by James Hart
Want to see how a World War II land war in Japan would’ve played out? How about a Japanese invasion of Australia?
These and other history what-ifs form part of the inspiration behind Slitherine Group’s latest release: Order of Battle: Pacific. Starting with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the turn-based strategy boasts a “dynamic” campaign system that allows players to pursue several alternative history scenarios for the Pacific Theater.
In terms of overall feel, it’s important to point out that members of the dev team hail from Lordz Games Studio and their 1994 hit, Panzer Corps. The gameplay focuses primarily on grand strategy, as players grapple with managing over 500 types of military units, complete with that the team call a “deep but intuitive” supply system. Starter units include the M3 Stuart, Type 97 Chi-Ha, A6M Zero and F4U Corsair fighters, but as the war progresses—and technology develops—new units soon become available. These upgrades include the P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter, “Super Yamato Class” battleships and experimental “Type 100 I/O” heavy tanks.
The variety doesn’t stop at the unit level, though; Order of Battle also allows for Specializations to help players fully customize their forces. Special bonuses and abilities like the Manhattan Project, Banzai Charge and Bushido Code help create a more honed-in strategy to fit your playing style—and the needs for each campaign.
In addition to Specializations, the game also features unlockable special characters: Pilots, Captains and Commanders, each with their own additional bonuses that can come in handy in a fight. But it’s important to use them wisely; says the dev team, “clever use of Commanders can tip the balance in an offensive operation or buy just enough time in defense to turn the tide in your favor.”
Replay value is promising here, especially with its four-person multiplayer support ready right out of the gate. If you’re looking for an immersive strategy title that lets you play around with history a little, definitely give Order of Battle: Pacific a try.