PARADOX INTERACTIVE, $39.99
WORLD WAR II RATING: 5/5
THE BASICS: Steel Division puts players in command of various task forces on assigned missions during the Normandy Campaign. Players will also control squads and vehicles, and can even play as other nationalities, including the Germans. An online multiplayer mode allows players to work in teams to compete with others.
THE OBJECTIVE: Varies. Players can be tasked with capturing a key crossroads, linking up airborne units with ground forces, or launching a counterattack. The missions are not the exact operations conducted during Normandy, but these slight deviations are an asset, as it would be too easy to win by implementing the same tactics used in history.
HISTORICAL ACCURACY: Steel Division excels beyond most games in terms of realism and historical accuracy. Soldiers are authentically rendered, and tanks even throw up dirt as their tracks move. Players must also choose from real wartime strategies in order to win. For instance, players may need to help an infantry squad suppress fire from machine guns in order to take a position or cross open terrain. Game visuals are highly detailed; players can enjoy close-up views of all the fighting. Radio chatter and wartime songs add to the appeal.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: Steel Division does a lot of things well. It combines smooth gameplay with realism. There is little to critique except that, somewhat ironically, the game’s design doesn’t allow for the beautiful graphics to be fully appreciated. Zooming in to watch squads and vehicles fighting in a village or in the woods is entertaining, but players will be so engrossed controlling units and making decisions that they won’t be able to enjoy the visuals.
PLAYABILITY: This game is fun and easy to play. Between the selection of various armies and multiple missions, it will take a long time before players have explored every option. Warning: this is not a first-person shooter type game. It is fast-paced and requires a lot of quick thinking and strategy. Building your force and deploying units will prove to be just as important as fighting.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Steel Division will satisfy players who want to fight the Normandy Campaign on a tactical level. You may not be fighting the exact battles from history, but the overall realism and accuracy are so good you won’t care and you’ll just enjoy the fight! —Chris Ketcherside, a former Marine, is working on a PhD in military history.
—Chris Ketcherside, a former Marine, is working on a PhD in military history.
This review was originally published in the December 2017 issue of World War II magazine. Subscribe here.