GAME STUDIO DESCRIPTION: Gary Grigsby’s World at War takes the second world war and places you at the helm of one of five possible powers: The Western Allies, China, Russia, Germany, or Japan. Command your army and coordinate your attacks. Gain supplies, resources, and factories to fuel your war machine. Manage your supplies and supply lines to ensure you have the resources necessary to capture territories and press your attacks. Gary Grigsby’s World at War has been hailed as an elegant and accessible game design with adjustable realism and detail; where the difficulty can be tailored to your specific level and your opponents range from a challenging computer AI to up to four other human players.
David Heath, Director of Operation at Matrix Games said, “The early previews and reviews are in: Gary Grigsby’s World at War is another classic from the hall of fame design team at 2by3 Games. This is grand strategy with all the right elements – easy to learn but difficult to master and incredibly replayable and deep.”
Gary Grigsby’s World at War takes you through four World War II scenarios where five playable powers battle across thirty-eight different countries with fifteen different unit types. Each unit type has up to fourteen attributes, which you can upgrade through careful research of new technology during the war. The design covers everything from strategic movement to cold weather, nuclear weapons, special historical events and even managing supply lines in the advanced mode of the game. With a top-notch AI, Play-by-Email capability, and two in depth tutorials, World at War will make you a general in a day but keep you occupied year round.
PLAY: You can control five world powers: China, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the Western Alliance (US, the UK, Canada, France, and other allies). Beginners may opt for the computer to control production—however after a few rounds you’ll want to manage it alone.
One very interesting aspect of World at War is the historical perspective. Unlike some similar games real historical events will play out—unless you are Germany and decide to go right into Russia. Another historical event has some significance in the game. Russia is politically frozen so if you choose to play as Germany Russia will not challenge until 1943 unless provoked. What makes this interesting is it gives you a chance to make hard decisions. Do you take Russia or do you conquer elsewhere? That’s unless you are like me and try to rip through Russia right away and provoke them into an all out war.
Like many games of this ilk, production and research is the key to win. Unique are the factor of supplies—a complicated matter to say the least. It’s also important to have railroad lines maintained to be sure you can move with the minimum amount of points—thus their strategic movements.
Then there are the battles. The system is kind of foggy. There is a percentage that you look for when going into battle. It goes from 0 to 100% which signifies your odds of winning a battle based upon the role of a the dice (which we never see). The combat seemed to be one of the areas with the least explanation and comprehension, yet it is the one area gamers enjoy most.
GRAPHICS: Dull. A board game is the first thing that comes to mind when playing World at War. In terms of battles and animations—there are none unless you count a few single gun shots and suddenly an enemy starts on fire. Civ may not offer much in the animation department but it at least moves—a little. Turn off the battlefield animations—trust us.
SOUND: Lackluster. There is nearly nothing to speak of except during cutscenes where we see historic moments from WWII. Sure, each unit makes a particular sound but it’s not impressive.
FRANKLY: The AI is not going to be knocked over no matter how good you get. Gary Grigsby World at War is challenging because it holds true to many historical moments. It’s that added flavor which keeps WAW from suffering from oversimplification and domination.
One of the biggest issues is the lack of ability to take complete control of research and the importance of supplies. It’s not that supplies aren’t important the problem is the lack of understanding. There is a lot of detail and it’s easy to dismiss WAW as bad when in fact it might suffer from being too detailed—that depends on the gamer and what style they prefer to play. Certainly Gary Grigsby World At War is better than it looks.
+ Richie Wright