As a player who dedicated a good amount of time to the Wargame series, Eugen Systems’ new RTT, Steel Division: Normandy 44, feels like a step in the right direction. I got my hands on the game this weekend so I didn’t have much time to test it out but in the few hours I spend with it did notice some gameplay changes. The Wargame formula is more or less intact starting the army deck builder which is a trial and error process and ending with a full tactical combat that’s focused more on decision making rather than micromanagement. There are a few minor changes in this area but I won’t go into details as I want to focus on the changes made to the battles. The map is no longer riddled with objective instead is an objective in itself having players battle for territorial supremacy with an ever-changing virtual borderline adjusting to the action on the battlefield. Battle chokepoints still exist but the value of an area isn’t calculated through points anymore but their importance at a strategic level which feels like a logical evolution in gameplay. The next big change comes in the way units are deployed which mechanically works as before but it’s now split into three deployment phases based on a time threshold. This is a much bigger change than it looks as it is impactful both at a strategic and tactical level. Units’ availability is now separated between the three deployment phases and the army decks have to be thought and built accordingly. Each deck can be distinctively more powerful at a certain time in a battle, be it early, mid or end game based on the deck’s composition and strategies have to be adjusted accordingly for both sides. It’s a tricky new mechanic that’s adding a lot of depth to the multiplayer but at this point I’m not sure what effects it has on the game’s balance.
Steel Division: Normandy 44 is a game that follows in the footsteps of RUSE and Wargame as a spectacle of tactical play with a realistic visual representation of what a war looks like. The full game will have multiple divisions to choose from and a singleplayer campaign which I hope it has evolved from Eugen Systems’ past works much like the gameplay did.