Did we use that pun before? Oh nevermind. I do so enjoy it when a random theme emerges from the internet, and today's theme is: tanks of World War II. The tank you see above is from Men of War, which I shall talk about in a moment. Firstly, the secondary purpose of this post is to pimp out the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which I implore all who are able to purchase immediately. The reason? Lots of Jim Rossignol words, obviously, but more specifically my feature on the Russian games industry. I went to Moscow and came back laden with delicious information. It's the the best thing I've written for a magazine since my trip to Korea. Anyway... Men Of War - or why a fiddly wargame was one of the best things I saw in Moscow.
What was interesting about Men Of War was the grizzled-looking developer from Best Way talked to me in Russian (translated via a young Russian lady) about the modeling of tank combat physics. He explained how projectiles worked, how they penetrated different surfaces, and how his team had meticulously fashioned all this within the game world. I could see the PR folks rolling their eyes and praying that the chap would actually just get on with the demo. After a while even my placid self began to raise an eyebrow. But the lecture had served a purpose: I understood how to play the game.
As soon as I was in control of a tank I knew that my high explosive could be used to blast a building into a fragments and batter the nearby infantry. I also understood that the nearby German tank hiding behind a barn could be struck through the flimsy wooden structure, thanks to switching to my heavy armour-piercing rounds.
The next demo had the developer taking control, and for good reason: a huge battle unfolded in the Russian marshes. A great line of enemy infantry were advancing and he'd have to stop them. Dozens of little Russians ran out to defensive positions - it was clearly going to be a tooth-and-nail battle. My host showed me, with some pride, how snipers could be made to climb trees to increase the effective range. We watched the little man settling in a lone pine tree which wobbled in the wind. I wondered how many young Russian men had done exactly that in valiant defence of their country.
The upshot of all this, of course, means that a game I had no interest in at all - an over-simulatory RTS based in WW2 - is now a game I will definitely play on release.
Finally, a trailer. Not a particularly good video for getting across how the game works, but it is, at least, in-engine.
Men Of War will be available in September.