MEN Of War: Red Tide (MoWRT) is the standalone sequel to MoW released earlier this year.
|Men Of War: Red Tide
|» Price: $50.90
» Genre: Real-time strategy
» Platform: PC
» Rating: 7/10
Like its predecessor, it plays like a strategy game with real-time tactical action where you have direct control over your troops.
The game takes you back to World War II where you play the Soviet marines stationed in the Black Sea area fighting the German and Romanian forces.
This sequel comprises 23 new levels of single-player missions for those who could not get enough of it in the original game. Fans will be pleased to see the addition of new vehicles in MoWRT, including gunboats and armoured trains.
In each mission, you command a small group of infantrymen armed only with basic guns and grenades and lead them to fight enemies who are better equipped and well protected.
Being disadvantaged means you need to use all the resources you can muster from the field, including taking cover in unconventional places such as holes in the ground, picking up weapons and supplies from the fallen and commandeering heavy artillery and vehicles.
As if overcoming the odds is not difficult enough, what makes the game harder is the steep learning curve, cumbersome interface and poor pathfinding.
However, once you get past the difficulties, you will be rewarded with missions that are widely varied and full of surprises.
There is no shortage of strategies you can employ. For instance, to get past an enemy camp, you can steal the artillery and wheel it near the camp to blow it apart. You can also risk crossing a minefield or use smoke bombs to sneak past the rear of the camp.
MoWRT's effort in creating realism is apparent when it shows actual historical war footage in its cinematic cutscenes.
Adding to the realism is a fully destructible scenery where almost everything can be destroyed, even buildings made of stone. This adds to the difficulty as no cover is sturdy enough to protect your troops permanently.
What mars the game is the emotionless voice that drones on; it is hard to imagine commanders speaking like they are reading a grocery list during a war.
Sadly, MoWRT does not offer cooperative online play, which is a pity given the missions' vastness and variety.
Despite that, if you enjoy challenging war games with a high degree of realism and have a penchant for mass destruction, you will find MoWRT a greatly rewarding experience.
By Yap Hui Bin, a freelance writer who feels desperation is the mother of innovation
Although your troops are small in numbers, do not feel obliged to keep them together.
Press K to split the group apart and form your own little squads of two or three by holding the Shift key and clicking each individual soldier to group them.
Splitting into groups allows for versatility in tactics and also serves as an insurance against splash damage caused by grenades, land mines and artillery that can easily wipe out your entire army.
With several small groups, you can vary your cooperative tactics. You could suppress the enemies with heavy fire while getting another group close enough to toss a grenade.
Some weapons can be moved around when you assign enough men to them, such as mounted machine guns and artillery on wheels.
Compared to the meagre weapons issued to your troops, these powerful weapons can really tilt the balance in your favour when used wisely, so hoist them up and place them facing strategic positions such as valleys, bridges or roads.
MoWRT offers many opportunities for you to pick up items that let your troops survive better like health packs, grenades and better weapons.
Spare no effort in looting dead bodies or rifling through crates to search for scant supplies for your troops.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
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