The RTS genre as we know it, or at least the popular perception of it, is dominated by its most traditional efforts, the kind of base-building-then-rush approach seen in everything from Command & Conquer to StarCraft. That’s not the only way to play an RTS, though.
There are games like Company of Heroes that try things a little differently, with greater focus on combat than resources. And then there are games like World in Conflict (RIP) and Wargame, which don’t give a damn about crystals or bases, and just want to give you the sensation of controlling a bunch of units in real-time tactical engagements.
Those games tend to be less popular than their more successful genremates, partly because they end up being harder to play, but also because they end up being pitched more at serious wargamers than casual RTS enjoyers, and can be more fiddly to play thanks to the demands they put on the player (controlling infantry, armour and air units all at once is a headache!). Which probably explains why World in Conflict doesn’t even exist anymore, and why Wargame isn’t exactly a household name.
Here comes Broken Arrow to try it all again, though. Coming to the PC, it’s from Slitherine, a publisher specialising in strategy/wargames, so don’t go expecting a big cinematic, cutscene-filled experience like World in Conflict. What Broken Arrow clearly is trying to do, though, is get the tactical experience right, which it’s showing off in this gameplay video below, highlighting how movement and combined arms operations will work in the game:
If you’d rather watch an 11-minute version of the same action, which shows all the units moving into their positions in real-time, you can see that here:
I’m excited for this! I feel like these kind of games — and I’m going to count Steel Division amongst their ranks in terms of gameplay, if not setting — have always promised so much but fallen over in their execution, which tends to be too hectic to let the player ever be in full control of the battlefield. Which might be an accurate representation of the chaos of war, sure, but these are video games, and I want that control thank you very much.