Wot I Think – Men Of War: Assault Squad

A little bit of a world exclusive, this one. We were lucky enough to be the first publication to get our hands on the complete build of Men Of War: Assault Squad, and I’ve been reviewing the hell out of it. I’ve already been spending a lot of time on the beta, but now we’ve been able to look at the full thing. And it’s kind of awesome. Up front I want to say one thing: people who were worried about the skirmish and multi-player focus detracting from the single-player challenge have nothing to fret about. The fifteen skirmish maps are all excellent, and are close to constituting a new campaign in their own right. But there are some caveats to that, obviously. Here’s Wot I Think.

The original Men Of War, I should probably admit, is the real-time strategy that interests me most of all. I have spent more happy hours with it than any other. Assault Squad does not deviate far from the template of its origin, and for that I am thankful. That original template is one of pure tactics, high fiddliness, and extreme precision. Men Of War is, in many ways, a technical marvel. Dozens of units, destructible scenery, intricate physics modelling. It’s quite the thing. And so is the challenge that faces you. You responsibility is not for resource collection or base building, but simply for the men on the field. And while these tiny heroes will shoot and take cover and dive away from grenades (sometimes) they do require meticulous management. Their positioning, their retreats and often, even, their specific ammo and targeting, must be managed by you. In a battle with hundreds of units, this can become breathtakingly tricky.

It’s precisely this depth that makes the game so rewarding, too, of course. Playing Assault Squad has led – via the complexity of managing our little men – to some of the most inventive and heroic game events I have ever seen. Using a stolen pak gun to hold off an enemy advance while soldiers patched up a series of fallen tanks was just one in a million little victories, while instructing a soldier to throw a Molotov cocktail (looted from the inventories of the dead) only to have it smashed on broken scenery and set him on fire, one of a million tiny disasters. Men Of War is so rich as an experience because the details are so many, and so diverse. Yes, the default comment made in reference to the game’s eccentricities of design is that hats can be shot off the heads of all the characters (why aren’t they wearing them with chin straps!) but the truth is that the hats thing is simply a measure of all the other details in there, from being able to enter any building, to looting every fallen soldier on the field.

Many of you will not have played Men Of War, fearing this talk of micro-management, difficulty, and fiddliness, and that is a tragedy, because it will – for some of you – be precisely the game you are looking for.

Men Of War: Assault Squad is, I think, an interesting concept for a quasi-sequel. Rather than producing another scenario – as 1c are doing with Men Of War: Vietnam – or producing another campaign for the original game – as they did with Red Tide – Assault Squad is a take on another significant aspect of the game. That’s the multiplayer. Assault Squad is the series’ strongest online offering, with a fresh batch of multi-player options across thirty-seven maps and three game modes. THIRTY SEVEN MAPS. Yes. These range from 1v1 scenarios to a grand 8v8 giganto-map that will trouble even the sturdiest of gaming machines. These maps are sometimes little more than elegant, misty fields, but they’re also often inventive, with detailed towns and sprawling bases. You can even mess about with them yourself, thanks to the game shipping with an editor. Making your own maps is remarkably easy.

The three multiplayer modes each rely on the game’s points-cost model, in which you call up new units from a menu, and they roll onto the field from your starting position. You can also set things up at the start, depending on the game mode (they work in slightly different ways.) The Combat mode simply pours armies onto the battlefield for you to duke it out. Assault Zones puts a series of capture points across the map which you have to control and hold in classic “conquest” style (think Battlefield’s conquest mode), while Frontlines has its own map and a time limit: it’s about one side attacking relentlessly and the other trying to hold them back. This is probably the most entertaining of the multiplayer modes, although Assault Zones got some time from me, too.

Most of my time in multi-player has come, of course, from the extensive and length beta which has been run for the game. As a result many of the games I lost, and lost badly. There are some spectacularly talented Men of War players out there, and their ability to destroy me – and I am no slouch in the hotseat of this particular strategy conundrum – was galling. This will be, I am certain, one of those tough multiplayer communities that will be both rewarding and brutally challenging to be a part of. Off-putting for some, I know. But that is not where Assault Squad ends. No, because the pure multiplayer is the less interesting of the two halves of this game.

