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Win This Game With More Than Bullets

By Ryan Burke 
Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: July 30, 2010 
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The first Making History, which came out in 2007, was a grand strategy game developed as an educational tool for exploring various countries' motivations during World War II. Making History II expands on that experience by showing players that victors are determined both through battlefield combat, and economics. Gamers who love blasting enemy forces on the ground will likely find the game's micromanagement tedious, but grand strategists and history buffs will enjoy exploring this fresh view of the war.

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As its name implies, Making History II allows the player to explore numerous "what if" scenarios, changing how the war played out and altering history. Each of the 80 nations and over 800 regions playable in the game features historically accurate characteristics, such as economic and military strengths, diplomatic relations with other countries, political ideology, and potential for technological advancement. In addition to managing basic functions, such as your nation's resources, you'll also manage more complex factors. For example, if you flood the market with goods to drive down prices, other countries  may question your unethical business  practices and decline to trade with you. You will also have to create new infrastructure to expand your economic potential or add specific military capabilities to your forces.

Making History II presents a detailed and realistic global economy, the closest thing to the real-life world market I've ever seen in a video game. It's worth noting that the game's developers enlisted the aid of renowned economic historian and distinguished Harvard professor Niall Ferguson. All economic factors were painstakingly researched to reflect the historical characteristics of each nation and region. And that focus on economics is a fresh take on the strategy game experience, providing insight into why certain countries acted the way they did during the war.

Aside from the economic perspective and World War II setting, Making History II doesn't offer much more than other strategy games. And in the end, I did not find the game that fun to play. Still, Making History II is easy to appreciate; it provides a wealth of information not normally included in a strategy game, and is very well done overall.


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