Soldiers: Heroes of World War II Review


If you’re an impatient gamer I’m going to do you a big favor. You don’t have to read the rest of this review because I’ll get right to the point for you – you will not like Soldiers: Heroes of World War II. Soldiers is a difficult game and requires very slow and methodical play, along with many reloads. Soldiers is not a bad game, it’s just that a lot of players are going to be put off by its extreme difficulty level.

How hard is it? Well in the very first mission your task is to clear a town of German soldiers and there are only two ways into town. The first is along a road guarded by entrenched antitank guns, armor, and infantry. The second is less heavily protected, but requires you to cross a minefield. The town itself is crawling with Germans, supported by tanks and halftracks. If you make it to town, you’ll also see that many of the buildings are filled with Germans that will open fire or come pouring into the streets as you approach and you’ve got to kill ‘em all just to get to the second mission. The forces you’re given for this assault? One tank, one armored car, and two soldiers. Yep, you read that right. Four units against what has to be a couple of hundred. Aren’t you supposed to have a 3 to 1 advantage before attempting an assault on a fortified position? It doesn’t get any easier from this point, even when playing at the easiest difficulty level. There are four campaigns, once for the British, Americans, Soviets, and Germans, and each one is as brutally hard as the next.

Now for the good news. If you’re a patient, thinking, and details-oriented strategy or war gamer you just may find yourself loving Soldiers. The level of detail in the game is quite impressive. Each soldier carries a realistic inventory of weapons and ammunition, and once out of ammo you’ll have to rely on taking weapons from corpses to keep fighting as odds are you won’t find the right sized ammunition for your weapon while in the field. They’ll sling their guns when idle and Tanks and vehicles have realistic ammunition stores and fuel capacities. If you try to force your way through on the treads of a tank, you’ll find yourself out of ammo just when an enemy tank rolls onto the scene. Also, you can expect your vehicles to run out of gas during battles. When this happens you’ll need to send a couple of crew members out to scrounge for fuel barrels or to siphon gas out of a disabled or captured enemy vehicle. While they’re out and about looking for fuel, you should keep an eye out for some compatible ammo as well. Lose one of the crew while they are outside of the vehicle and your tank’s performance will suffer – for example, you won’t be able to reload and rotate the turret at the same time.

The high level of detail in the game extends to the maps as well. The game is fully 3D and the terrain and landscape features all have an effect on the game. Soldiers can enter any building, climb trees, lay low in wheat fields, or seek cover in thickets of brush. Tanks can knock trees over, demolish houses, and will struggle a bit to make it up slopes. The attention to detail during each of these actions is amazing. When a tank hits a tree the tree will shake and the leaves will rustle. When tanks start moving or begin climbing they’ll belch out a puff of black smoke and when they come to a quick stop they’ll lurch forward.