The other half, the one I have been playing with RPS Hero Squad Lieutenant Dartt and Side-Sergeant Contributor Person Sponge, is co-op skirmish versus AI. This can be played single-player, of course, but there’s an option for 2-4 people to play co-op, and that is an option you MUST TAKE.

Each skirmish map is huge and, depending on the difficulty you play on, can take 90-minutes or more to get through. I’ve spent several hours on the toughest ones. The maps are all divided into rough sections, each one containing a number of capture points, each of which can be captured and lost as the game progress. Ideally, once certain points have been captured, you will hold them, because their being captured unlocks new reinforcement options. And of course the reinforcements from the other side are matched: you will need the new tanks or mobile guns to take on what’s coming from the AI’s end of the map. In the game that I played last night with Dartt, it took us an hour to be defeated by the AI on the Arnhem map. Let me tell you a bit about that.

The map for Arnhem, which sees the British attacking and entrenched German position, has a series of open fields and a road leading up to a bridge over a river. The early part of the map saw us attacking light defences with mortars and rifle infantry, and we made swift progress. The river, however, was only about half way into the map, and we would never quite manage to hold the other side. It’s a big river, by Assault Squad standards, but it can be forded in the right hand side of the map. Having fought our way across the the fields over a period of half an hour, and battled our way through a farm and up to a riverside cafe, we began to stall at this goliath feature.

This happens a bit on the skirmish maps: you capture up to a certain line of points on the map, but the opposing force is coming in hard, meaning you have to try to entrench before pushing on. The danger is that your losses will be too great from the assault, and the counter-attack might knock you out. This didn’t seem to be a problem for us, as we’d managed to get a couple of pak guns and a couple of tanks within range of the bridge, basically sewing up the best way in. We thought we were sounded entrenched. We were wrong.

Neither of us had really bothered to pin down the right side of the field. We hadn’t set up voice comms, we were being a bit lazy about communicating. Even on normal difficulty the AI would take dramatic advantage of our lapse in tactics. Dartt’s assault on the capture point failed, and the soldiers who had been holding down any attacks on our right flank died in that action. There was little to stop the enemies advancing. Having been competently managing the constantly spill of crises up to this point, I assumed we might be okay. But then I panned across the map and saw the true situation. And our lack of reinforcements. I tried desperately to redeploy some weapons from our hold on the bridge, but it wasn’t enough. The river-crossing heavy tank destroyers began to make short work of us, backed up as they were by infantry. Facing us head-on, their armour was too heavy for the AT-rifle soldiers to do much about. Capture points began to fall, infantry got flanked and peppered. It was over.

All of which led to a bit of deja vu. I realised that the last time I played a game that I then enthused about on RPS, it was when we lost on one of the Russian maps during the beta. This is a game where even the losing fills me with glee, because the busy chaos of the battles is so engaging, and so fulfilling. It’s a big, dramatic, ramshackle catastrophe of a battle, every time, and Assault Squad has fifteen of these grand scenario skirmishes for me to get stuck into, for whenever I want to feel like that. Of course this also means that the game loses the rather small scale sneaking and covert-attack sort of maps that appeared in the straight-up campaigns. It also skips the nuances that some of the scripting can provide. While the skirmishes do provide moments of drama, such as the unlocking of super-weapons and special powers (conscription for the Russians, for example, floods the battlefield with poor-quality infantry), there isn’t anything like the drama of Men Of War’s trainyard defence, or convoy attack, or the defence of a hill from a German counter-offensive.

There a dozens more details I could talk about in this review, but I’ve got end it somewhere.

So let’s end it like this: what Assault Squad does do is transform and reinvigorate Men Of War as a multi-player game, as well as set itself in stone as one of the greatest and grandest co-op games available. It’s precisely this kind of overwrought game that only the PC can do, and I feel thrilled and delighted that it exists. You should too.

