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PC Game Review

Theatre of War II: Africa 1943


Format: PC
Excalibur Publishing
RRP: £29.99
5 060020 474101
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 26 February 2010

Theatre of War II: Africa 1943 is the follow on game from the relatively small team at 1C Company. This time the real-time strategy (RTS) concentrates on the battle for North Africa.

The developer’s dedication to historical accuracy means that the game is not for the casual gamer; to get the most out of the game a certain amount of time in the assimilation of the controls has to be undertaken.

The three main parties involved in the conflict were the Germans the British and Americans, though I think you’ll find that Italian gamers would disagree with this premise The game has two main modes, the campaign, fifteen in total, and a multiplayer game. You can play as either of the main protagonists, oddly there is no skirmish mode, but the player has the opportunity to either create maps or alter existing ones.

Having authentic RTS are both a bonus and a curse. The lack of cover really ramps up the tension when you’re trying to either attack or defend. One improvement over the original game is that you can now find shelter and fight from buildings. However, this also means that the game can be frustrating at times, with the player having the same limited view of the battlefield as their soldiers. At times tanks literally appear and disappear as you weave your way in and around cover.

There is also a linked issue with the camera. I can accept that the fog of war means that you’re not always going to see who is shooting at you, but there are occasions when you are attacked by a tank which is just outside your field of game view. This struck me as unrealistic as its pretty much a dead certainty that if a tank were firing at me I’d have a pretty good idea where the tank was, especially as a lot of the terrain is flat.

Visually the game is impressive, though I disliked the restrictions of the camera movements and the speed at which it scrolled, but these things can be fixed. There is a built in encyclopedia for the player to review the relative strengths of equipment.

The game allows you to control either whole tank columns or an individual soldier, which tend to fight in relatively small numbers through a realistic and interactive environment. Not only do you get an impressive amount of your own equipment to play with, the game will realistically calculate hits depending on the type of weapon, but if you’re lucky enough you can also take over your enemies’ equipment and turn it against them, very satisfying.

Overall this is less of an RTS and more of a simulation of the battles, difficult to master at times but ultimately a satisfying experience for fans of Second World War games.


Charles Packer

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