Wargame: European Escalation On The Brink

This is perhaps slight overkill. OVERKILL! GEDDIT?!?!

The title of Wargame: European Escalation makes me think of all those grey-and-white products you see in the background of adverts for washing powder. There in the front is the packed of Whizzi-Wash, bright and colourful, and behind are stacked greyscale box after box of “SOAP” and “CLEANING POWDER”. I’m saying it’s a bland name. Is that clear? Bland. But it doesn’t look bland at all, as the launch trailer below proves.

I mean, it’s a strategy game, and they’re all identical, right? AMIRIGHT? (Ow. Apparently not.) But flipping crikey, that’s a lot of missiles:

The trailer slightly over-eggs the reality of its availability, which is apparently out tomorrow, although the website is mind-bogglingly confusing. Steam suggests tomorrow too, so let’s go with that.


  1. James Allen says:

    I’ve been playing the multiplayer beta and I really like it.

    • Mavvvy says:

      Indeed, one of the better strategy games I’ve played in a while. Retreating is even a sensible option sometimes, what madness is this?

    • Dominic White says:

      Echoing this – a few RTS-loving friends recommended I preorder the game. I wouldn’t have otherwise, but I’m very glad I did. It’s a genuinely clever, slow-paced, properly strategic and remarkably realistic RTS that manages to stay accessible even to people crappy at the genre, like me.

      I also win more than I lose, somehow. Can’t wait for the singleplayer stuff tomorrow – sounds like there’s a lot of it. 20+ story missions and 10+ standalone scenarios. Calling it now: Sleeper RTS hit of the year.

      The MP beta has sold really well based on word-of-mouth alone. There’s been very little advertising of this game, but there’s usually a good 600-700 players online at any given time, even before launch.

      My personal favorite strategy online is cheap WW2-era soviet tanks. The T-34 might have paper-thin armor by modern standards, but 20 of those guns can bludgeon even an M1A1 into submission, and they have a co-ax MG that murderizes passing choppers with a decent bit of reliability.

    • jimjames says:

      Me too! I like it a lot. But having only played a lot of Starcraft I’m finding it quite challenging, there are a lot of units to get your head round.

    • godwin says:

      Same here; it’s just great stuff. It bugged me a little at the beginning that there is no combined arms fixed wing air support available, but this actually means everything has a (or more) theoretical counter, and forces you as the player to think through your strategies better — artillery is fielded on-map, whose firing distances are true to scale and pretty mind-boggling when seen in action. Unit placement and lines of sight (thus reconnaissance) matter a lot, as is knowing when to push forward and with what, and when to pull back. Team games are really fun when players coordinate and know what they’re doing, which I guess goes for any team-based game. I hope they put out a demo so more people could give the game a try before making a purchase!

    • Lokai says:

      Ditto, I highly endorse this game. Even if you didn’t like Ruse (like me), the developers previous game, you can still like Wargame quite a bit.

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    • Halvor says:

      Just the beta has been a blast. I look forward to unlocking all my favorite units again. The base deck of units is actually fairly competitive so even low level beginners can win if they use superior tactics and strategies.

  2. Seth says:

    This is a really, really interesting game and I hope it gets a lot of exposure. It’s a big departure from the RTS mold, and not in the WiC/DoW2 ‘micro small numbers of units’ direction. Check it out.

  3. NathanH says:

    Actually it’s a fantastic idea to include the genre in the title. If every game did that then we wouldn’t have genre arguments any more, would we? Would we? Oh yes, of course we would.

  4. Enzo says:

    This looks a bit like World in Conflict but on a larger scale, so I’ll have to check it out.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s more like RUSE spliced with Combat Mission, in a lot of ways. Large-scale realistic warfare. Tank-shells hit from 2km or further, and AA locks off huge chunks of airspace.

      It’s pretty accessible, though. Very simple UI.

  5. DogKiller says:

    I was going to get it just to mess around with all my favourite cold war vehicles, expecting that it would just be another RTS kind of thing, but there’s actually a suprising amount of depth to it all, to the point that I’m happy to say my initial impressions were wrong. It’s got things like morale, armour locations, gun stablisation, fuel and ammo all tracked. It’s definitely not Combat Mission, but it does encourage much more realistic tactics than swarming your enemy with as many tanks as you can muster. I think they’ve done a good job of balancing accessability without compromising realism.

    I hope it does well. Also, hiding infantry in forests and ambushing tanks as they roll past is the best thing ever.

    • Halvor says:

      Ambushes are great. I also love capturing enemy supply vechicles. It is fun to see missile based units running out of ammo or Anti air units stuck in a field because they ran out of fuel .