This is one of those games that I have to insist you try. Really, Try it. There’s a demo here. Now just imagine how good that would be with two chums.

[Random note about images: It pains me to admit that I can’t screengrab from the review build of the game. Nothing works. I don’t know why, but it has meant I’ve cobbled together images from elsewhere. Not ideal, but there it is.]


  1. Novotny says:

    Whee! Can’t wait to play this.

  2. DarkFenix says:

    I may have to pick this up, I enjoyed the first game enormously and the beta was pretty good fun too.

    One question: The coop skirmish in beta was a bit unpolished, with crazy things like random reinforcement ownership. Has all this kind of thing been cleaned up?

    Oh and is the voice acting of the same ‘quality’ as the first game? If so, this game will be comedy gold.

    • cluddles says:

      “Guys, this is bad.”

    • SAeN says:

      In the most recent beta it would seem they did a competent job of the voice acting, which only saddens me.

    • Wilson says:

      @DarkFenix – I think I read on their forums that the random reinforcements is intentional. Since all players share money, it gives them to whoever has least units (or maybe randomly) to stop one player hogging all the resources. It would be nice to be able to turn that off if you’re playing with friends.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Reinforcements aren’t random, they simply go to the player (numerically) the least units. And you can use the tab on the top right to swap them out to other players.

  3. westyfield says:

    Downloading the demo now. Is there a tutorial anywhere in Men of War, Red Tide or Assault Squad? I tried MoW’s demo when it came out and was horribly slaughtered because I didn’t know what I was doing.

    • Dood says:

      The first mission in Men of War is kind of tutorial-ish. But I think the best way to get into the game is to find someone who knows a bit about it and play some coop with them on voicecomm. All the little tricks and commands aren’t really that well explained in the tutorial.

    • bilharzia says:

      TychoCelchuuu’s videos are the closest I’ve seen on how to play:
      link to youtube.com
      The only caveat being listening to his commentary might be more entertaining than some multiplayer matches I have played.

    • The Innocent says:

      As people have said, it’s best to find an experienced co-op partner and sort of apprentice into it. I’ve played vanilla MoW a TON, and I’ve partnered with quite a few people, including RPSers, and it isn’t so hard to get into once there’s that safety net that allows you to muck around without the pressures of victory bearing down on you.

      If you want, I’d be happy to play co-op with you sometime.

  4. AwesomeDino says:

    I swear, if I don’t get this game soon I’m going to smack Quintin in the face.

  5. tigershuffle says:

    multiplayer hat collecting…….Awesome

    any pricing (pre order deals on Steam etc) ?

    • Lagavulin says:

      Price is 29€99 on steam, but you have a nice offer here :

      link to getgamesgo.com
      + promo code : 50squad
      = 14€99

      best deal i found.

    • bilharzia says:

      o_0 thanks Lagavulin.

    • Lagavulin says:

      what i didn’t say is :
      yesterday, the price was 24.99€, but the promo code was still reducing the price by 15€.
      So i got the game at 9.99€ yesterday :)

      but 15€ is still a good deal ;)

    • Picolo says:

      Does it use Steamworks? I see the Steam version has achievements, so I’m wondering if it could be added to Steam if purchased from other site or retail.

    • Dominic White says:

      15 euros is indeed a very good deal. I jumped on it.

    • tigershuffle says:

      preordered for £12.50 ……… nice one .
      Thank you :)

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      it isn’t steamworks, thank god. so if you want achievement you’ll have to buy from steam.

  6. SanguineAngel says:

    Consider me swayed

  7. derf says:

    Men Of War sits somewhere in my top 5 games of all time.

    “It’s precisely this kind of overwrought game that only the PC can do” – Wow, spot on.

  8. Quine says:

    I look forward to watching disabled tank destroying crashing through the side of Arnhem bridge and sliding beneath the waves.

