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I need a special snowflake game recommendation!
June 25, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Diablo is starting to wear a little thin. I need a game. I need some suggestions. I'm feeling a little... world war-ish. Please read on for my snowflake game requirements.

I've been reading through William Shirer's excellent Rise and Fall of the Third Reich lately. What a great read! It's making me want to play something... World War 2-ish.

Requirements!

A) I have trouble finding value in older games that lack a certain graphical polish, so, unless it's a hum-dinger, I'd like something made in the last 3 - 5 years at the outside. PC only, please.

B) A FPS is fine, I guess - and feel free to suggest them! But all this talk in the book about Axis and Ally troop movements and strategy and so on have me kind of champing at the bit for something with a little more "high level" view of the military campaign.

RTS? Sure. Turn-based? Sure. I'm down with that. Some wacky hybrid I've never heard of before? I'm done with that.

C) I guess that's it. CIV 5 kind of scratched the itch a little, but it seems so dumbed down that it gets kind of boring after awhile, and also is not specifically a WW2 game at all.

So, I'm taking any and all comers for WW2 PC games of all shapes and sizes that might scratch the same itch as I get when reading through this book about the various military machinations of the world powers on the board at that time - from grunt in the trenches all the way out to the "big picture"...

Help me out!
posted by kbanas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Unity of Command is a deceptively easy to get into operational-level turn-based wargame. Takes about 10 minutes to figure out the basics, then it starts punching you in the mouth because it hates you. The scenarios are really good, the campaign is great but incredibly tough (but it's fair, mostly). The wargame nerds I know love it, but it's pretty easy to get into.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:55 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Company of Heroes is a pretty low-level RTS you might enjoy.
posted by selfnoise at 8:58 AM on June 25, 2012


Hearts of Iron III is very well-regarded among the more "serious" wargamers I know. I love it as well, but it's not for the feint-of-heart.

What's great:
- The scope. It covers the entire span of WWII, including the decade of pre-war buildup, if you want. You can play as (literally) any nation on the map at the time.
- It's a wargame, but you must also manage the diplomacy/production aspects as well. There's a bit of a tech tree. Think Civ, but more military.
- The historical accuracy is amazing. You can learn a lot from just playing the game.
- It's available cheap these days.

What's not so great:
- It's at the tail end of your "older" game spectrum, and graphics aren't its selling point.
- It's not always intuitive, and the tutorials are a must. The game is COMPLICATED.
- The game is long. Longer than Civ long.
- It's an RTS, which may be confusing at first. But you can pause any time.
posted by mkultra at 9:00 AM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seconding the Company of Heroes games.
posted by Oktober at 9:33 AM on June 25, 2012


I found Company of Heroes great, but Men of War was even better.
posted by mac-way at 9:50 AM on June 25, 2012


Silent Storm (gamespot) (ign) is a classic.

Definitely dated, but the gameplay is great. Ah, apparently there's a Win7 x64 >4GB RAM fix.
posted by porpoise at 10:12 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fourthing or whatever company of heroes. When I bought it, it cost ~2$ on steam
posted by MangyCarface at 11:07 AM on June 25, 2012


2 years ago, Ubisoft kicked out, with too little fanfare, I think, a real-time strategy game called R.U.S.E. Set in WWII, it's your basic RTS game with a twist: you can use different techniques to fool your enemy-- techniques like camouflage, radio silence, and decryption, which allow you to reveal your enemy, hide your units, or create false decoy units from the enemy's perspective.


It's made by Eugan Software, a French studio that made this year's "Wargame: European Escalation," which sounds good as well, though it's set later in the 20th century.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:28 AM on June 25, 2012


2 years ago, Ubisoft kicked out, with too little fanfare, I think, a real-time strategy game called R.U.S.E. Set in WWII, it's your basic RTS game with a twist: you can use different techniques to fool your enemy-- techniques like camouflage, radio silence, and decryption, which allow you to reveal your enemy, hide your units, or create false decoy units from the enemy's perspective.

I remember this game! I remember talk at the time about the new techniques you could use to deceive your enemy and stuff. I looked into it a little at the time but quickly got distracted by flashing lights or something. That's for bringing it up. I will check it out.

I've also taken a look at Company of Heroes and Men of War. I was looking through my giant binder of DVDs and it looks like I actually picked up a physical copy of CoH at some point in the distant past but I have no recollection of ever actually playing it, so that's cool. CoH and MoW seem very similar - is that the case?

Unity of Command and HoI3 also seem very interesting.

Great answers so far! Thanks!
posted by kbanas at 11:48 AM on June 25, 2012


CoH and MoW seem very similar - is that the case?
CoH is more action-oriented with standard RTS conventions like "always be spending all your income" sorts of mechanics. MoW is a more brutally difficult game.

Wargame: European Escalation, which Sunburnt mentioned, has gotten very good reviews.

