Top-Down Troopers: Close Combat – Gateway To Caen

By Adam Smith on June 9th, 2014 at 9:06 am.

I’m expecting to be crushed beneath an avalanche of trailers at any moment as the E3 machine grumbles into action. There will be spectacle, there will be slaughter, there will be Molyneux Santa Claus. There is a trailer in this post but it has very little in common with the noise of E3, being the last of the veteran Close Combat series to utilise the ageing engine that has driven the tactical games for many years now. Gateway To Caen is out now and watching the video plucks at my nostalgia nerves as if they were a cherub’s harp.

Gateway to Caen focuses on the largest, concentrated British offensive since the Normandy landings in an attempt to penetrate the German lines west of Caen and cross the Odon River to get the stalled advance moving again.

All well and good, but what are the numbers?

Thirty new battlefield maps accurately reflect the Odon Valley west of Caen, France.
65 vehicles, 36 infantry units, 77 weapons.
New vehicles and guns including Churchill, Cromwell, M-10 Achilles, and Firefly tanks; 17-pdr AT guns, Loyd Carriers, and more.
Improved graphics and effects and new soldier voices.
Revised terrain files that represent the specific conditions of the Odon battlefield: tall cornfields and hindered, muddy movement during rainy weather.
New features including Rolling barrages and dug-in/camouflaged tanks and anti-tank guns.
Historic regimental names and battalion organization.
Mount troops or guns on vehicles.
Integrated multi-player lobby and match-making forums.
Enhanced Scenario Editor – Create your own “what if” Scenarios.

Well, some of those features include numbers. The next Close Combat game, The Bloody Fist, will be in 3d. First-person shooter? Nah. It’s still top-down, and The Flare Path has already investigated.

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22 Comments »

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    I’m really looking forward to Bloody Fist.

    Is anyone playing Gateway to Caen? It’s quite expensive for what it is (IMHO). Is it worth getting?

    • Alfy says:

      Nope, it’s not worth it. There is plenty of WWII tactical/squad level wargames out there, so unless you have them all and are desperate for a new game, there is really no need to pay that kind of price for a game that looks like, and was in great parts made in, the 90′s. Next iteration will be worth looking in, though, but I really hope the improvements will go beyond switching to 3D (AI and armored damage being the worst offenders at the moment, IMHO).

      • -Spooky- says:

        Gameplay over VFX *nuff said*

        • hunsnotdead says:

          So better AI, and reworked damage modelling are DirectX 11.1 features now?

          How are things at Fort Niche btw?

        • Lusketrollet says:

          Gameplay over VFX *nuff said*

          Not in the real world.

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          phuzz says:

          Can I have both?
          Also worth noting that “good graphics” doesn’t automatically mean fully 3d with shading and god rays and pixels etc. For example, some games would be improved with just a bit of polish on the interface to make using it a bit easier. Graphics can directly affect gameplay.

    • Aardvark_Man says:

      That’s been my issue with all the Close Combat games since Matrix Games took over.
      I haven’t seen anything new since CC3, or maybe the Normandy one, but they’re still charging for them as though they’re brand new games, even the re-releases.

      Hopefully I’ll see something in the next one to change my mind, but I think I’ll let this one go past me.

      • battles_atlas says:

        I kicked off an argument on the Matrix forums when I asked why they were charging AAA prices for games that if they were in any other genre would be £10-15 on Steam. They argued its because they’re niche games they have to ask such high prices. But to me their pricing model makes them niche. At least they’re on Steam now, and not just hidden away on Matrix’s own website.

        The only reason for a game as accessible as Close Combat to be niche is they’re asking £22 for an expansion pack of a 20 year old game. I loved the CC series in the 90s, and if the next one in the new engine has gameplay improvements to go with the graphics then I’d happily pay £20. This though should be £5, assuming it should exist at all.

        • Stargazer86 says:

          Yeah. There’s no way on Earth that I’m paying $50 for a 15 year old game, polished up or not. Heck, GoG makes a perfectly viable business model out of repackaging and selling older games, and they price stuff from $5-10 dollars which is far more reasonable. $10 for a DRM free game that’s been reworked to run on modern machines? Sure! $50? Hahahano.

          • TaylanK says:

            OK, allow me to point out that GoG is in the business of selling a lot of games, whereas Matrix are selling a handful by comparison. GoG benefits from the long tail business model just like Amazon does, where many many niche products selling a few here and there add up to a lot of money for them. Matrix do not have the same benefit.

            I’m sure they want their games selling like hot cakes and are not pricing them this high just to keep them off our filthy hands. If this is the price point at which they can turn a profit and continue making the game, I’ll respect that, even if I can’t afford them myself.

        • Honsou says:

          The Matrix forum fanboys are a very odd bunch. I made a similar thread once about Distant Worlds, and was heavily reprimanded.

          I bet a small % of them are deeply unhappy that their games are now on steam.

          • SillyWizard says:

            I have to assume that people willing to pay these prices for these games are all sexegenarian+ grognards who are likely unaware of anything as recent as Steam.

    • P.Funk says:

      If it is literally the same interface as CC5 then I wouldn’t pay that much for it.

      #1 the interface and the game client itself is so old that its not even charming. Its not good old.

      #2 The mod community for CC5 already filled the niche of this game with the Gold Juno Sword pack. It has maps every bit as good as this, with probably at least as much variety of units. All free.

      This is one of those things where they basically repackage the same game over and over with some new maps and units but the exact same gameplay for the dedicated fans who apparently aren’t interested in anything new since 1999.

      Not impressed. Why not play CC5?

  2. GernauMorat says:

    I thought panzers in the fog was supposed to be the last one in the old engine?

  3. TT says:

    It looks like the same old CC (+ better looking explosions). Its a shame they couldn´t/ wont push the series beyond CC5. The change to 3D (on the next one) is meaningless if they stick to re-making the old game.

  4. Mr.Bats says:

    That’s exactly the same music Wargame (ALB?) had

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    Cinek says:

    Someone should implemented higher zoom-out option to this game. It looks like even the developers themselves are struggling.

  6. Blacksun says:

    Although I used to love the CC series, i’m kinda dissapointed they didn’t innovate on the game, it looks exactly the same.

    I wish they made a mix of CloseCombat and the destructable mechanics of Men of War. Now that would be an awesome wargame.

  7. Napoleon15 says:

    You could maybe just about make the case that £30 is reasonable if the customer didn’t own any other Close Combat game, but otherwise, it’s pretty much an expansion pack at a AAA price. Their business model is quite unfortunate for the wargame genre as a whole. No demos, draconian prices, sometimes poor support for their premium priced products, etc.

  8. mouton says:

    Congratulations Matrix/Slitherine, thanks to your “nevah on Steam” approach, I didn’t even know there were CC games after CC5. Hope it works good for you, financially.