    Can you still flip sidecars way up with landmines?

  9. Grape says:

    Wait – so you play a game for one hour, and then you still lose at the end? And then you come to this website and try to make that come off as a positive thing? I’m sorry, but I can just not respect that. A game should NEVER be set up so that you can play it for a straight hour, and then STILL lose and have no option but to restart the whole fucking thing. This is unacceptable in a single-player game.

    If this had been a competitive multiplayer match, then it would have been somewhat different. But in a singleplayer/co-op type offering, then no. Just fucking no. Unless there’s an option to save, mid-game, of course. In which case, forget all I’ve said.

    Still, I really, really, really have absolutely zero understanding for this bizarre “Yay! Losing is FUN!” -attitude of yours. Unless you’re a fucking masochist.

    • xen says:

      Try it, you might like it!

      The fun from this game often comes from playing it, not winning or loosing? Also if you are playing single player you can usually save and quite easily go back and adjust tactics.

      Why not compare it to any which number of good war movies? Quite often it’s more moving seeing the units or heroes you’ve bonded with get turned into pink mist rather than faceless grunts winning CoH-style?

      I’ve had lot’s of fun narrowly being beaten at the end of an epic hour in MoW, the train yard level being one of my finest gaming moments ever. Few other games offer you the objective of loosing everything whilst not dying cheaply instead of the usual hero nonsense.

    • Lagavulin says:

      in singleplayer you have several autosaves when you succeed in capturing some of the objectives points.
      There is also the possibility to save the game at any moment.

      I’m not sure you can do this in co-op :??:

    • bilharzia says:

      Still, I really, really, really have absolutely zero understanding for this bizarre “Yay! Losing is FUN!” -attitude of yours.

      …This is a site which champions Dwarf Fortress.

    • Dominic White says:

      The thing with the Men of War series is that it doesn’t particularly matter whether you win or lose. It’s whether you were sitting in slack-jawed awe at all the procedurally generated carnage. You can have a game where you pull off a dozen masterstroke moves, but it all falls apart when a tank-shell ricochets, flies into the air and lands squarely on a vitally important squad, blowing them into meaty kibble.
      It’s not to much that losing is fun, it’s that you’re playing it because it’s fun to play, not because you’re got a burning need to prove that you’re a manlier internet man than the next guy.

      The Men of War games are about WAR. They’re not videogame abstractions – it physically models every bullet. Things can and will go wrong.

    • Chris Kramer says:

      There is autosave in singleplayer as well as a normal save option available all the time.

      The concept behind MoW and specifically MoW:AS is to provide a player fun no matter he is on the winning or losing side, which is a huge benefit for both Singleplayer and Multiplayer experience.
      An example for this sort of design is that the losing side is never going to be punished by unfair mechanics, i.e. super weapons. You can always turn around the paper, every minute in the game and if you didn’t manage to win, you at least had this adrenaline kick when trying to.

    • dartt says:

      Of course, you can set the AI to easy and walk all over them in half an hour. I personally enjoy the challenge of struggling against an opponent that is fully capable of kicking seven shades of sturmtruppen out of me.

      There are many examples of games that pit you against almost insurmountable, ever escalating or even flat out impossible odds, Dwarf Fortress, Tetris, Canabalt Robot Unicorn Attack; the joy of these games isn’t necessarily to win but to challenge yourself to reach a little further with each new attempt than you did the with the last, to have flashes of inspiration or insight that let you leap over another obstacle.

      Just because MOW has a win state, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself without reaching it.

    • The Innocent says:

      Are you serious? This is one of the best things about Men of War — that it doesn’t subscribe to the hand-holding of certain other games. The AI and its counterattacks are proficient enough to BEAT you. Isn’t that a selling point?

      It sure was for AI War, which was also an RTS in which you might lose, not only one hour, but seventeen hours in.

