The Entente: WW I Battlefields - PC - Preview
And the caissons go rolling along ...
The warfare in World War I was harsh. Weapons were still somewhat primitive and proper planning could often spell the difference between success and total defeat.
The Entente: World War I Battlefields, a PC release slated to ship this fall, from Buka Entertainment, attempts to capture the style of combat in a real-time strategy setting.
GameZone.com was invited into the trenches in a demo version of the title.
The set-up for the game is quite simple. The game takes place between 1914 and 1918, and like most of the games in the RTS genre, you are given a scenario and then turned loose on the fields of war on a mapboard partially shrouded by the fog of war. You move your troops and machinery and attempt to accomplish the goals before you.
In March 1917, the German forces retreated tot he Siegfried Line. Using tanks, which often were little more than trainers, or were inadequately prepared for the terrain, the British nonetheless pushed forward and drove a wedge through the defensive line. Are you ready to try the same thing? Or do you have something else in mind.
That is the idea behind the game. You are placed into a real historical situation and challenged to succeed. How you do it is up to you. There are five playable nations in the game - British, Germany, Russia, France and Austrian. The game not only spans battles with tanks and soldiers, but will put you on the ocean as well.
The beginning scenario for the Germans is the Jutland Sea Battle. For the Russians, it is a slightly different proposition. It comes as the 1st Russian Army, with woeful support, engages the 1st Germany Army Corps.
The game not only embraces the tactical elements, but tosses is a touch of the economics of war as well. You will have advisors ready to give you ideas or warn you against foolish aggression.
The sound of this game runs from that typical of the genre to a musical score that is abrupt but reminiscent of a Cirque de Soleil show. This was merely a demo and it seems likely that the snippets of musical score will be rounded out by the final release.
The control elements span the familiar and almost familiar. In this demo, one could not drag a box around a group of units to combine them into one command, but you could shift-click on a variety of elements to group them that way. Then it was just a point and click to direct them. There is a tool bar across the bottom that sets offensive or defensive postures.
Graphically The Entente is quite similar to games on the market. The camera is fixed above the battlefields, which are lush and simulate a three-dimensional feel. The battle looks quite good and the game AI is sound. The game is also geared to allow a great number of units to participate in each battle, through you can expect some movement duplication.
Multiplayer game play, when it is part of the package will support up to 8 players. In many ways, The Entente: World War I Battlefields is a mixture of what is good about the genre and what is typical for it. What will allow this game to stand out is the depth of the World War I scenarios. Whether by land, sea or even air, the game faithfully sets up circumstances from The Great War, and the casts players into the seat of commander of the armed forces. Some of the battles waged were agonizing exercises of those ill-prepared overcoming the odds to march to victory, but through great cost of lives.
This game represents your chance to change history with a real-time, three-dimensional model.