Iron Front: Liberation 1944 took us to the Eastern Front of World War 2, the horrific and brutal conflict that ultimately sealed the fate of the Third Reich, and foreshadowed the dawn of the Cold War. Now, though, Deep Silver and X1 Software take us on a merry journey through the lighter side of World War 2. D-Day (which as we all know stands for Dwnage Day) was that great moment in history when the good folk of the United States of England defeated the entire armed forces of the world, and France.
Admittedly, my history might be a little shaky, but I’m pretty sure it all kicks off with us fighting them on the beaches, or something like that. And so does Iron Front: D-Day. There are a ton of interesting new scenario maps, chiefly an Omaha Beach level that sees you piling out of a landing craft into that familiar hail of gunfire in probably the most oft-repeated level in videogame history.
Questionably selected beach holidays aside, the main thing that this DLC offers is a whole new bunch of soldiers, tanks, and hardware for sprucing up the editor in the creation of your own scenarios. Yay for the Allies! And there are plenty of new tools for war-fighting here. A lot of the fun of Iron Front is creating cool custom scenarios, and new armies are definitely the way to go for the devs. It would seem that they know their Sun Tzu – ‘reward success and starve failure’ is a commendable maxim, and they seem to have abandoned their problematic campaign modes in favour of more focus on single-map scenarios and tools for the editor – stuff that people can actually use in multiplayer.
The maps themselves are pretty good. The Omaha Beach map stretches for miles in all directions, allowing for a number of completely different scenarios to play out on the same map. This is a good example to would-be scenario builders: you don’t need to use the whole map for a game if you just want to line up a mini-front somewhere and have at it. Of course, this time it’s the French bocage for the most part, familiar territory to anyone who’s played a lot of World War 2 games – and we must suspect that this describes the Iron Front crowd. Sherman tanks crash through hedgerows and snipers prowl around tumbledown barnyards in search of foes.
In terms of playability, it’s more Iron Front. The devs chose not to take this opportunity to patch the problems from the original game – although perhaps the release of DLC isn’t the most appropriate time to be repairing the core game. The direction the developers are taking is apparent, though – more armies, more maps and more options for players. They’re listening to their community as well – the fans screamed that they wanted a Tiger I tank for the German army, and the devs delivered in this DLC pack. The Tiger features in one of the pre-written scenarios, as well, that casts you as the commander of a column of the German monster tanks as you try to stop Allied Shermans breaking through – although sadly, in my playthrough, the Shermans bumbled around ineffectively while I parked my tank in their midst and finished them off.
Iron Front is flawed. It’s the sad truth. But this DLC shows that the game’s heading in the right direction. The core game, and by extension the DLC, would certainly benefit from another patch, but if you’re already enjoying this hardcore military ARMA 2-based WW2 shooter already, D-Day is an easy recommendation.