226: A View From the Trenches

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A View From the Trenches

Most strategy games take a somewhat streamlined approach to warmongering. But one game has built its reputation on portraying combat in almost microscopic detail: Best Way's Men of War. Jim Rossignol sings the praises of this little-known Ukrainian RTS.

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I saw Men of War as I was reading about upcoming WWII strategy games one day. It's always interested me (although I doubt my computer can give it the level of attention it deserves). My favorite WWII games have always been the Close Combat series, specifically because of the way they model strategy w/o requiring production or resource management. Some of my favorite parts have been when my squad of assault troopers gets hit by an airstrike and I write them off as dead, except, what's this? Pvt. Gale was just unconscious, and he grabs the LMG and fights off two squads of attackers by himself, using the ammo from his fallen comrades, and takes the victory point. Or a lone light AT gun manages to outduel three panzers.

Ever since the 90s, I've been searching for a game that takes the Close Combat concept and expands upon it, or updates it and I think Men of War might have managed to do that.

This sounds like a pretty interesting game. I'll be sure to check it out.

I'm surely getting this game to check it out, it can't be that expensive ;)

The post soviet world = most innovative game designers in the world.

That game sounds amazing.

stonethered:
That game sounds amazing.

Yeah, man, leave it to writers for The Escapist to make you want to play something.

I love this game, I bought it after hearing about it and playing Soldiers: Heros of WW2.

The Editor has kept my attention for a VERY long time.

tendo82:
The post soviet world = most innovative game designers in the world.

I wouldn't say that Stalin vs Martians was THAT innovative ;) but it's a shame great ideas for videogames in the eastern parts of the world so often lack polish when it's about to bring the idea to life.

I'll check out Men of War anyway. So many games, so few time.

I want this game from reading this article.

EDIT: and it makes me want to find a way to watch the russian game scene.

"They gunned him down. I sat up out of my chair screaming: "He's a tiny frickin' hero!""

Bravo.

I was just idly mentioning on one of the other articles that C&C and it's ilk are too fond of giving you the ability to sweep to victory. This occurs because you are never defeated, you just reload. Men of War seems like the sort of ingenious strategy game which shines a ray of hope into my cynical heart. That such craft can still be found in the most unlikely of places, is fantastic and I shall reward that by purchasing the game.

Really great article, while it has a community of dedicated fans (that's steadily growing) the 'of War' series has been sorely overlooked by many ever since Soldiers: Heroes of WWII was released with probably a lot less publicity than it deserved. It's hardly the easiest or most mainstream WWII RTS out there, but I'm sure there's many people who'd enjoy these games a lot but simply have never heard of them. Certainly for me it blows Company of Heroes clean out of the water.

Speaking of water, I've been playing nothing but Men of War: Red Tide the past few days:

image

http://www.amazon.com/Men-War-Pc/dp/B001QZGVEC

Amazon.com is selling a couple for under $10. I'm going to grab one now even though my current computer can't play it, because it's so damn cheap at the moment.

tendo82:
The post soviet world = most innovative game designers in the world.

Tetris was made in the 80s...

Sounds like a cool game. Huzzah for Ukraine video game designers!

Men of War is really a blast to play in LAN mode with friends, the previous one Faces of War is good to.

Yes, Men of War was an unmistakenably raw diamond from Eastern Europe. I thouroughly enjoyed playing it.

Jim Rossignol:
In its own small way, Men of War is a testament to unsung acts of heroism. The very idea of the unremembered soldier is, somehow, remembered here - in an obscure Russian videogame, of all things. I salute it.

Well,duh. What the Eastern front is remembered in Russia for is precisely desperate heroism of most soldiers. It's what driven Nazis from the USSR and back to Berlin.

This reminds me of Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor. It was a MMORTS/MMOFPS where you controlled just one unit.

this sounds very interesting and something new from what I have played so I will be sure to check it out

Capitalist Hero-Unit Dogs!

Seriously though... where do I get it?

Okay... downloading demo.

okay, you sold me, as soon as I get my new graphics card I will get this game, it is online though, right?

I cant imagine having a sniper and picking off units as they are produced in the enemies stronghold.

Normally I would laugh at the graphics, but for a RTS they look pretty good, then add in the fact you can switch to a single soldier and I can see how you would want to keep the polygon ratio low.

Damn, I've been looking for a game like this since I was a wee lad. Can't wait to try it after bugs have been ironed out (I assume there are some). Wonder if there'll be vehicular stuff...

Spucktier:

tendo82:
The post soviet world = most innovative game designers in the world.

I wouldn't say that Stalin vs Martians was THAT innovative ;) but it's a shame great ideas for videogames in the eastern parts of the world so often lack polish when it's about to bring the idea to life.

I'll check out Men of War anyway. So many games, so few time.

