Rush for Berlin (PC)

By Walter Hare

Published on Monday, May 15, 2006

Rush for Berlin is the new RTS from Paradox Interactive centered around World War II’s last few years. Read on to find out what we thought of its most recent preview release.

Even though it’s just past its sixtieth birthday, World War II doesn’t seem to be getting old with the gaming community. More and more we’re seeing huge series based around the huge war continue on, and on, and on…. and on. Though mostly on the FPS side of things, numero dos has been expressed through every genre except for mini-games and dating sims. Of course, since I’m not big on Japanese imports, I am liable to be wrong in this respect. Now, we have another title circling around the war with the Third Reich, and that title is Rush for Berlin.

Rush for Berlin centralizes itself around the last few years of the war when all of the allies are busting down the gates of a now weakened Germany, rather than being across the entirety of the war. In the course of the game, you will be able to take control of the “West”, which is the most awesome(zor) America, the French, the Russians, and the Germans.

The units are largely the same from army to army. There are some differentiations in advanced infantry, armor, and significant differences in hero units (more on that later) from country to country, but each has a standard infantry, a standard medic, and so on so forth. Each has their own range, stats, special abilities, and all that sort of stuff to go along with them, as is the natural thing for an RTS.

Heroes play a rather significant role in each battle. They aren’t just named units who were part of the historical war, but rather they are officer types. For example, there is an artillery officer hero that adds to the range of artillery pieces (duh) when he is inside of them with a crew. Various heroes have various country-specific abilities (my favorite so far being the Russian “Double-shot of Vodka”) that can turn the tide of a battle one way or another.

Your special hero characters aren’t the only ones who gain experience, either. As you go from mission to mission, you are awarded “core” units for achieving certain objectives. These units have a different colored health bar and carry over to your next battle, taking with them the experience they gained. As experience goes up, you guessed it, their stats go up, thus becoming an integral part of a fight later on.

Apart from the core army, you are generally given some units at the beginning of the battle, and certain buildings that can be conquered allow you to build reinforcements. Often enough, though, you will be left with what you have, significantly shifting the focus of the game away from any sort of base management. For those with a hard-on for mass war, this is good news.

For an RTS, the missions so far have proved to be very engrossing and advanced. You’ll be leading tanks through a marsh, taking out enemy artillery, or assaulting a base through either a flanked or head-on position based on what you feel like doing. Various side-objectives and secret objectives make you want to do the mission over in order to get a better score and perhaps gain more core units for the next fight. Some battles involve so many neutral and enemy units in any one time that they are just fun to play again.

Combat-wise, Rush for Berlin is basically standard, with a few interesting deviations. Terrain plays a very large role, especially in deciding the movement speed of a vehicle. Reload comes into effect with certain units, and ammo is an important consideration with tanks and other vehicles. Line of sight in forests and hills is also well represented, and is a constant consideration in one’s mind.

Rush for Berlin is definitely going in the right direction for making a pretty good RTS. It has its fair share of issues right now, mostly in the graphical department, which will most likely be resolved in time for its release.

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