A Tribute Fit For A General
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Through the years I have played quite a few of The History Channel's games, so I know what to expect from them in terms of quality and historic accuracy. But I have to admit that General George S. Patton is one of my favorite historical figures of all time, so I was really excited about this one. Being able to fight the legendary general's campaigns is one thing, but to actually become him, growing as a commander and seeing how that influences the direction of his lauded Third Army, is not something that any buff could, or should, pass up.
From a storyline standpoint the game is amazing. You begin as the newly arrived general, and follow Patton's European campaign from August 1944 in the west of France as you strike out towards Nazi Germany. Overall, there are four major operations to conquer, with 21 separate and completely different missions. You will be attacking, infiltrating, defending and even sabotaging in this turn-based strategic and tactical gem.
As you play, Patton will earn two types of experience, prestige and skill points. These are granted depending on how well you complete each battle. A minor victory will earn you just a little, while a heroic victory will give you the maximum points. Prestige is what you think it probably is: Patton's ability to divert limited resources to the Third Army ahead of others, and over the objections of other commanders who want upgrades for themselves. You use prestige to recruit new units, or to upgrade units that are getting behind the times, like changing a light tank platoon into a medium one. If you play your cards right, eventually Third Army will be filled with not only infantry and armor, but also special units like snipers, commandos, fighters, artillery and bombers, all of which can work toward victory. Skill points are used to enhance individual units, giving them special characteristics that can help turn the tide of battle in certain circumstances. Both are vitally important to your overall success.
This is a great idea because it gives a lot of in-depth details and information about Patton's historical strategic supremacy. It also means there is plenty of room for replays, trying different things. If you concentrated on air support in one game, you might try upgrading and getting more commandos in another to see which is more effective overall.
Units too earn experience points as they battle, which is represented by one to five battle stars. The more stars, the tougher the unit overall. Some can even earn medals for bravery, which really improves their stats. The only negative is that you need to be very careful with your veteran units. A fully upgraded veteran unit is more valuable than five times as many green recruits, fighting well beyond their numbers. But it also means that you can't throw them away. Their loss would be felt big time, making all future operations that much more difficult.
The gameplay is smooth, with excellent controls that are easy to use. There is a very nice tutorial at the beginning of the game that shows you how to play, and how to manage your assets and experience points. It's surprising how many war games ship without a good tutorial, or without one at all. So I was really happy to find a good one here. The game is moderately difficult to play. The German Army won't make it easy on you. But at least you can concentrate on fighting them and not wrestling with the interface.
In terms of graphics, everything looks great. When I started playing, it was the first thing I noticed. Not just the way the game looks overall, but the individual details on the soldier's uniforms are impressive, and historically accurate, a must for a game backed by The History Channel. And even the soldier's faces look real. Another thing that stood out to me was the buildings and other surroundings, which again, seem to be modeled after real places.
I was also impressed with the audio of Patton. The soldiers' commands were easy to understand even as they yelled them in the heat of battle. I could also hear which direction we were taking fire from, even if I couldn't see the attacker. Gunfire sounds realistic, and are probably actual sound files from period weapons being discharged. Plus, it sounded like a battlefield, really pulling me into the experience. Overall, the authenticity of the sound is incredible, something any gamer will appreciate.
The enjoyment you get out of Patton really depends on what type of gamer you are. If you're someone who enjoys strategy games, this most certainly is the title for you. While the average gamer can enjoy Patton, the difficulty should not be underestimated. Patton definitely makes you think, because each solider needs to be strategically placed in order to complete the mission and to avoid a mass amount of casualties. Fighting World War II wasn't an easy task, and it will take all of your strategic talent to win it for the Allies here. And a smartly spent set of prestige and skill points will help out too.
Overall, I think this is one of the finest games backed by The History Channel in their entire lineup. Developer Maximum Games did an amazing job presenting us with a strategy wargame that is both enjoyable and historically accurate. And the fact that it runs great on the PC, and on consoles (this was reviewed mostly using the Xbox 360 version) is impressive too. There are not very many great strategy titles for consoles, but History Legends Of War: Patton is one of them.
Patton definitely impressed me with its strategic excellence and attention to detail. Being the history buff that I am, I expected big things from the game, and it certainly didn't disappoint. I think that Patton himself would definitely be impressed with this title. As such, it earns 4.5 GiN Gems out of 5, for being a nearly perfect strategic and tactical masterpiece.
Jordan Smith loves any game that has to do with sports, fighting, or any high-octane action title.