Men of War: Assault Squad isn’t for the feint hearted nor is it for the casual strategy player. Instead, Men of War: Assault Squad, the latest in a long line of in-depth strategy games.  It is designed for hardcore RTS fans who want to offer themselves the ultimate amount of military control and realistic strategy.

A complete stand-alone expansion to the original and incredibly intricate 2009 title Men of War, Assault Squad is both a graphical and technical refinement of the series well known for it’s intense combat and strategic management as a WWII simulator.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Assault Squad is designed for a niche audience, and it doesn’t make any attempts to try and work for casual audiences (Which is good). The game features a startling amount of both depth and gameplay elements that work extremely well. Destructible environments, a perfect cover system, and almost infinite ways to approach missions make for one of the most varied and realistic strategy titles I’ve ever seen.

Another great feature in Assault Squad that people may not have seen before is the excellent loot system that will allow your soldiers to pick up ammo, weapons, grenades and even the ability to siphon fuel from enemy vehicles to fuel your own. Ammo and grenades need to be closely managed so you don’t run out and firefights are won and lost on the needle tip that is unit management.

Creating devastating ambush scenarios that absolutely destroy your enemies doesn’t mean you will automatically win. Success and victory in Men of War: Assault Squad is something you work for and earn, it’s not handed to you automatically. Even the smallest squad of soldiers can win a battle for you if managed correctly and used to their own advantages.

Most of the RTS games I’ve played of late task you with just getting the maximum technology then proceeding to destroy the enemy base in a big battle. Instead of this, Assault Squad is more so about managing efficiently the few assets you’re afforded, and when you pull off the perfect strategic game it’s an amazing feeling that can’t be replicated in any other game.

However, upon launching up the game I was immediately disappointed. Missing from the menus is an option to do any form of campaign, albeit there is still a single-player mode in the form of Skirmish. That being said, Skirmish feels like an afterthought.  A case of “Shit guys, we forgot to put some non-multiplayer content in!” – however the true gem of Assault Squad and Men of War as a whole lies in the online multiplayer.

Assault Squad was in open beta online from November 2010 leading up to its Februrary 2011 release. The four available game modes feel both balanced and enjoyable, and this is a testament to both the gameplay and methodical period of testing. Something that will also prevent you growing bored of the online play is the fact that there’s forty huge maps available for you to fight across and capture.  The online games are intense, strategic and above all else… fun.

In summary, Men of War: Assault Squad is a highly difficult RTS game with an incredible learning curve. Numerous units, unlimited strategic opportunities and hours of gameplay make for an amazing PC experience hampered only by poor unit path finding and lack of a true single player mode. If you’re a strategy fan you owe it to yourself to play this cult hit.

The Rundown:

+ Most control you will ever get in an RTS game
+ Amazingly involving multiplayer experience
– A more fleshed out tutorial would be great
– Absence of a true single player element is disappointing

Men of War: Assault Squad was developed by Digitalmindsoft and published by 1C Company. Men of War: Assault Squad released on the 25 of Februrary 2011 for $34.99 on the PC. Our copy was provided by the publisher. The game was played on the following system; AMD Phenom x4 Black Edition 955 3.6Ghz, HIS Radeon 6850 1GB DDR5 in CrossFire, 4GB Kingston DDR3, ASUS M4A89GTD PRO.