27/7/04 by Beta1
Each unit has a observation range and a weapon range. These vary widely from unit to unit – scout cars and infantry have long observation ranges but weak weapons with relatively short ranges. Artillery pieces have long weapon ranges but short observation distances. These differences encourage combined arms tactics and reward intelligent play over rushing in all guns blazing. That said all the ranges are rather short. Apparently most Allied troops were severely myopic as none of my units appeared to be able to spot enemy armour if it was more than 100m away.
In a nicely implemented feature many of the units have extra abilities, allowing sappers to lay mines and blow up fortifications and half-tracks to tow guns and artillery pieces. Tanks and guns can also be dug in giving them defensive bonuses. In addition, tanks can be ordered to target specific areas of enemy tanks and attempt to damage the gun or the tracks hoping to incapacitate the enemy without penetrating their armour. Some attempt to model armour and penetration is present but 88mm rounds penetrating a Sherman only leads to a loss of some of its health bar rather than the instant demise of its occupants. Equally, the infantry model is simplistic with no modelling of morale or suppression as in close combat or combat mission. Each little pixel soldier you run straight at a machine gun is just as happy to die as the previous twenty and would never dare to ignore your orders and take cover in that shell hole over there.
Initially I was hoping that D-Day would be a Combat Mission beater and as such was getting ready to consign it to the “generic RTS” bin. Then I realised that, although D-Day looks like a 3D Close Combat, it is plays like Cannon Fodder with 2004 technology. The simplifications (e.g. artillery with a maximum range of 200m) suddenly make sense in context of keeping play fluid. The lack of any base building and the constant stream of reinforcements free the player from micromanaging resources and keep the action fast and brutal. Really that’s what this game is all about; its WW2 Hollywood movie style action – GIs creeping through the bocage while Tigers lurk round every corner. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Longest Day” you’ll feel right at home. The only thing its missing is John Wayne.
On second thought maybe that’s a good thing.
EDITOR: Have the chance to win a copy of D-Day by entering the competition here. Closing date 20th August 2004.