Strategy games are a key genre in the video game world, and many titles try and reinvent the wheel with them, making them bigger, grander, having you control massive armies to ramp up the difficulty. When sometimes, the best way to go about it is just to make a really good tactical experience that pushes for strategy above brute force, and that’s exactly what Attrition: Tactical Fronts does very well. This new game on Steam brings a more classic approach to strategy gameplay, but does unique things in other areas.
So, what does Attrition: Tactical Fronts do? Well, it blends very classic army tactical gameplay with crisp graphics and maps that are truly a part of the game. Sometimes you see strategy games only do certain things to make the map feel more alive, here, it basically has them all. There’s Fog of War, certain terrain inhibits your movements, some can heighten your units vision, some areas enhance defense, and some will stop you dead in your tracks if you step in them. It’s a testament to making a good strategy game that there are multiple ways to use the map to your advantage.
Naturally, that doesn’t even talk about the units in the game. Attrition: Tactical Fronts brings classic Army units into the mix, with Infantry soldiers, mortars, artillery, tanks, and more. And there’s even some specialty units like Calvary, Marksmen, Gatling guns, and many other clever additions. This wide base will give you plenty of ways to strategize as you try and make it through every battle.
For those who start out the game fresh, you’ll definitely want to try out the Campaign Mode, this mode gives you 17 missions to help you learn all the basics and advanced tactics of the game, then put you in difficult challenges to help refine your skill. And depending on the mission, you’ll either need to kill all enemies or kill a certain amount to achieve victory. While not the longest campaign, it does bring the challenges. What’s more, if you’re still new to the genre, the game gives a great tutorial that onlines pretty much everything you need to know in order to play the game effectively.
I’m somewhat of a veteran when it comes to strategy/tactics games like this one, and even I had to change my viewpoint at times to win some of these maps. Which is a good thing!
Every map is different and offers a very different situation to what you were in before. In one case, my army was outnumbered, and the only thing defending us were several machine gun nests and a few artillery guns. At first, I didn’t think I could win it, but careful use of strategy and clever moments allowed me to succeed, much to my relief. In contrast, one map I didn’t pay attention to the number of units my enemy had to kill to win, and because of that, I got careless, and lost. The game can be unforgiving if you let it…so don’t let it.
Now, once you’re done with the main campaign, you’ll find there’s still quite a lot for you to do, especially in proving that you are the best commander out there. If you feel you need more practice, there’s a “Random Skirmish” mode that will take you to a procedurally generated map and see how well you can pick your units not knowing what’s coming.
Then, if you still need more of a challenge, you can take the fight online and battle both friends and players around the world. Which will no doubt excite many as they try and prove their strategy is better than others.
Still not enough? Well, Attrition: Tactical Fronts has a custom map creator and editor, where you can make your own maps then upload them to the Steam Workshop for others to try out. Or, you can try out some of theirs, whatever comes first. There’s a lot of options here for you to choose from.
Now, that being said, there are some drawbacks to the game. First, while the units are very detailed, it can sometimes be easy to confuse what some of them can and can’t do. For example, there was one anti-armor unit and a regular vehicle unit that’s easy to mix up, and if you’re not paying attention, it can hurt you in the long run. Second, in combat, it’s sometimes hard to tell just how much health a character has as it seems as though bullet fire and bombardment fire take away different healths. This got us frustrated at times as we felt we they were dead, and yet had another health bar of sorts waiting for us.
Furthermore, in many missions, we were told to pick out units to bring to the field, giving us a certain amount of points to do so, yet when we arrived on the battlefield, there was already units awaiting us. This was very confusing, and what’s more, we wish we knew what units we already had so we could’ve selected ones based on what we had in the field.
As for the map editor, there’s no real tutorial for it, we felt this was very odd as map editing can be very difficult, and just messing around with this one, we wish there was a tutorial for it like the one we had for the gameplay section of the title.
An oddity we noticed was that although the game had music in the main screen and certain other areas, there wasn’t one during the in-game battles. As a guy who likes music in many games wherever I go, this felt really odd. It didn’t take away from the game per se, but it would’ve added drama for sure at times.
All that being said, Attrition: Tactical Fronts was still a very fun tactical strategy game, and if you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll likely get a big kick out of the maps, units, and different ways you can play the game.