Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege is a WWII real-time strategy game from Monte Cristo. Players take command of either the Russian or the German army, and engage in historic battles such as the siege of Stalingrad, the assault on Moscow, and the taking of Berlin. Each mission is intended to offer a historical perspective, by showing the strengths and weaknesses of each side. Computer commanders can attack the enemy using tanks like the T34, and anti-tank aircraft such as the IL2 Sturmovik. The initial release of the game comes packaged with a poster and set of dog tags.
German and Russian forces clash in this WWII strategy game. We can expect to lead the initial Nazi invasion and then take command of the Red war machine as the Soviets desperately fight back.
First thing is that I want to acknowledge how good an engine this game has, with all the nice explosions, fires, smoking craters or gun barrels everything seems to run just fine. With all the settings on high for the full experience I didn't have any trouble, though on closer inspection of units it's not entirely surprising. Zooming in will find a pretty bland detail but from afar, where most will lead the battle anyway, it's no big let down.
I initially thought this would be nothing more than just another WWII out there, with a developer looking to plunder what riches (if any) still remain from this era for the RTS genre. With so many out there it's hard to get noticed unless you offer something so unique or quirky. That forethought aside, I found Moscow to Berlin to be defying my gaming prejudice a little.
Given the array of actual armored vehicles and tanks used by the Germans and the Soviet Union its obvious there's quite the selection here. This extends to weaponry also so if you've got some nasty enemies in a trench then burn them out with some flamethrowers.
Tanks or any armored unit with a weapon is deadly against all infantry and they won't survive long without cover. Of course deploying some bazooka personnel about the place can fix that. Medics and repair vehicles can be a crucial addition to ones squad. If they are set to move freely they will automatically heal and repair around them.
Infantry units come with the ability to go prone (crawl) as well as dig themselves into a trench line for critical defense. All units have two dials above their general commands, one which determines their move status such as hold position or move freely. The other is their firing orders, hold, return or fire at will. These controls are presented easily with the rest of the GUI following suit.
A nice touch is the vehicles themselves, so many other RTS titles tend to overlook their logistics for easier and faster action for the player. Each tank etc must be manned in order to operate at all, and an unoccupied vehicle is fair game. There are considerable rewards to the player for deploying a full crew, such as an extended visual range or better damage dealt bonus.
The tutorial gave me mixed feelings; on the one hand it was informative but it also tended to saturate me with a constant flow of information. Some text that carried no audio voice over even demanded near super human reading ability before it vanished. Overall it lets you mess with the mechanics of the game in a non-threatening environment.
Sounds are spot on from Nazi infantry speaking in German to the boom of artillery and tank fire. While it doesn't exactly immerse you into the battlefield as we'd probably like, the audio options do support the latest sound configurations like EAX4 for example.
So the first mission sees the German invasion of Brest and we need to capture several bridges vital to the thrust into Russia. Starting with a considerable force of both armored vehicles and infantry, the only thing that could stand against you would be concentrated insurgents. Well one method to flush out the enemy is simple, level Brest! You can order your units to open fire on the buildings around you which will see them crumble and fall.
Watching an entire city crack and left with nothing but knee high rumble is quite effective and gives you that extra bad boy feel. Each unit when highlighted has a radius; some even carry three which represent the ranges of certain abilities. Sight being the largest which is sometimes accompanied by the weapon range, though most tanks can fire beyond their sight you can't witness enemy positions, only static objects.
At your disposal at times you'll also be able to use air recon, which is pretty self explanatory. A plane soars overhead and uncovers a targeted area, after you could call an air strike or maybe an artillery barrage. Vehicles themselves can be disabled, should a tanks caterpillars be disabled then is cannot move but can still pack a punch. So if the turret is down, then it can still blaze about the field.
Another nifty AI feature is retreat, if infantry are hopelessly firing against a target they have no real chance of defeating they will fall back and try to escape it's field of vision. Going even further is a surrender chance, so if those same guys keep retreating and can't stand the peril any longer they could very well raise their arms and walk off the battlefield. Naturally there is a danger this could happen to your own troops so always plan with infantry moral in mind.
In the end I found Moscow to Berlin to be an entertaining addition, with a great game engine. Sadly I can't see it breaking out and drawing a huge following simply because the WWII RTS genre has been done to death. As a real-time strategy gamer myself I am pretty sick of seeing cloned titles from that era and being told that "this one" is a huge difference from the last.
People who downloaded Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege have also downloaded:
No Surrender: Battle of the Bulge, No Man's Land, Panzer General 3: Scorched Earth, D-Day, Nemesis of the Roman Empire, Medieval Lords: Build, Defend, Expand, Great Battles of WWII: Stalingrad, Medieval: Total War
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