Squad Assault: West Front
places you in France during WWII as either the Axis or Allies as you push towards victory during the West Front conflict. The game features 9 campaigns in which you'll have to take command of troops and complete various objectives such as breaking enemy lines, controlling bridges or capturing enemy territory. In order to accomplish your goals, you'll have access to a vast array of troops, tanks and other military equipment. At the beginning of each mission you are give a resource pool of equipment and troops to select from. Each of these troops has distinct abilities that can help you during the upcoming scenario, so you'll have to select which troops best suit your mission. However, this isn't as cut and dry as it seems. One of the better aspects of the game is that some troops are versatile and can cover multiple roles, some can't -- so it's up to you to plan a strategy and see which suits your strategy best. I had few complaints about the game's layout, at least after I actually played through the training missions like I cared and spent some time with the instructions. This is not a game you can simply jump into and begin playing. Troop management is a little tricky, as is the game's camera system. The number of moves each troop class can perform is a little dizzying at first, especially when you throw in non-traditional movements like 'Move Cautiously'. This isn't a game where you can just rush the opponents and win. Instead you'll have to think out your actions, assess the situation and plan accordingly. Successfully commanding your troops does come with rewards. Although the obvious one is that your troops will live, your troops will also gain a psychological morale advantage during the fight. If a platoon is doing really well, they begin to fight better. However, this works both ways, so if you allow your troops to get pinned down in an area or suffer heavy casualties, you'll have a hard time keeping your guys in the fight.
Of the variety of troop movement options included in the game, I felt a few important ones were left out. Troops cannot be separated individually, which means you can't leave a small battalion behind to watch your back. This also restricts your scouting options since you are forced to send out an entire platoon to see if there are enemies over the next ridge.
Aside from the game's single-player campaign, Squad Assault also features the option to create your own maps and scenarios. Squad Assault also offers the option to play multiplayer games either over LAN or by going to www.wargamer.com. Here you can register and find other people to play via email.