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Order of War review fact check

September 26th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 18 Comments · Media, WW2

From IGN’s Mark Birnbaum:

While not totally unprecedented in gaming, it is quite rare to find a WW2 game that offers a German campaign to players. While apparently not taboo to allow gamers to light up American troops with an MG-42 in Return to Castle Wolfenstein’s multiplayer, it’s not as common to have full-fledged campaigns detailing the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe’s struggle for survival.

From Play.tm’s Jennifer Allen:

Order of War offers something new from the second the player chooses which campaign to play: the ability to play from the German perspective. It’s not a feature exclusive to Order of War, but it is something that is rarely seen and the game shows a great depiction of what many see as the ‘other’ side in the conflict.

From Gamezone’s Dan Liebman:

The modern and perhaps slightly daring approach with Order of War can be found in the scope of its campaign, which does not simply settle for being grand in scale, but offers a look at events through the eyes of the German war machine. While Order of War is not the first game to offer a German campaign, it is certainly among the best attempts to be found in the genre.

Judging from the reactions of these reviewers, the idea of playing a WW2 campaign from the German perspective is rare and daring, something that hasn’t been done often or done well.

And they’re right, if you don’t count Panzer General, Blitzkrieg, Codename: Panzers, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Panzer Command, Men of War, Close Combat, Sudden Strike, Desert Rats vs Afrika Korps

Feel free to add any of the dozens of other games that let you play Germany in a campaign. Of the many uninteresting things about Order of War, the fact you can play the Germans has to be the least interesting.


18 Comments so far ↓

  • Punning Pundit

    Just based on the things you’ve tweeted, I’m guessing this game is only so~so. It seems likely, then, that these reviewers are trying to find something nicer to say about it than “competent”.

  • Erez

    Since I’m assuming you only mean RTS games and not stuff like Combat Mission (Simultaneous Turn-Based) or WWII wargames like… well, any of them, I’ll say you got all of those I can think of.

    Not to speak (too much) ill of game review sites, but those publications usually rate WWII games on how much they replicate the WWII movies, rather than the actual, historical, war.

  • James Allen

    These people review PC games, right?
    I heard the game (and from the impressions I got from the demo) is eerily similar to World in Conflict.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Fish in a barrel, fish in a barrel.

  • Troy

    “Fish in a barrel, fish in a barrel.”

    Easiest place to kill them, Scott.

    But seriously, is this just people being taken in by a PR talking point? Is there some reviewers’ guide that makes this obviously dubious claim? Are they confusing being one of the few campaigns that deals with the German defense of the homeland with being one of the few German campaigns period?

  • Scott R. Krol

    I would think yes, don’t know, and yes.

    Just from reading those snippets and being unfamiliar with any of the reviewers at first I thought it may be the standard case of a site shoving a game onto someone who probably shouldn’t be reviewing it (with all due respect to the female gamer are they really a lot of chicks who dig WW2 games?). And so the reviewer, in an attempt to sound like they know what they’re talking about, jumps on some aspect that seems unique to them but in reality this just makes them look even worse to the folks who really know what they’re talking about.

    Now, I said “at first” because thinking more about this I could see one reviewer saying this but for three to bring up the same point does seem to indicate other forces at work here, such as your thought of a reviewers’ guide making such a claim.

    Hmm, you know what could be a fun experiment? Next game Shrapnel sends out for review we send a cover letter highlighting all the bullet point features but include a bunch of features that don’t exist in the game and see how many reviewers talk about them as if they do.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Oh, and from the first example that part of “and Luftwaffe’s struggle for survival.”

    Doesn’t every single WW2 flight sim basically have this in it?

  • spelk

    I’ll wager its scratching around trying to find something they can highlight as it being different from a dozen other games, given its a Squenix release.

    I haven’t played it yet, but I’m installing it now.

  • Bobito

    Such is the state of games..um…”journalism.” But come on Troy, it’s not nice to pick on retards. Have some class!

  • Erez

    “is this just people being taken in by a PR talking point?” Preposterous, my dear Mr. Goodfellow! That would be like, say, game sites giving Id software’s Quake, one of the most bland, simplistic, and boring games, perfect scores just because of the hype (Feel free to check metacritic for a good laugh). There’s a reason why I don’t read reviews anymore.

  • Ginger Yellow

    Alec Meer made a similar comment in his RPS review of Tales of Valour, and it struck me as bizarre then. Not least because Company of Heroes had already done a German campaign before ToV.

  • Quinten

    From your description of the multiplayer it sounds almost identical to Men of War, except MoW has no superweapons and is individual based. You call in squads, but you can select individuals and they each have an inventory so you can pick up a dead mans weapon and use it. Instead of super weapons there are flame throwers and mortars and such. You can choose in game settings the size of the battle and whether it is infantry, vehicles, or combined arms.

  • Dave Long

    It just reinforces the idea that publications don’t really care about who’s reviewing the games on their sites, and that the vast majority of readers don’t care either because they only look at the number, not the text.

  • James Allen

    I didn’t see anything in the press materials for Order of War that specifically highlighted the German campaign, other than mentioning the fact that there is a German campaign.

    Order of War is World in Conflict light, but more limited in every single area: units, tactical aids, multiplayer (conquest only, 2v2 only, 6 maps only), interface, pathfinding, AI…everything. No reason at all to get it. Period.

  • James Allen

    This is all you need to know: you get tactical air assets to bomb or arty the enemy, but there is no fog of war. Seriously. AI strategy: bomb your initial base in the first 5 seconds of the game. Ha! I’m done with this one, kids.

  • ginja

    To be fair, shooters from the German (and Japanese) perspective are still exceptionally rare. In an abstracted war or strategy game it’s easy to get around sticky things like fascism and the Holocaust; there’s a bit of distance there. It’s not so easy in a less abstract genre.

  • Troy

    In shooters, sure. But this isn’t one and it would have been very easy to check the information on this.