Polish games obviously don't lack polish, or Polish.

Hehe. I say Witcher and Painkiller (or Gears of War PC port) were polished nicely.

Abedeus:

Spucktier:

tendo82:
The post soviet world = most innovative game designers in the world.

I wouldn't say that Stalin vs Martians was THAT innovative ;) but it's a shame great ideas for videogames in the eastern parts of the world so often lack polish when it's about to bring the idea to life.

I'll check out Men of War anyway. So many games, so few time.

Polish games obviously don't lack polish, or Polish.

Damn, ninja'd :P

I didn't really devote much attention to checking out Men of War when it came out on Steam, putting it away as "just another WWII RTS" like pretty much everybody else. But after reading this, I'm probably going to buy it. When I can afford it that is.

Leave it to the Russians to make something innovative. Gotta love em for it.

Sounds good, I'm buying it... now!!! So sick of Company of Heroes and the whole community surrounding it, the anal little pricks, memorising every map-hack and dirty little trick to win, whilst at the same time undermining the spirit of the game itself.

And the relic downloader... oh god, it used to be that bit torrenting was supposed to be highly dubious, even illegal (according to some brain-dead politicians). Now, it's frickin FORCED to start up when the game opens, to download the latest patches. Hate the fact you MUST sign in online in order to play, or else put the disk in.

Sorry for the rant. I do love the look of Men of War. I'll never overlook an under-publicised game again!

Years ago I thought, wouldnt it be cool if there was an RTS where you could control units as if it was an FPS/3rdPS and now my dreams have come true, thanks once again to eastern europe.

What's an "Obcure Russian RTS"?

Oh man, that's another, what, fifty or less going up so I can play this amazing game...

Spring RTS allows you to take control of individual units, FYI. A wonderful game, IMO. Free, too.

That is what i have been waiting for in RTS games. It might be worth checking out, but it looks very blurry and it might be hard to see stuff.
I would love it if one guy would control the whole army and stuff, like real RTS game, but other players could jump in some random soldiers and run where other soldiers are running. It would be like a regular RTS, but any random soldier could be controlled by a player. NPC's would walk blindly where they are ordered to go, but players would see the orders, but could go where ever they want, go stealthy, blow up something, set mines and stuff.

Well, apparently when you click to comment on the summary news post about the Feature article, you get linked back into the comments section for the actual article nowadays, which is a nice victory for the "Why does a magazine even need feature-length articles?" crowd, but I'll comment towards Greg Tito's summary anyway:

Greg Tito:
"Obscure Russian RTS Focuses on the Grunt"

That's your headline? Really? Except, you didn't even really say "Obscure" you said "Obcure" (which isn't a word). But, assuming you meant "obscure," why not change that title to read "Non-notable Game Does Something Innovative" or "Game You've Never Heard of, by Foreign Company You've Never Heard of, Does Something You Don't See Every Day" or something like that? Because you're really doing a disservice to this article with that headline. "Little-Known" is a lot better, because there's a subtle implication that it might deserve to be well-known. But "obscure" carries a loaded negative connotation. When something's "obscure" it's poorly known because it has relevance to a small number of people, and is largely inaccessible to the general populace. Men of War isn't that. It's on freaking Steam. It's about as accessible to the gamer as you can get. And it's not even like that's a main facet of this article. That's the introduction. The article is about how a lack of plot in WWII games creates a better impact on the gamer, who is allowed to create their own stories without a plot.

Secondly, and this is just simple know-how, so the next headline you write doesn't make you sound like a buffoon: Ukrainian is not synonymous with Russian. Jim Rossignol went to a games convention in Moscow that drew regional developers, in the region that used to be part of the Soviet Union, but Best Way isn't Russian. I know it seems pretty nitpicky (after all, you only call them Russian, what? three times in ~300 words?) but it's facts like this, plus the whole fact that your headline is misleading (if not straight-out denigrating) that make me wonder if there's even an editorial staff at the Escapist for the day-to-day written content, or if it's just articles?

Here's a few headlines I thought of that would do this article a better job:

"Powerful War Stories in Games Without a Plot" (I think that sums up the gist of the article a lot better than yours)
"Ukrainian RTS Puts War First, Story Second for Better Experience" (That is sorta like yours, only less wrong)

Sorry to be an ass about this. I just really liked this article, because it honestly spoke to me, and then your summary sold it extremely short.

Men of War is Obscure? I never thought living next to Russia would have it's benefits. Men of War isn't obscure here, nothing 1C publishes is obscure, we have another term for it: "pure awesome"

n00bie51:

stonethered:
That game sounds amazing.

Yeah, man, leave it to writers for The Escapist to make you want to play something.

Unsuccessful troll etc.

Anyway, the game does sound awesome, too bad I'm not really into RTS that much.

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