      What’s the point of fighting a battle you cannot lose? And is it alright to lose the battle ten minutes in as opposed to an hour in? At what point is it suddenly appropriate for the developers to say, “Okay, now we won’t have the computer try anymore.” An inevitable victory isn’t much of a thrilling victory.

    • Wilson says:

      @Grape – I personally feel like the skirmishes are closer to a competitive multiplayer match than a traditional single player thing. You’re capturing points, choosing what to buy, while the AI tries to capture their points back. It’s more dynamic than the singleplayer scenarios in the older games, and because you choose your units you can play them differently each time, it isn’t frustrating to have to do the same stuff again because the location of enemies is semi-randomized (it was in the beta German skirmish anyway).

    • TheGameSquid says:

      So 4X games like Civ or GalCiv are terrible games? I have played scenarios in those games were I ended up losing after 25 hour matches. Did I mind? No. Participating is more important than winning, etc.

      The key here of course, is that Assault Squad doesn’t use a structured campaign. As far as I understand, this is a collection of scenarios that stand completely on their own, which would mean that losing a scenario doesn’t stop you from “progressing” in the game. You just boot up another scenario and have another go.

      Trust me, I am complete shit at any strategy game (turn-based or real-time), and I LOVE Men of War. In fact, the situations where you’re struggling to survive (happens to me all the time) are the most fun, because that’s when the game is at its most intense.

      And if you’re that afraid of a game “going to waste”, don’t play it on the internet. That way, you can just save and reload as much as you want. I don’t play on playing this one all that much over the ‘net either.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      grape, just shut up and play the game. you’ll understand. just play it.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      I have yet to play the Men of War series (one of the many not-yet-installed gray lines on my Steam list), so I have no particular dog in this fight, but that criticism seems sort of ridiculous. Do you know how many board games there are that can take two to four hours to play and result in a loss? Even if you’re only concerned about single-player or co-op games, things like Arkham Horror will take you hours and (usually) end up with the forces of Cthulhu tearing all your limbs off.

    • sinister agent says:

      The very definition of a “sore loser”, there. This kind of attitude is why 80% of Monopoly games end with someone flipping the board over and stamping out like a child.

    • Frye2k11 says:

      Wow i thought i was the only guy in the world who hates a challenge. Thank god they’re adding an I WIN button next patch. For an instant CONGRATULATIONS! YOU WON! To make us feel better.

    • Cugel says:

      I would say that Men of War and StarCraft are two extremes of the RTS spectrum. If you play for all the little micro-narratives that an emergent game offer, then you’ll love Men of War. If you play competitively, with the end-state of the game the real purpose, StarCraft, with its more controlled and balanced environment, is probably more your thing.

  10. Mavvvy says:

    Your missing the phrase in “my opinion”

  11. rhizo says:

    Great games these. Although not a big fan of MP RTS I have to admit I’m seriously considering getting this. Co-op over voice sounds like the way to go. What’s the game setup like?

    • dartt says:

      It’s pretty good. The server browser is a pretty simple gamespy based affair (I think) and it generally seems to handle NAT between players quite well. There also seems to be plenty of people online whenever I go to play so I don’t imagine there would be much trouble finding games.

      You can also play over Hamachi by adding the hosts Hamachi IP address to the server list in the multiplayer options.

  12. -Spooky- says:

    The question is: What about the engine? Still the same creepy stuff (worst performance ever)?

  13. StreetCleaner says:

    Been with this since Soldiers: Heroes of World War II. Every iteration that Best Way (and DMS) put out was more and more amazing. I’m really looking forward to this.

  14. Stranglove says:

    ‘but there’s an option for 2-4 people to play co-op’

    Isn’t it 2-8 players? I’m sure that the latest beta boasted the ability to support this many player (Me and 5 other RPS readers piled into the USSR skirmish last week)

    • Chris Kramer says:

      It was announced to be 2-4, but it’s true the latest version increased the player amount to 8.

