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  Iron Front: Liberation 1944 - review  

Welcome to the Eastern Front!
You are Karl Neumann, a recruit of the German Wehrmacht, who has to be able to immediately fight against the Russian colossus, that comes closer and closer every day to the German troops.
After a short briefing you have to show your best at a training camp.
Of course Karl succesfully complete the camp exercises and is sent to the front without any further notice.
He sees how unfair the war is, his commander - a coward who is already on the run from the Russians - lets Karl and the rest of his troop look straight into the eye of death.
After their lieutenant is killed, they are on their own, they don't even get support from the other Germans units.
In the end he manages to get himself and his fellow soldiers to safety, back to the German lines and because of this he is promoted to lieutenant and gets his own troop...

This is how the German campaign "Vaterland" begins: Fast, Intense, Authentic.

You don't see many WWII games where you can play a campaign from the eyes of a German soldier.
Iron Front: Liberation 1944 has changed this fact. You can experience the war from an other sight.
Usually you have to play Americans or Russians and fight against Germans who are just depicted as "beasts, killers, Nazis or cowards". Iron Front shows how the "little soldiers" of both sides felt the reality of war: embittering, frightening, wondering about the sense of war and they have seen how corrupt and cowardly their chiefs were, may them be from the Allied forces or from the Axis.

But Iron Front is not a movie but a game, so we have to talk now about the main points of it:


Iron Front has two campaigns, one from each side of the forces fighting each other to death : German and Russian.
Both are showing a nice and enthralling story, many cut scenes and nice story-intros.
But unfortunately the campaigns, as in many previous ArmA games, includes most of the bugs players will encounter. Sometimes the AI is brainless, sometimes the game doesn't notice that you are already sitting in the SdKfz and in the end you have no other choice but to restart the mission. Luckily the most bugs are already fixed with the latest patches.
However if you have patched the game you have the same problem we had in ArmA once again : You have to restart the mission because of incompatibility between versions.

Single Player Missions:

The games only have two SP missions supplied.

In the first you have to attack Russian forces with a German aircraft. This missions was, before the patch, unplayable due to the game always crashing after starting the mission. After the patch it runs great except you now have to fly a Fw-190 instead of a Stuka.

In the second mission you control German tanks in order to overpower Russian positions. And again, while it usually run okay, sometimes a bug will prevent you to complete the mission, which can be infuriating.

These two missions are not very breathtaking, but are nice to play when you just want a quick game.
Following this letdown we have to focus on the main strength of the -OFP/Arma/Arma2- serie, the well known ...

Mission Editor.

Thanks to the Mission Editor you can create your own missions or just make a fast play with some knowledge about the editor mechanics by placing some units in one of the four terrains, which are big and very nicely detailed areas, including : two Polish and two Ukrainian.
The game also includes up to 35 vehicles and a lot of weapons and units you can use in the editor.


There is not much to tell about the Iron Front graphics here if you already have played ArmA2.
Iron Front uses the Real Virtualy Engine 3 from BIS and it has the same benefits and cons like in ArmA2 :
As cons you have the AI, often playing its own game by firing through grass, bushes and other trees foliages, bad animations (especially the faces), the FPS going very low and it needs very high PC specs to run smoothly (and it's not always the case).
The pros are that the game is an authentic simulation, the weapons and vehicles are well made, and of course your surroundings are always nice to watch.

The sound is something special... The weapons and vehicle sounds are really great. Even though the environment and distance-battle sounds are excellent, the soldier voice acting is not that good, being often similar to a fast talking robot with broken vocal cords.

HUD/Menu/Radio chat

The HUD is similar to the one in ArmA2, not really user friendly, hard to master but when mastered offers plenty of possibilities, same goes to the radio chat. The Menu has a nice look and a in-game clip in the background like ArmA2. One thing is baffling: the fact that there is a button for armory that you can't use and you will probably never be able to use because Deepsilver hasn't got the rights from BIS to integrate the armory known from ArmA2, but they let the buttons on the menu.


Of course, Iron Front is not an ArmA 2 clone: you can switch between iron sight and scope, the tanks have a realistic damage model and 4 positions: driver, commander, gun loader, gunner and you can find many other differences more or less noticeable, but nevertheless the game feels like a mod.

All in all Iron Front can't beat ArmA as the leading combat sim! For beginners it's very hard to come behind the controls, it needs too high system specs and it had the same problem like ArmA2 at its release: unfinished because of too many bugs, graphics failures (textures loading mostly), flawed AI, animations and performances problems.
Of course Iron Front is a great and extensive sim, but it will always stay in the shadows of ArmA 2 and of the free mods released on it.

In short: A great combat sim with a complicated control and too many bugs - maybe it will come out of the shadows after more patches.

Here is the latest trailer of Iron Front (Release Trailer):

-The Multiplayer will be added in time-
  October 3rd, 2012 - 17:02   Comment (0)  

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