from theater to theater, so would-be commanders will not find sugar plantations near Arnhem or rough desert on Saipan. The screen resolution in the preview build I received is still a Beta release, so the images I saw were less than crisp and made examination of vital unit statistics and map terrain difficult. However, review of the options screen thankfully reveals that resolution control in the final build will be implemented. Also of use is a neat and unique ?looking-glass? tool, available to help commanders zoom in and focus on key areas of the battlefield.
Battlefront features on-map unit counters depicting off-shore naval units, and the wide spectrum of combat land units such as, infantry, engineer, armor, anti-tank, artillery, HQ, and supply elements. Unit counters utilize standard NATO military symbols together with a more recognizable unit silhouette, and indicate information relative to TO&E, strength, supply, and action points remaining. Animation appears limited to on-map unit movement and brief explosions during combat. Make no mistake, Battlefront is not about thrilling players? senses, but rather aims at appealing to the military tactician inside of us all.
Similarly, sound in Battlefront is subdued, with an appropriate, but uninspired musical score and sound effects limited to brief explosions, automatic weapons chatter, and vehicle and infantry movement.