  15. prowlinger says:

    It was Rock Paper Scissors that got me into Men of War in the first place…. I have to say… Assault Squad is amazing. Yes you do lose if you plans don’t work out…. but losing is half the battle … it is about the sheer joy of the details…. Like when my private jumped on an old tractor, plowed through the fences of a local hostile and slammed right into the house, making for a quick shelter for the squad behind… sadly he was sniped getting off…. but objective achieved…

    Or another time when my AT gun fired its AP round at an oncoming Stug down the city streets… and the shell bounced off the armor and slammed into a nearby building…. knocking a sizable hole into the 2nd story…

    Granted I have only played the demo… I am buying a new computer… just so I can play this game at its full glory (and my old system just can’t keep up nowdays)…

    Also someone asked about the engine… one of the devs said yesterday… that MoW was 2.0 version… MoW:AS is 2.5 release and the next engine will be 3.0 and fully support multi processors for 64bit… right now 2.5 doesn’t but they may design 3.0 to merge over 2.5 and AS will gain that benefit… who knows?

    All I know is if you remotely like RTS games or WW2 games… you should try this demo! Yes it can be hard to learn how to repair and restock vehicles etc initially… (I am still trying to figure out how to use the dynamite and digging tools)…

    Right now there are 16 skirmish maps… but I am sure a resourceful modder will convert the MP maps over to skirmish … so that would yield 35+ new maps right the to skirmish on…

    War is Hell… and I love MoW:AS …. it is what I desired MoW to originally be… :)

  16. RoTapper says:

    A good game, but I was really hoping they would just do away with the entire inventory system. Sometimes you spend less time on deploying your forces than scrounging around the map trying to fill everyones ammo pouches.

    It certainly doesn’t add any realism, as all the ammo types are generic (thompson fits in an mp40), and your scrounger magically distributes the ammo to his squad, no matter how far away he is from them.

    Combat Mission had a nice abstract system. Your troops began the battle with a certain amount of supply and as they fought it would decrease. Once it got to a low level, they would fire less often to conserve what they had.

    • bilharzia says:

      It’s exactly that level of detail that is appealing. There’s a lot of different ammo types and explosives once you look beyond rifles and SMGs. It does add to the micro-management but it makes even a lousy infantry soldier able to knock out the most powerful tank as long as he has scrounged a stick of dynamite/molotov cocktail/explosive shell/AT mine etc. Because you have all these objects lying around there’s always the opportunity to do something crazy that can turn the tide.

  17. Andy_Panthro says:

    The train yard…

    It haunts me still.

    I think it took me around twenty attempts to finally beat that level.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      i got out on the first try through luck and the prodigious placement of 100+ mines. As the train pulled away from the station I must have had 3/5 men left alive but the burning hulks of tanks was slowing the enemy advance :)

    • Kid_A says:

      All I could think throughout that mission was “Goddamn I need a mortar battery here.” No problem dealing with the tanks, it was the couple of hundred German infantry rushing my lines that was a problem.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Mines and direct control of the AT infantry are the only way to beat it, iirc. You also need to position your mobile guns as far back as possible, with as much cover as possible.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      Controlling a tank with AP and popping in and out of cover to kill the enemy tanks is also handy too, once they’re dead switch to high explosive and start pounding the soldiers cover, in between waves mine the fuck out of the place.

      I’m Trying my hand at the first American mission and it’s flipping’ torture, finally got the truck packed up but with only a handful of men left I don’t have the firepower to get it out of the compound and to safety. Ack!!! I love it :D

  18. Jimbo says:

    I still think Soldiers: Heroes of WW2 is the place to start with this series. It’s the perfect introduction for anybody thinking this still looks too complex to jump straight into. You should absolutely play these games (Soldiers, Faces of War, Men of War) co-op though. I was annoyed by the lack of a save option in co-op initially, but trust me, the pay off in terms of tension and last-gasp-rescues etc. is totally worth it.

    I was intending to skip Assault Squad due to the lack of campaign (plus I prefer the smaller scale missions personally), but the CoH-skirmish-esque co-op does sound very interesting.

  19. Thants says:

    I really want to like Men Of War, but every time I try I just find the interface and controls so unusable that I end up quitting in frustration. And then I go back to playing Company Of Heroes.

    • Dominic White says:

      They’re reworked the interface somewhat for this one, but it’s still FAR more demanding on the player than Company of Heroes, which primarily just uses simple mouse commands and a couple of hotkeys.

      You just need to keep in mind that MoW is so detailed that you can go around looting all the enemies hats for laughs in the middle of a firefight.

  20. Emil.BB says:

    How do I play with you guys? I have played Men of War & Red Tide *alot*, but haven’t gotten around to playing Assault Squad – my friends simply don’t own PC’s powerful enough to play anything besides LoL, they make to with consoles :/

    • The Innocent says:

      You can add me on Steam if you want to play sometime. SteamID danielthurot

    • Emil.BB says:

      That’s a date! I have been waiting for this game so long. I’ll buy it when it comes out and play skirmish a little just to get the feel for the mechanisms again, then on to coop with you guys (untill I found RPS I thought I was the only one who loved (and, somes times hate) MoW.

  21. DXN says:

    Great write-up, Jim! I’m never usually one for these types of games, but this got me nosing around at it and I reckon I might spring for it.

  22. Isometric says:

    I bought it on Steam and didn’t care about the price. Steam gave me the first Men of War for free and I can’t give it away. All my friends are too scared or don’t care. This is saddening because it’s such a briliant game.

  23. Jim Rossignol says:

    Reinforcements aren’t random, they simply go to the player (numerically) the least units.

    • Artemas says:

      Their system of reinforcements going to the player with the least number of units is fucking terrible. A much better system would have each player with their own, seperate pools, and then the inclusion of a q-menu to donate or request points from the other players.

  24. Fenixp says:

    I will never, ever understand the appeal of this game. I mean, the lootable bodies, direct control and your need to be tactically superior are all things I do like, but when combined, especially with the inheritly suicidal AI this game seems to posses and my slow, stoic nature, it’s just one huge piece of horribleness. There’s this thing: I make up a good strategy that should work. Enemy gets a lucky shot and it doesn’t. I lose. I change it slightly to have a good back-up. Enemy’s in luck again and I lose in a completely different manner. And that was me, a guy who played like a bizillion of RTS games in his life and beat them without using cheats, completely failing at this one on easy. On every restart, there was just some other, completely crazy and random way I managed to screw everything up. And that was a second mission of Russian campaign. Frustrated to no end, I exited the game, just so I can get a few breaths to return to it in a few days, giving it another chance, where it managed to frustrate me in a number of new, completely unexpected ways.

    And thus, I learned 2 things: 1. Direct control is amazing, 2. I hate men of war

    • Theory says:

      You are learning an important lesson: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The battlefield in dangerous, and your best troops need to be kept out of the firing line until the right moment.

    • Fenixp says:

      Actually, this article got me to poke around the internets to find out what I was doing wrong – turns out I wasn’t doing anything wrong, really. I just got really, really, REALLY unlucky several times in a row, the kind of luck that makes you miss the enemy when he hits you from a crazy distance very precisely, or fall a random meteor directly into your living room, crushing your skull. That kind of luck. I have not tried the ‘mines!’ solution enough thou, might give it an another go. I really want to like this game, I just for the life of me can’t.

      Edit: Damn spelling

    • wengart says:

      you’re not doing the train yard the right way unless you are using an exceedingly large number of mines.

  25. Navagon says:

    This sounds pretty damned enjoyable and is reminiscent of my admittedly too brief time with Men of War so far.

    • Kerbobotat says:


      It could possibly be that you are trying strategies that work in *other* RTS’es but not for this. Consider this more of a simulator than an RTS.

      When I got red tide and got to the mission where you have one squad and have to attack the down, I kept everyone behind in the forest and sent one lone man in to take potshots under direct control, I drew the germans out into the forest and ambushed them, they kept sending men out there to deal with me but I kep moving around and laying ambushes and drawing them further and further into the forest to a point where my men could entirely surround them and devastate them because they had to nocver from any direction. Its called encirclement and I learned it from a book called “Guerilla warfare” i got as a present a few years back. :D

    • Navagon says:

      I simply just haven’t played it much yet. I actually did quite well on the missions I’ve done so far. For instance, that second mission in the original game where you’re under siege – I held my ground pretty well and wasn’t pushed back. But if the cutscene that followed was anything to go by I was supposed to have been almost completely annihilated.

      But you’re right. When you learn a game’s mechanics you learn how to exploit them to your advantage. I tend to do that even when things become a bit grindy because of it.

    • A Little Lebowski says:

      Save early, save often. In that mission in my experience you really need to get some bodies up on the power station (is it a power station? It’s the raised area on the west of the map) to suck in the attackers and it’s an absolutely great position to drop AT grenades and molotovs on the tanks which are coming in from that direction. Your re-supply for them is provided by the mounds of dead Nazis you’ll have at the top of the stairs/ ramp. Get some anti-tank guns at the end of the rail with a clear view of the approaches in case the tanks get past.
      Mine the approaches to the north but have a very solid mass of bodies up there including one or two anti tank guns.
      Use your t34 only in the end game (95% completed and a huge new wave will come at you) because it will be needed.
      There are other viable strategies for that map, but the ones above have worked multiple times for me on hard.
      The learning curve in the game is very steep as that was the 2nd mission I tried in it and I couldn’t quite believe how difficult it was.
      I’d also add that you have some treats in store in that campaign if you haven’t got past the trainyard yet :) The evacuation and defence of Moscow are brain meltingly difficult. But that’s part of the attraction imo, it’s hugely rewarding to have a game which properly challenges you.

  26. Cosmo Dium says:

    Can you save in coop mid-mission?

  27. RegisteredUser says:

    So let me understand this correctly: there is little to no incentive to have this as a single-player experience only? (I kind of liked MOW, but got annoyed to heck and back from a handful of missions, mostly due to it being unfair to hold with 100 men against 1000 + tanks)

    • Chris Kramer says:

      The singleplayer part is designed to be played in coop, that means coop is part of the fundamental design of the missions. In previous games, coop was just an addition, not a core feature, thus many missions weren’t optimized for it or didn’t provide a streamlined experience to users throughout the game.

      In simple words, to have a great coop experience, you need a great singleplayer in first place. Coop is there to make the singleplayer experience even better than it already is.

  28. Sarlix says:

    This has probably slipped too far down the list for anyone to notice now – but just on the off chance.

    Assume one has just completed the first Men Of War and they want more MoW action. Would it be better to buy Red Tide or Assault Squad – keep in mind said person would probably not be interested in the multi-player side of things.

    Also, can anyone who has tried the demo and played the first MoW comment on how it compares performance wise – as in, is Assault Squad much more system intensive? I would just download the demo and find out myself but I am unable to right now – Thanks kindly :-)

    • dartt says:

      Sarlix, if you want more of the same I’d reccomend Red Tide. It focuses entirely on singleplayer and has mission structures similar to MOW.

      While Assault Squad does have a singleplayer, the missions I’ve played are essentially like the co-op skirmishes with a bit of extra scripting. The main focus here is on a really polished and balanced multiplayer experience.

    • Chris Kramer says:

      That’s hard to say, if you look forward to have more of the very same MoW, than Red Tide is probably the best to go. If you want to play a game that has changed since MoW (also in singleplayer game mechanics) and provides you latest features and vehicles, than I think you should look at MoW:AS.

      In any case, try out the demo.

    • Sarlix says:

      Thanks a lot guys!

  29. Apocalypse 31 says:

    Too much micromanagement in this game to really enjoy it.

    Not to mention the SP games were pretty tough, and you were always undergunned in them. I’d rather just stick to Company of Heroes as my twitch RTS WW2 game.