Frontline Attack - War on Europe
by Eidos Interactive
When I first began playing Frontline Attack the first thing that struck me was that it felt like something I had played before. Of course with RTS games this is a regular occurrence but it wasn't just that. After around a half hour's play it finally struck me that the game was very similar in nature to Earth 2150. After a bit of digging around on the Internet, I discovered that the developers of Earth 2150 were now known as Reality Pump and in actual fact are responsible for the game engine in Frontline Attack. You may remember that Earth 2150 had a very good game engine with day and night cycles, was fully 3D and allowed for in-depth strategy. Thankfully all of the aforementioned are also applicable to Frontline Attack.
Of course by the nature of the title you've probably guessed that this is a World War II based title. There aren't any factual battles (although it's obvious that some scenarios are loosely based upon real events) in the game, it's merely used WWII as it's theme and to base it's units around. The three forces that you have a choice of are Wehrmacht, Red Army and Allied Forces. The range of units and buildings for each of the three forces is impressive. From the very beginning of the game, in the mandatory tutorial, it is obvious that tanks play a more significant role in Frontline Attack than they do in other games such as Sudden Strike 2. What is impressive though is the way you can turn the tanks lights off in the dark to allow a more stealthy approach and also the way you can camouflage some of the units is particularly impressive. The unit balance, (that makes sure there is not one unit that can slaughter everything in sight) all important in a RTS, seems quite good. The AI is generally good and offers a decent battle even on the easiest of difficulties.
Those of you who have played Sudden Strike and thought that it should be in 3D rather than 2D will probably begin to understand why the sequel, Sudden Strike II has remained in 2D. Frontline Attack can be a little cumbersome when scrolling around the screen. The game can be fully rotated although initially this feature is locked and you can only zoom in and out. Once youve unlocked the camera you can fully rotate the camera but whilst this is fun to do, it can become a little disorientating and would be a disaster if you couldnt pause the game and make strategical decisions, but thankfully you can. One problem I always had with Earth 2150 was that when fully zoomed in, your vision was very limited and you could hardly see anything in front of you. Alas the problem is still there with Frontline Attack.
As well as the mandatory campaigns for each of the forces there is also a skirmish mode for you to participate in. There are 15 maps that offer a wide range of variation for you to do battle on. There is also an Internet/LAN multiplayer mode for you to battle against 7 other opponents. Whilst resource management isnt really part of the campaigns, it is in some missions though and it's certainly part of the multiplayer and skirmish modes. You begin a multiplayer or skirmish mode with a factory and placing a man inside it will enable you to gain resources that you can use to purchase vehicles, units etc. Beware though because if you lose these factories then they are not replaceable and your funds will be permanently cut off, so it is of paramount importance that these structures are guarded at all costs.
Frontline Attack is very deaf gamer friendly with a few exceptions. When under attack there is an air siren noise that doesnt have any visual clues and there is also an enemy approaching verbal warning that is not subtitled but in every other respect the game is fine. All the missions briefings are given in text as well as speech and along with the mission goals can be recalled at any time during the game. The usual unit comments that are made when you give them orders are not subtitled, like in most RTS games but this isnt really a problem.
Frontline Attack is a very competent RTS that will appeal to you if you like WWII based RTS games. Its obviously going to be compared to games such as Sudden Strike II but I think that it is sufficiently different in style to make such a comparison unfair. I have honestly enjoyed the game but there are one or two niggles with the game. Unlike most RTS games they have decided to use the left mouse button to give orders to your units, instead of the traditional right click, and this is just plain confusing and leads to you deselecting your units more often than not. You also have to right click on the mini-map to move to a location, which is also strange. The 3D nature of the game also takes some getting used to, especially to avoid disorientating yourself, which is all too easy to do. Apart from these few niggles though what we have here is a very solid RTS game that is well worth a look.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10 A solid WWII based RTS.
Deaf Gamers comment: Some little niggles but no real problems here.