If you are a fan of old-school strategy games (such as Age of Empires), Men of War might be a very nice change of scenery for you. If you have already made a step into the world of strategy games similar to Men of War - this game is a must play for you! This game, co-developed by Best Way and Digitalmindsoft and published by the famous 1C company, has received much praise from gamers all around the world - and there is a very good reason for that. I would like to note that I won a digital copy of this game through a contest by Attila16, so I really am thankful to him for getting me into such a masterpiece through his gameplay videos, commentaries and of course the contest.
Moving on from the credits, I want to bring out the most important thing I liked about Men of War - the micromanagement. Hell for some, and heaven for the others, I must say that I am a big fan of different micromanagement games. Therefore, when I discovered that every unit, vehicle and box on the map (and there were hundreds of those on the map!) had it's own inventory with weapons, explosives, ammunition, equipment etc, there was no end to my happiness. Throughout the game you get so many chances to transfer items from one inventory to another, keeping your own strategies and plans in mind, that you might even star to hate it in the end.
Talking about hating, the game is sometimes very frustrating. Hundreds of re-loads, hitting the 'Exit' button and 'Start' after some time - you will encounter all of those. Don't get too pessimistic yet though, because if you try hard enough, you will eventually get the result you want (or the game, in this case). I admit that I went beyond the medium difficulty on only three levels, so I cannot really say the game is impossible to complete - on the settings I played it is perfectly manageable, even though you might waste days on a single map. Nevertheless, you should definitely try it out on all the settings, if you decide to get it.
A bit about the gameplay now. There are four different campaigns to play throughout the game: Soviet, German, USA and Bonus. For the first three of these, you get to manage the forces of the particular nations, as the campaign names state. The last one - 'Bonus' - has missions from all the three nations, and they are in no way related to each other (other than being based on real WW II events). Most of the mission are in the Soviet campaign, German and USA being slightly shorter. All nations have different history-based equipment and missions. There are also different types of missions - stealth, invasion and defence. As the name says, stealth missions require you to quietly infiltrate/eliminate enemy soldiers without being noticed. If you are noticed - the guards will trigger an alarm and heavy reinforcements will arrive. Even if that DOES happen, it is still perfectly possible to finish the game with a victory - although being quite a big more difficult, as you might be up against 5+ tanks coming your way. The invasion (as I thought of the name to give it) is pretty much the same as stealth, but without the difficulty of trying to stay out of enemy sight. Usually you have more soldiers under your command and there are much more enemies waiting for you. The defence missions, which were by far the most frustrating for me, require you to stay alive for a given amount of time. First you are given a few minutes to prepare your large artillery/infantry army and put everyone in position. You can plant land-mines in some missions. At first, a defence mission seems rather easy due to the seemingly huge amount of troops you have, but don't be mistaken! The first few minutes of enemy attacks are easy to repel - everything goes according to your plans. Then, suddenly all the plans start to shatter one after another and the battle turns into a hopeless attempt to hold the positions. The you (talking about myself) re-load and re-load and re-load until finally you manage to hold off the attack and just as the enemy breaks through, the mission is accomplished (be it train ready to leave or something else).
Men of War is also a very beautiful game. There is so much detail in the environments - everything that is on the map can be used for your advantage. Every object provides cover and modifies the effects of an attack. If you are unhappy about how AI manages your unit's shooting or movements, you have the chance to take the matters into your own hands by enabling manual management for a single unit - moving by keyboard, aiming with mouse etc. There's even the precision of shots in this game!
I really can't find a flaw in my favourite game of all times - no matter how much I try. I consider this game to be almost faultless and it certainly deserves all the praise it has received in the 3 years since the release. Even if you have completed it, there's the multiplayer (although buggy and extremely laggy) and expansions keep being released even to this day, including the Red Tide, Assault Squad and Vietnam which are out right now. If you are a strategy game fan, definitely try this one out and I really hope you will not regret!