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Order of War

Probably: "Shoot those men!"

You're very much ordering groups of relatively automated troops rather than demanding individual grenade-tosses from your charges, but this should come as a relief, because the number of your charges will grow to around a thousand as the game moves on. In fact, the model of troop command being touted is very much that of Total War, albeit without clevernesses such as unit morale and the like.

Meanwhile, at any point the resource points that you've accrued through general battle can be used to order in fresh troops from the foot of the map, but in a possibly audience-dividing move developer Wargaming.net has also included a feature that means you won't be able to lose on normal difficulty levels. Consistently foul up your tactics and an increasingly exasperated General will simply keep on sending reinforcements until you've stumbled inexpertly to victory, bereft of the medals and upgrades you would otherwise have earned for a job well done. The idea is to keep you on the edge of victory/disaster for as long as possible without sudden 'mission over' screens, but whether it proves slightly too hand-holdy is unclear.

As ever, Order of War has been developed with an eye on ushering in the mainstream. Micromanagement and ammo-shortages will not be an issue here. In fact, even the oft-touted 'FPS feel' is given an airing when the developers show off the cinematic camera you can snap to on the battlefield, should you want to view the carnage in a more personal capacity. It's been done elsewhere, but there's a nice Match of the Day 2 highlights way in which it captures the main talking points of the carnage being wreaked on the field from various unexpected camera angles. What's more, close up, the graphics remain nicely crisp and reassuringly gallic in their authenticity - with the developers promising that signs, houses, roads and brickwork are all exactly as they would be in the different regions of Europe that the game visits.

As for the D-Day landings themselves, when the words "we will beat Spielberg" spill from the excited lips of Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi, eyebrows can't help but rush to the summit. From what I've played, I can confirm that they will at least be fun.

When it was released in Russia at the close of last year, under the frankly brilliant name of Operation Bagration (also a historically accurate and rather serious title, so apologies for the implied giggles), Order of War did rather well critically - and there's little to suggest it won't float the authentically-rivetted boats of the English-speaking gamer either. In fact, the only primary danger is whether Order of War has fallen between the two stools of simultaneously pleasing the mainstream and the sort of person who rolls around in Osprey Tank manuals like a pig in the proverbial. Dad's Army pointy arrows won't please everyone. In fact, that's probably just me.

Order of War is due out for PC later this year.

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Will Porter avatar

Will Porter

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Will ‘Velvet Owl’ Porter is a roaming freelance writer who most recently worked with The Creative Assembly on Alien: Isolation. You can find out how cold/hungry he is by following @Batsphinx on Twitter.

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