Theatre of War is a historic real-time strategy game for the PC platform, which depicts some of the most crucial battles of World War II during 1939 to 1945. In its core, the game runs an extreme quantity of militaristic realism. As such, velocity, range, and the weight of infantry bullets are greatly conceptualized here. What’s good about Theatre of War is that it provides players tremendous amount of information for calculating your strategies. Not only that but it also focuses more on the excitement of building excellent tactics rather than forcing you to win battles. The overall presentation is visually gripping; however, there are a number of technical flaws in the gameplay department that needs to be fleshed out. Theatre of War features five sing-player war campaigns with 30 sizable maps based on real-world locations.
Players will have access to more than 150 military vehicles (such as tanks and artillery units) and hundreds of small arms at their disposal. You’ll command a large scale infantry, comprising of about 25 to 30 individual units. Many of your soldiers are tasked with special roles, which take out the hassle of constant input from the player. No matter how spontaneous your infantry becomes, you still need to micromanage your troops as they tend to wander off aimlessly if you don’t tell them to hold their position. That’s a bit of unbalance in there. Also, the LOS/LOF system is somewhat broken down, which puts your squad in vulnerable position. Without this system in place, it’s easy for enemies to spot you and ultimately decimate your infantry. The lack of ability to take cover is another setback in the gameplay.
Regardless of what you use for cover is inevitably ineffective. You will still get eliminated even if you’re 500 yards out. The lack for cover also takes away the element of surprise and the groundwork for a great ambush. On a positive note, the aritficial intelligence sided to human does a fairly decent job of making tactical decisions such as taking the best course of action available to them. For instance, when the soldiers manning the artillery are killed, another unit steps up to take position of their fallen comrade. In other instances, you will see human AI take evasive maneuver such as retreat when outnumbered.
Graphically, the game is amazing. The tanks and other military convoys have been given vast amount of attention complemented with damage models to them. The environment is huge, filled with incredible battle zones. You are no longer restricted to fighting on small outskirts but rather on the full length of available landscapes. Theatre of War does a relatively good job exhibiting a few weather effects such as rain and snow, giving the setting a more realistic terrain. You also get other great visuals in the background like smoke coming out of the blown vehicles, acres of small villages and droves of trees, as well as shack-like buildings in far distant. The action on field moves relatively smooth for the most part. You’ll see heavy emission kick up by tanks and trucks as they pass by. However, not all are in perfect order. It seems like your troops can’t enter a building, place mines, or even dig in for bunkers.
The audio component is somewhat plain. Most of the environmental noises you’ll hear are quite monotonous. The weapon effects are relatively faint and the delivery of voice-overs is very limited. The music isn’t particularly interesting and you’ll feel like you’re out of place. Overall, Theatre of War is a mixed blessing for fans of PC RTS. On one hand, you get an immersive WWII battles with incredible historic display of “allies vs. axis” type of scenarios. You also get a decent human AI interaction that gets some of the tasks done. On the other hand, the gameplay is still in rudimentary stage. The LOS/LOF system is broken and the sound is compromised. The game basically boils down to two choices—you either love world history, which Theatre of War does well making that connection, or you’re a very big fan of RTS games. For us, it’s a solid attempt on the RTS genre but very frustrating to beat.