Western Front Hands-on Preview – Trenchfoot: The Great War

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I was able to get my hands on The Great War: Western Front during the close of the month that just passed. You may recall that I tried it out at Gamescom earlier this year (without really playing it), and at the time, I expressed a strong desire to get my hands on it eventually. What did I think of my hands-on time with the World War One trench-warfare strategy game, putting the game’s technical flaws to one side (I despise Parsec and the fact that it freezes up on me every twenty blasted seconds)?

The Great War: Western Front has been on my radar as a potential game ever since it was first mentioned. Petroglyph Games is staffed by individuals that have previously worked on games in the Company of Heroes and Command and Conquer series.

You may anticipate that their distinguished history of strategy games will be on display here, but with a new twist that will set it apart from the other games in its genre. As the context suggests, such fighting is known as “Trench Warfare.”

When I played through The Great War: Western Front, I found myself amid the second fight of Passchendaele (also known as the final attack of the Third battle of Ypres). I was in charge of the allied troops, which included the British and the Canadians, and we were attempting to evict the center forces, which were German.

The initial setup, detailed during my hands-off, was not included here. This consists of the building up of trenches, artillery, and other such things. I was on the offensive, but I still had a lot of room for maneuvering.

To be fair, having a large pool of options was initially detrimental to my success. I can’t place the blame for my failures (just most of them) on Parsec and the fact that I had so many reconnections that time ran out.

During my second try, I was successful in bringing the deaths of more men than Mr. Reaper himself. Blue Oyster Cult did not create their song with the idea that I would be the reaper in mind at any point. You have to realize that time is crucial in this game. Even if the game allows you to pause it so you can take a break, Janus will still make it difficult for you to move about.

When you take the fight directly to your adversaries, you must time everything to perfection. This is especially true when the total time restriction for the combat is short, which increases the likelihood that you may make blunders. Among these mistakes is the launching of infantry over the top without enough artillery cover, which is the needed cover.

Smoke barrages, rolling barrages for suppression, and even direct artillery hits are all examples of these types of barrages. The trouble is timing these incorrectly and stopping them too early; your soldiers would be swiftly mowed down. This took allied generals much too long to realize when they would execute massive barrages that concluded quite a time before pushing the troops over the top.

Therefore, it can be said that time is the most critical factor in determining victory in The Great War: Western Front. Success can also lead to tremendous success, providing extra resources, soldiers, and troops.

For instance, achieving the first objective, which consisted of taking the central location, allowed me to choose between two distinct units as a prize. After that, the mission shifted its focus to the primary objective of seizing the German HQ, with the secondary and tertiary purposes of capturing the flanking headquarters and trenches.

My ineffective employment of artillery and aircraft, whether they were engaged in a mission to bring down the enemy’s visibility balloons or an effort to make bombing flights, was ultimately what caused me to lose the battle. I tried to press the left flank, but most of the time, not with sufficient vigor.

When I finally succeeded in capturing it, I lacked the means to ask for more help. When I called for reinforcements, I made the fatal error of leaving them out in the open, where they were vulnerable to being killed by German artillery. Many of them were dead before I could relocate them to a trench.

It’s a learning experience where you need to pay attention to the layout of the map, keep an eye out for obstacles like barbed wire, and make sure you’re keeping track of the units you have available to you. In many strategy games, you will have the ability to call in reinforcements but will not need to worry about them immediately; instead, they will function as reserves. Be careful that the safety of your units is compromised even while they are behind friendly lines.

Since I’ve spent a lot of time learning about World War One by reading and seeing, there’s no disputing to me how violent and awful the entire fight was. It was never going to be a simple task to demonstrate this in a strategy game, but there is something to be said about The Great War: Western Front.

Petroglyph has worked on it, captured (to a significant part) what I see it to be like, and managed to keep it entertaining enough for a game. Even though this was just one battle, the results look promising for what’s to come—the release of The Great War: Western front is scheduled for the following year.

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