By Joseph Luster
Countless shooters have attempted to capture the essence of World War II in their campaigns, and each has gone about it in a slightly different way. The straight-up massively-multiplayer angle has certainly been attempted, but it’s still rare to see that level of ambition coupled with historical subject matter. This is set to change with Enlisted, an upcoming squad-based shooter with a focus on some of the war’s most important battles on a massive scale.
Publisher: Gaijin Entertainment
Available: Now (Alpha)
Using the Dagor Engine—which is Gaijin Entertainment’s own technology previously implemented in games like popular flight and ground vehicle combat MMO War Thunder—Enlisted promises dynamic skies and water and other huge, detailed spaces. Rather than honing in on vehicles like War Thunder, however, Enlisted is all about the soldiers at the heart of the conflict. If everything goes according to plan, the devs behind the project should have around 120 to 150 soldiers participating in a single battle. While this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be that many players—participants will be able to lead their own squad of AI-controlled soldiers—it does provide a sense of the scale being attempted here.
One of the aspects that sets Enlisted apart from your average WWII shooter, however, is its attempt at expanding the goals typically associated with combat. Many similarly styled games go for straightforward competition that pits one side against the other in score- or kill-based contests. Enlisted wants to skew its goals more toward experiencing a day in a soldier’s boots. Thus, the actual scenarios and goals will be more in line with the type of objectives soldiers had in actual warfare. Exactly what those individual objectives are remains to be completely seen, but hopefully the team at Darkflow Software continues to approach the WWII shooter from a novel perspective.
As for the level of historical accuracy involved, it seems as if the folks behind Enlisted are willing to go about as far as they can while still making sure it’s actually fun to play. Recreating real battles is the focal point, but they don’t want to get too bogged down in the realism involved with the battlefield itself. That means you can look forward to showdowns that are rooted in, but not too closely glued to, the way they went down in the history books. You’ll be an integral part of a unit carrying out a crucial objective, but there will be a balance between speed and dynamism that leans closer to arcade thrills than simulation-style activities.
At the time of this writing, Enlisted still has its work cut out for it. The team is gathering crowdfunding for what will likely be a free-to-play final product, and that type of infrastructure takes a very specific approach to development. We’ll check back in once the game is out of Alpha and see what type of historical battles made it through to the relatively-final cut.
Hell Let Loose
Publisher: Black Matter
Available: Q2 2018
Speaking of historical accuracy, that’s one of the chief goals of a new game called Hell Let Loose. Developed by a small independent team and powered by Unreal Engine 4, this teamwork-based shooter emphasizes communication and playing roles within the platoon for maximum effectiveness. As a result, survival becomes the name of the game along with a focus on historically accurate tactics, armor, weapons, and logistics.
The first theater of war to be featured in Hell Let Loose takes players to the Norman countryside in the early stages of 1944’s Operation Overlord. One of the most attractive features is the sheer scale captured in this and other maps that are currently in the works. According to the devs at Black Matter, it takes approximately 15 minutes to cross the Norman countryside map on foot. The surroundings include a mix of small villages, dense woodland, winding canals, and open countryside, offering up a bunch of different strategic possibilities along the way.
The battles themselves will be waged with more than 16 true-to-life rifles, machine guns, and pistols, all of which come with their own realistic limitations. From jamming to overheating and other aspects of weapon limitations, the goal is to get as close to mimicking real issues without making said limitations too overbearing or annoying. All said, there are currently 14 playable roles that come equipped with their own unique weapons and other combat-ready items such as mines, mortars, and antitank measures.
Beyond settings and weapons, Hell Let Loose is split up into three key levels of warfare: Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. The first involves taking on the role of Commander and deciding on adaptive strategies for your ground forces. Call upon reinforcements and supplies and send in outside strikes to properly respond to the ever-changing field of battle. Operational duties consist of establishing supply lines to bolster forces, and Tactical roles include setting up observation posts and garrisons before settling on the appropriate course of action for each situation.
Hell Let Loose is another WWII shooter with great ambitions. With two teams of 50 players each facing off against one another on the battlefield, the creation of this small team has a great deal of potential bubbling at its core. Black Matter is comprised of self-proclaimed World War II enthusiasts working on a game they want to play themselves, so we’ll see how that pans out when Hell Let Loose hits Steam Early Access in Q2 2018.