Not sure in what way Civ5 is "dumbed down"? You don't have to like it, of course, but that's just not a very accurate criticism of the game in my eyes.
posted by kavasa at 12:44 PM on June 25, 2012


Seconding Heart of Iron III. It's really long and super ambitious, but you won't find a deeper WWII game. Also, Paradox continues to support it with patches and expansions. I'd wait and see if it's on sale at Steam this summer, though.
posted by Fister Roboto at 12:56 PM on June 25, 2012



Not sure in what way Civ5 is "dumbed down"? You don't have to like it, of course, but that's just not a very accurate criticism of the game in my eyes.


Hrm. I don't profess to be an expert on all things Civilization, but that was my take - you know, it's like, "If you like WAR, press the red things. If you like MONEY, press the purple things." It seemed like you could, for all intents and purposes, just kind of play color matching or whatever and not even need to read about the various technologies and so on and so forth.

But then again, like I say, I don't play a lot of Civ - I guess I was just kind of absorbing the community sentiment. Like, if you Google, "Civ 5 dumbed down" you will certainly be presented with enough hits to suggest that there are a not insignificant group of people who feel this way.

Maybe I'm all wet. Anyway, this is really neither here nor there.
posted by kbanas at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2012


This video really goes a long way toward selling European Escalation.
posted by kbanas at 1:02 PM on June 25, 2012


kbanas: "Hrm. I don't profess to be an expert on all things Civilization, but that was my take - you know, it's like, "If you like WAR, press the red things. If you like MONEY, press the purple things." It seemed like you could, for all intents and purposes, just kind of play color matching or whatever and not even need to read about the various technologies and so on and so forth."

What level are you playing on? I've had more than one conversation along these lines where I discovered that the person saying it was playing on Chieftain. The recently-released Gods & Kings expansion makes combat significantly harder as well.
posted by mkultra at 1:40 PM on June 25, 2012


It's not particularly new, but still looks great (imo). Look up Commandos 3. It's sneaky-action sort of stuff where you have to really think about what to do next. All three are great and as far as I remember, all in WWII. All can be found on Good Old Games.
posted by daysocks at 5:31 PM on June 25, 2012


Sins of a Solar Empire is stupidly good, just came out with an expansion that's supposed to be even stupider-good (I haven't tried it yet), is all kinds of 3D chess-type movement and strategery, and is amazingly beautiful - both just the graphics, but also watching two (or more!) opposing fleets slowly crash into each other and try and smash everything to bits. It's an RTS, but it's not twitchy, so the pace feels more like a turn-based game. If you're not stuck on wanting a WWII game, I think you'd really enjoy it.
posted by Evilspork at 8:21 PM on June 25, 2012


You've probably already seen this, but Wikipedia has a list of World War II video games. I can't offer any personal suggestions because I don't really play war games, but I've heard that Company of Heroes scratches an itch for people interested in battles based on real historical situations.
posted by xyzzy at 9:10 PM on June 25, 2012


CoH and MoW are both good games but drastically different. CoH is more arcade like, closer to a traditional RTS. MoW is a micromanagement kind of game, a real time tactical game. MoW can be unforgiving and time consuming but rewarding. It's much easier to jump in and start playing CoH.

Note that there will most likely be a Steam Summer Sale starting Thursday (assuming it follows the trend from the last two years). That means you'll probably see 50-75% off the CoH series, the MoW series, and the HoI series (among many, many other games of course). The sale lasts for 11 days and different things go on sale each day. If you see something on sale that day, buy it. If you have not seen something on sale, wait until the last day before buying so that you know either 1) you bought it on sale or 2) it never went on sale.

If you want to get CoH, get the whole series (incl. expansions), especially if it's cheap. They both add single player campaigns and some multiplayer options.

If you want to get MoW, get regular MoW. Get MoW: Assault Squad if you want to play multiplayer. Get MoW: Red Tide if you want more single player campaigns. Skip the rest.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 9:57 PM on June 25, 2012


Hearts of Iron III is technically real-time, as noted above, but it's not really in the RTS genre -- it's really a grand strategy game that happens to have a tremendous number of very short turns (each turn being one hour in one day, iirc) which it runs through automatically unless paused -- and you pause the game constantly. There's no "end turn" button, but there's the same compulsion to go for just one more day/week/month/etc.

There's a new expansion in the works for later this year or early next, and I'd expect the base game to go on sale in anticipation of that in the next few months; don't buy it full price if you can wait.

This probably falls outside the "recent games window," but its predecessor, Hearts of Iron II, is also a great game, if far more deterministic in its portrayal of history. You might consider Arsenal of Democracy, which is a mod-become-retail standalone expansion of it, released in 2010, which updates the graphics and UI, fixes a number of bugs, and expands the strategic framework of the game.
posted by cjelli at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2012


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