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Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online

Score: 55%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Tri Synergy
Developer: Cornered Rat
Media: Download/1
Players: MMO
Genre: First Person Shooter/ MMORPG/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

Cornered Rat Software made its first attempt at a massive multiplayer, first person shooter title around five solid years ago with WWII Online. The game provided a huge continuous world that was a quarter scale the size of Europe. Europe is a big place to be running around if you don't have clear guidance on where to go and what to do. This, joined with several bugs and a rapidly declining player base, led to a hasty retreat from the MMO scene. Well, they have regrouped, rearmed, and are on the move again with Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online.

By toning down the scale a little bit, they have greatly increased gameplay speed. They have also added some new vehicles and made many of the models cleaner and more beautiful. The terrain is still sparse and open, but great improvements can be seen.

There is no soundtrack to speak of. As in war, there is the epic base drums of explosions and gunfire as well as the occasional fly over. But mostly, the soundtrack is your mind's own monologue saying, "Where the hell is everybody and where in the hell am I going?" The sound effects are as realistic as can be achieved. However, for the true simulation, you would have to have a head set turned on and so loud it would deafen you. I know that simulation and immersion was a goal, but causing your players to go deaf is not a great marketing scheme.


Anyone ever in or around the military understands the fundamentals of hurry up and wait. So there you are. Hurry up and download your game. Now wait. You go to play your game and you are directed to Play.net. Once you have figured out what to do here, now hurry up and register. Now wait and get your log in. Hurry up to log in. Now wait for all of the patches. Hurry up and get through the large, intensive and counter-intuitive front end. Now, finally you have chosen who you are. You have figured out whose side you are on. You have figured out what role you are to play in your military. You find someplace on a map where there is action. Now don't forget the last wait. What are you waiting for? Action. Unless you have chosen to defend an area where the enemy is coming to you - then, you are going to find yourself on a very long walk. Sure there are transports, but only when there are enough people playing.

As you move through Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online, you will find the standard fare of W,A,S,D along with crouching and prone positions. And, as with any other first person shooter, while you are a grunt in the field - simply aim, click, kill. It will, however, give you an opportunity to dust off the old flight stick that has made its home on your game shelf. As I said before, the models are beautiful and flying the planes is an awesome experience. However, learning to get them off the ground and then back down again, without killing yourself, is an entirely different matter.

With the Navy being one of your options, you have the opportunity to manuever several different types of battleships along the waterways. Or, as I did a few times, into the shore. All of the vehicles call for a good level of precision and handling to control them properly. It is easy to overcorrect and put yourself in tight spots with any of the vehicles. There were no automatic transmissions then, and there sure as hell aren't any in the game now. Shifting, and thusly remembering to shift, is a multi-key process you will need to master quickly.

There is a ranking system that will push you through three armies, three branches and many careers. As you advance, you will be given the ability to manage war time resources, effect supply lines and become an officer on or off the front lines.


Keep in mind that Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online is as much a simulation as it is a first person shooter. You are going to spend at least two to three hours out of the game reading manuals and watching tutorials. An understanding of basic military terminology and tactics is a must. This is not a "hop in and have fun right off the bat" simulator. Unless you know exactly how everything works, you are not going to be able to easily maneuver your keyboard enough to get anywhere. You will feel very much like a fish out of water in the beginning, but don't panic; it will get easier. If you enjoy complex, immersive, challenging and patient gameplay, then this is your game.

Game Mechanics:

In Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online, I felt many times that the control scheme was not very intuitive for each of the vehicles I was operating. Throttle controls for planes were not as clearly assigned to the arrow keys or number pad where you might think to see them. They almost purposely went away from what is a highly accepted control scheme in first person shooters and vehicle operation. I would put this game up against a lot of the first simulator games that were developed, when it felt like a competition to see who could use the most buttons on a keyboard. I would have to say that they were more than able to put together a WWII simulator that has a very deep and rich historical gameplay.

I will say, however, that due to the current number of people in Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online at any one time (or lack thereof), it can be a very lonely experience. There is an extremely loyal and hard-working fan base to this game, but it is small. Although it is appealing in its intensity as an MMO, it just falls short of the mark as fun and entertaining. I can get better gameplay from other games. I can achieve a better understanding for the history of WWII from other avenues as well. I can even get my vehicle simulation from a more comprehensive source. The attempt to combine all three was noble, ambitious, and welcomed. This time, however, Battlegrounds Europe: WWII Online has been defeated.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/2000/XP, 1.2 GHz CPU (2 GHz Recommended), 512 MB RAM (1 GB Recommended), 128 MB 3D Video Card, 1 GB Free Hard Drive Space, Windows-compatible Mouse (Joystick recommended for pilots), Direct Sound-compatible Audio Card, DirectX 9.0+

Apple OS X (v10.4+), Apple Macintosh G4 1.2GHz+ CPU, 512 MB RAM (1 GB Recommended), 128 MB 3D Video Card (OpenGL v1.2 Compliant), 1 GB Free Hard Drive Space, USB Joystick recommended for pilots, Compatible Audio Card

56k Modem or High Speed Internet Access Monthly subscription (first month free) REQUIRES Internet Access


Test System:

Windows XP Pro, 3.2 GHz P4HT CPU, 1 GHz Ram, 256 PCIE 16 ATI X300

Macintosh DROD (Deadly Rooms of Death): Journey to Rooted Hold Sony PlayStation Portable Mega Man Maverick Hunter X

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated