War. What is it good for? A nice strategy game for the Vita, maybe?
We aren’t blessed with many strategy games on the Vita and the only other title which can see you in a war-like scenario is Table Top Tanks and that doesn’t quite cut the mustard. So it’s with open arms that this title, which serves as an HD revisit to the PSP title of the same name, is welcomed. Labelled as “History Legends of War” the game very quickly tells you that, whilst based around the US Army’s General George S Patton, the missions that you will undertake are not exactly historically accurate.
Set during World War 2, more specifically 1944, the game has you in the role of Patton, commanding your troops on the quest to win the war. It is a turn based strategy game with you controlling up to 8 different units in a variety of objectives. The story unfolds as these missions are completed and depending on how efficient you were during each level you will be awarded a rank, the and the higher your rating the more prestige points you are awarded. These prestige points act as your currency through the game and this affects the recruitment of different units. So, choosing up to eight units you can select from Infantry based attacking units like Riflemen, Snipers and Anti-tank units as well as defensive units like Medics and Engineers, Tanks and Planes. Choosing the wrong unit for the mission type could seriously affect your final rating or even cost you the mission. The missions themselves vary from those that need you to completely eliminate enemy units to those that need you to survive a specific number of turns without running out of troops. Escorting units to a set drop zone and so on.
Over the course of 21 missions there is enough variety here to keep you interested and keep a challenge going with five different levels of difficulty. This level itself does not affect the trophies – you are free to complete the game on easy should you desire but if you are really up for a challenge you may be better of going higher. The game looks quite nice and everything presented is detailed enough and there are many different effects such as smoke and debris and so on going on when units are destroyed. The units have enough of a difference in their looks for you to tell them apart.
Strategy games historically struggle when they make a transition to a console unless they have a working control scheme and that’s exactly what you have here. The shoulder buttons when pressed alone cycle around the units that you have, whilst the left stick moves the camera around. When used with the button the left stick also changes your viewing angle. When it is used with the right you can rotate the map. The right stick is what you use to move your units and to aim at enemies. The X button serves as your action button. The triangle enters your targeting mode where you can aim your main firearm or your alternative weapon (if you have one) at an enemy unit by pressing the circle button. Aside from you sometimes moving the camera it all works very well. Once you have made your move choices you then confirm the end of your turn, and the AI then engages its own troops. Your units will fire to defend themselves if the German troops enter their field of vision as will they when you do the same to them.
It all works well, the units all have a movement meter which affects how far they can move around the battlefield in one turn. They also have a set number of shots to fire per turn and you can shoot and move however you want whilst the unit has the ability to do either. You are limited however, first by funds and then by fuel as to how many vehicle units you can take with you into the missions – whilst sometimes you are even limited completely to just one or two units in total. Whilst this increases the tension in the missions it does sometimes detract from the overall experience, especially if you are after some serious tank battles.
If you are, then you will be disappointed. The game does a decent job as strategy title and will keep you interested and entertained but it never really feels like you are in command of an army. Once you realise that just using two infantry units (Bazooka and Sniper) will pretty much guarantee you a “Heroic Victory” it does kind of negate the point of the different units types, especially the air units.
There is a multi-player mode in the package with a pass and play model in place but the game really could have benefited from an online mode. As a turn based game it would have worked well over the internet and it’s a shame that it wasn’t implemented. But at least there is something there for you to use.
Patton’s Campaign ultimately leaves you feeling a little disappointed. War strategy enthusiasts have very little other choice than this title (on the Vita, that is) and they won’t feel completely let down but you can’t help feeling that they could have packed a little bit more into the game which would have enhanced the experience.