War games allow new generations of players to learn something about history. Despite some critics claiming that war games trivialize horrible tragedies into simple, mindless entertainment, war games have the potential to garner interest through a modern and more enticing medium.
Developed by French video game company Eugen Systems and published by Swedish video game Paradox Interactive Steel Division: Normandy 44 lets players take the seat of a commander with their own fleet. Eugen Systems have developed titles like the Wargame series and R.U.S.E. while Paradox Interactive focused on publishing strategy games with historical accuracy, economical complexity and technological advancement. They are known for publishing games such as the Hearts of Iron series, Pillars of Eternity and Cities: Skylines.
Steel Division: Normandy 44 is a real-time strategy video game that features 400 historically accurate infantry units and vehicles of war. Taking place during the height of World War II, this game revolves around the Invasion of Normandy in France. After series of an overnight aerial raid, air strikes and naval gunfire, Western Allied forces established their beachhead on the northern coasts of Western Europe. They were winning against the Nazi Germany as Western Allied forces launched Operation Overlord.
Players can select between factions Allied Forces or Germans Steel Division: Normandy 44 offers different modes for players to try. Boot Camp teaches beginners the fundamentals of the game.
According to Cultured Vulture on June 13, 2017, Single-player campaign comes with 2 Allied forces campaigns and one German campaign. Each campaign has 4 challenging missions.
Multiplayer mode lets players test their tactical skills against each other. They can host matches in 10 vs 10 ranked battles. Players level up upon winning matches.
MOD Center caters some of the mods from the community who wishes to tweak the game.
In Paradox Interactive’s official website, some of the available units and vehicles in the game are the American 101st Airborne, the 3rd Canadian Division of 1944 and the German armored 21st Panzer. Players can either select pre-made military divisions based on actual divisions or customize their own battlegroup.
Each campaign comes in three phases with a time limit. The game emulates how real-world armies moved at that time since some of the units become only available over time. This factor also affects the dynamic theater of war. As phases go by, players have to strategize like forcing a retreat, pushing the front line or initiate well-timed ambushes. First phase begins with assigning locations for firing position and sending off light infantry units. The other following phases involve deploying stronger units such as tanks and airplanes while considering the available resources left. Players can decide whether they assault the enemies at the beginning or wait patiently for the bigger guns.
The game emphasizes that firepower, zerging or blitzing are not the only keys to victory. Some units are stronger or weaker against enemy units. Important factors such as pre-battle unit formation, dealing with lost units, countering enemy units, managing limited resources and dominating the battlefield.
Each unit has their characteristics. Units have stress meter and if it gets full, they will be pinned down like sitting ducks. They may surrender if their morale dropped and overwhelmed by surrounding enemies. Pinned down units can be saved and retreat to a safer spot by initiating fallback command. Enemy units with full stress can be captured. Ground units are limited to the maps’ terrain like hedges, fences, buildings and roads.
This game is powered by Eugen’s IRISZOOM engine where players can survey the theater of war in bird’s eye view or through a ground unit’s point of view.
Rather than focusing on the action-packed gunplay of World War II, the game takes players on the commander’s seat where a division’s life depends on careful decisions. This could affect the tides of war.
Players will know that time and dedication was given at the conception of this game because the units looked very detailed and accurate. Eugen Systems claimed that they designed the maps based on the actual aerial reconnaissance photos during the invasion of Normandy. Players can either re-enact strategies from World War II or develop new tactics that could surprise any oppositions.