Eugen Systems are back. Seventy-three years back. As you might have picked up on the battalion squawk, the French powerhouse are returning to World War II with the Paradox-published Steel Division: Normandy 44. What’s old is very, very new again.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Alexis le Dressay and his team have come up with, given their work on the impeccable Wargame series — the greatest real-time tactical series of the modern era, in my unqualified but no-less enthusiastic opinion. Combining the scale of 2010’s masterful RUSE (sadly no longer available digitally) with the materiel gristle of the aforementioned Cold War toybox, they’re touting an intriguing rolling phase system that looks to condense the build-up of traditional RTSs into their brand of tactical delight.
From the horse’s mouth.
Steel Division: Normandy 44 will allow you to take control over legendary military divisions from six different countries, such as the American 101st Airborne, the German armored 21st Panzer or the 3rd Canadian Division, during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
From battlegroup customization to troop positioning and maneuvering, winning battles requires cunning and strategy, not just raw firepower. Each unit lost presents a growing tactical disadvantage, and players will need to fight to gain — and keep — the upper hand.
Battles rage over Three Distinct Phases, where different units unlock over time, mimicking the movements of real-world armies and adding variety to the ever-changing theatre of war. The Dynamic Front Line illustrates the ebb and flow of the conflict. Pin down your opponent’s infantry to gain the advantage and force a retreat, or push through with a perfectly executed plan.
Whether fighting for control in intense multiplayer battles with up to 10-vs-10 players going head-to-head, playing alone or working with friends in ranked matches, players will need to coordinate their selection of historically accurate infantry, tanks, aircraft, and support vehicles to counter enemy units in this Tactical RTS game.
I’m most keen to see what their infantry mechanics look like in a post-Wargame world. After having chatted to Alexis on Thousand Yard Stare site Wargamer last year, finding out how turgid soldiering was in the European Escalation prototype phase, it remains to be seen just how nitty-gritty Eugen will get with the platoons in Steel Division. With the winding back of engagement distances, stripping the expansive embrace of snaking ATGMs and the fan-favourite helo rush, the older school emphases should be — if anything — refreshing.