  6. Vinraith says:

    This thing looks like it has enormous potential, I have only two concerns:

    1. Does the AI know how to play the game? I know this was a major problem with RUSE.

    2. Is it Steamworks, like RUSE was?

    • Dominic White says:

      1: There’s no AI at the moment, so nobody knows. Preorder folks get access to multiplayer and nothing else.

      2: They dropped Ubisoft altogether, so yes, standard Steam integration (it stores all your progress and account info on the cloud server) as the only DRM.

      There’s a lot less in the way of mindgames/intuition involved in this one. It’s more about scouting and positioning, which AI can (theoretically) do okay with, though. No electronic warfare here, just making sure you have eyes in the right places. A cheap, weak hidden unit can kill a vastly more expensive one in no time, if placed right.

    • DuddBudda says:

      um no, there are non-steam options availible. oh, maybe not in the UK :/

    • Dominic White says:

      Can you activate it without using Steam, though? It has achievements and uses my Steam account name and avatar in-game, so it’s probably Steamworks.

    • Vinraith says:

      Well, if it’s Steamworks-only then I’ll have plenty of time to find out about the AI while waiting for a nice, steep sale.

    • DuddBudda says:

      the achievements, friends list and jazz have all been implemented into the game quite seperately from steam

      so it’s defo not a steamworks game

      but England is pretty unique in having no retailer for the physical copies availible to the rest of the world, and I think the only digital copies availible for preorder here are on steam

    • Janek says:

      Gamersgate version says it needs Steamworks anyway.

  7. moarage says:

    the trailers are abit misleading–yes they are ingame footage and awesome things like that can happen, but most of the time you played with a zoomout view to have clarity over awesomeness, so you won’t seeing much of the action in detail.

    • Dominic White says:

      It depends a lot on the scale of battle you’re fighting, too. Playing on an 8-player map with huge resource caps is going to be on a more distant scale than a 4-player game on a map made for 2 with resources split between you becomes a much more personal fight.

      I personally love watching my ATGM units firing, so I can swear at them when they miss and the shot goes spiralling off into the sky. And then swear at myself for not buying veteran, more accurate units.

  8. DaftPunk says:

    Daamn what with tanks going 120 km/h haha :D

    • westyfield says:

      Tanks can go really fast on roads. They tend to avoid doing so unless necessary, as it chews up the asphalt.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Seeing the fully equipped infantry almost keeping up with those tanks in the NATO trailer was even more entertaining. They must have souped up invisible segways.

    • marcusfell says:

      Don’t forget that they have to stop for jet fuel (no kidding) every 10 minutes.

    • Halvor says:

      The game footage is sped up for the trailer. However, the game does feel this epic. Especially in the 4×4 games on the 150 KM maps. Tanks do move faster on the road but they have a top speed around 50 mph in game. You can buy a APCs which move at 70 mph and helos that fly at 250-300mph. Once the action gets heated up, the game goes plenty fast. Also unlike Company of Heroes or Starcraft, you can purchase units and they roll onto the battle field as reinforcements from the flanks or rear of your position. There is no unit building structures, thank goodness and no tech tree. You can put your most powerful artillery like the M270 MLRS and fire 12 rockets at once and completely blanket one square kilometer. Or you could fire 5 M270 MLRSs and wipe out an entire infanty/light armor column.

  9. 0rpheus says:

    Is the whole multiplayer ‘decks’ thing any good? Quite intrigued by that side of it, seems an innovative (ish) take on vs & co-op.

    • DuddBudda says:

      yes the decks are a well thought out feature that’s fairly balanced and accessible

    • Dominic White says:

      It works pretty well. There’s ~160 unit types per side, and you pick a maximum of 25 to be your personal army. However, that 25 also includes variants, so if you want a dolled-up C-variant of a tank, you need to take the original and B versions, so make it maybe 15-20 unit types, depending on how tech-heavy you want to go.

      That has to include everything from recon to the APCs that’ll be carrying around your infantry, your command vehicles and even what kind of supply trucks you want. Some seemingly crappy units (my favorites are WW2 surplus polish T-34s) can be really useful, so there’s room for each player to have their own style.

    • 0rpheus says:

      Nice, ta fellas. Will definitely give this a closer look :)

    • godwin says:

      Hmmm? I’m pretty sure the variants don’t count as individual units on the deck, because I would’ve long surpassed the limit if that were the case. Rather, you pick a unit, and get to field the entire stack of variants (if any) that’s listed under it (so in fact you get to field many more than 25 unit types).

      But of course, when it comes to actually unlocking units using command stars, you’d have to unlock each variant in increasing order. And another thing about the decks: you can only pick a maximum of 5 units in each category (e.g. Logistics, Infantry, Tanks, etc.), which means you can’t exactly fully specialise in any single category.

