History Legends of War is a turn-based strategy game based around the real events of World War II. Developed by Enigma, published by Slitherine and distributed in the UK by PQube the game is available on PS3, PS Vita, PC and Xbox 360 (version tested).
You play as General George Patton in command of the US Third Army as he fights from the beaches of Normandy across Europe to Berlin. The lengthy single player campaign takes the player through 21 missions which are split across four Operations.
The first mission eases you into the game by acting as a simple tutorial. This lets you get to grips with the controls and learn the basics of commanding your units. The action is viewed from above and the camera controls allow you to zoom in and out, rotate and pan around the mission area. Strategy games usually work well on PC but are well known to be clumsy on console. However the developers here have managed to come up with a simple system that is intuitive and easy to learn.
To cater for a wide variety of players the missions allow you to choose from five difficulty levels. Missions are varied to keep things interesting and contain a mix of objectives such as attack, defence, escort, sabotage, infiltration and reconnaissance. Most types simply put your forces up against the enemy in skirmish type situations. Infiltration missions are the most interesting where you take a couple of infantry units on a stealth mission. During these missions you must sneak around, stay hidden and be careful not to raise the alarm.
Before missions you get a quick briefing and can then recruit units to tackle the mission. You begin the game with just soldiers to recruit but as you progress you can unlock a whole variety of different units. These include snipers, paratroopers, commandos, medics, engineers and rangers. In addition to infantry you also gain access to a wide variety of tanks, artillery guns and aircraft. The missions are turn-based so you move all your units and issue combat orders. Once you’re done the enemy take their turn and then the process starts again.
If a unit survives a mission they will earn experience and better stats. Units that you manage to keep alive for longer become almost like heroes and you’ll become strangely attached to them. Patton also comes with his own evolution and he is rewarded based on your mission performance with Prestige Points. The points can be spent on units or on Patton’s characteristics which directly affect your units. There are six areas to improve for Patton including characteristics that boost damage, hit points, ammo counts and rewards.
In addition to the single player campaign the game features a hot-seat multiplayer system. Here two players on the same console can take turns. One player takes control of the American force while the other plays the German side. It’s a nice feature but a shame that there isn’t online play.
Graphically the game feels a bit old and there is nothing here that is going to blow you away. The presentation could have also done with a little more work. There’s some nice music but at times it seems a bit out of place. The biggest issue we had with the sound was the voice acting which is mostly poor. Your troops also have a couple of phrases which they constantly shout out which can become annoying.
We weren’t expecting a great deal from History Legends of War but are happy to say we’ve been pleasantly surprised. The game is aimed more at casual gamers and players who have an interest in the war. If you’re looking to get into the genre it’s a gentle introduction but hardened strategy gamers will find it all a bit too simplistic.