      Do correct me if I got this wrong! :)

    • Dominic White says:

      No, no – it was my mistake. I must have miscounted my last deck – it probably got bloated a bit by the multiple infantry/APC types.

    • Halvor says:

      The decks are great because you can pick and choose where you want your army to go. Each unit will effectively destroy enemy units but some units are better than others. You can definitely pick a deck of units that are not as powerful and kind of shoot your self in the foot BUT I have found that well placed and timed attacks can win battles even with an inferior army. The point (resource) cost of each does balance out things. I love how 1-2 missiles from a 30 point stinger missile squad can take out a 200 point chopper. But a shell from an artillery unit could wipe that squad out before then even have a chance to take aim at anything.

  10. BebopBraunbaer says:

    is this WW2 meats supreme commander?

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      I don’t think they had that many helicopters during WW II…

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Now I have the strange image of WW2 slapping Supreme Commander with a steak, while declaring “MEAT!”.

  11. Steven Hutton says:

    I’ll wait for the Wot I think before buying. But it certainly looks exciting enough.

    I might just end up replaying World In Conflict though.

    BANON! You are SUCH a fuck-up!

  12. RyuRanX says:

    This game will be great. Why? Do the math:

    R.U.S.E. + Modern Setting – Consoles = Wargame: European Escalation = Great strategy game!

  13. jrod says:

    loved the snot out of RUSE… bought this immediately after being reminded it even exists

  14. Dominic White says:

    Here’s a bit of spiffy news – they’re releasing a day early!
    link to wargame-ee.com

    Apparently the full version should be live on Steam within the next few hours, instead of tomorrow evening.

  15. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    Looks interesting, what are the system specs for this? I’m wondering if my laptop can run this and I couldn’t really find it on the website.

  16. Dominic White says:

    Day 1 balance patch notes:
    link to wargame-ee.com

    Artillery nerfed – it’s still as powerful as ever, but retargets slower, reloads slower (for cannons, not rockets), and drains more ammo. Good changes one and all – it basically means you have to pick and choose targets more carefully ,and can’t really track moving enemies.

  17. default_name says:

    I like how they release the game on 23rd February which is the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia.

  18. thecaptain says:

    This one is a real gem. Looking forward to a wot I think…

  19. Halvor says:

    This game is as amazing as everyone is saying. One thing that stands out is the size of the maps and the zone of engagement each unit has. This game is perfect for those that love tactics and strategy. For example, you can bring units in from the flanking forest, you can fly them in helicopters, and you can roll them head on with heavy armor support. But it is much more complete than that, because if you take the forest you may not be able to properly scout what you are coming into, you may run into infantry hiding in the woods, you may get stuck in the mud, and you may not have a easy way to bring supplies to your missile firing units (some units only have 4 or 6 missiles so once you are out, you may only have a secondary weapon).

    This game also punishes those who run head strong forward with just tanks or just helos. Because there are hard counters for those and running forward fast means your rear and side armor are exposed. I have already put in 30 hours into this game and that is only with a few beta maps. with 160 units, think of the various strategies that you can come up with. Also these are not Total Annihilation style unit variety, each unit has its own feel and is very smart to have a mixed army. Anti tank missiles for heavy tanks, medium tanks and auto cannons for lighter ones, machine guns for troops, and artillery for dug in enemy troops.

  20. Dances to Podcasts says:

    “But flipping crikey, that’s a lot of missiles:”

    That’s why it’s a LAUNCH trailer. :)

  21. spelvin spugg says:

    This game kicks ass. It’s what I’ve been waiting for for a long time.

    But in many ways the performance is rather execrably poor. Not steady chugs but intermittent hitches. Typically I associate this kind of hitching with texture loading and it’s very strange for something with so little texture variety. Most settings are on low, and this is a system that can run Skyrim on high settings without too much trouble.

  22. frosty216 says:

    Thanks RPS’ers for the beaming impressions…. Count me in on the purchase bandwagon.

    I find it rather ironic this is a gaming website where a visitor can trust the comments left by the community. You guys rock!! ..paper…shotg.. ok I’ll leave.

  23. spelvin spugg says:

    Just so people know, my issue with slowdown was due to selection of DX11. My card does support it but it runs quite smoothly in DX9 and for games like this I don’t need to be counting rivets anyway. I knew there was something funky going on because even the menu interface was choppy in the extreme. I expect it will be even nicer after a patch.

    My review of the game? Superlative. And I really like very few games.

    My only criticism is the fact that there are very few maps, and the maps are not procedurally generated, meaning that optimization of map-specific strategies becomes more important than creating strategy on the fly, like Frozen Synapse.