Regiments: An Alternate Ending To The Cold War

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Along with WW2, the range of Cold War-era games available have arguably made 20th Century-era combat a somewhat cliched genre. Admittedly, their popularity is likely driven by familiarity; unlike ancient or medieval history, the past century’s military technologies were reasonably similar to our own, letting players experience combat on more relatable terms.

Nevertheless, such market saturation risks turning this genre stale. This considered Regiments could easily escape consumer attention upon release next Spring, dismissed as more of the same. However, before passing judgement, this title’s potential deserves further analysis.

The Premise

Arguably an alternate history, Regiments will immerse players in a Cold War with a difference: it went hot! Set in 1989, it will depict conventional warfare between the US and the Soviet Union along the Inner German Border, with capitalist West and communist East Germany as minor actors. Their faction selected, players will command a regiment in the battle against enemy forces, using every tactic and resource available to defend their civilisation against the heathen onslaught. The future of humanity is for the taking!

Admittedly, Regiments is far from unique in depicting an alternate Cold War timeline. For example, 2007’s strategy title World in Conflict showed such a scenario, as does this year’s Call of Duty release, Black Ops Cold War. However, comparing Regiments negatively to either game would be unfair; developer Microprose lacks the finances to compete with a ‘blockbuster’ like COD instead of refining the niche historical strategy market. In this regard, Regiments’ premise looks most promising; it grants players the means to dominate the battlefield, but without defying realism in the process. 

Limiting combat to one viable theatre (central Europe) is key to this, preventing the game’s narrative from spiralling into absurdity by tying the war’s outcome to this one ‘knife-edge’ campaign.

Thus, Regiments should see players experience fighting in Europe in style akin to what the world could have witnessed had the Cold War gone hot compared to World in Conflict’s odd depiction of a Soviet invasion of mainland America. The gameplay seems altogether more authentic.

On which note…

The Gameplay

Firstly, Microprose promises players total control over their nation’s forces, both at ground level and in the air. Though you’ll enter the battle with one regiment, you can call in reinforcements on an ad hoc basis.

Thus, whether you need to replenish ranks cut down by enemy gunfire or support an offensive with air and artillery support, assistance is just a request away. Moreover, these units have been carefully designed to reflect equipment from the era, both in terms of look and utility; whether drafting a platoon of West German Leopard 2 tanks, or Soviet T-74s, such details will make WWIII accurate possible.

Furthermore, armour will contribute to the game’s authenticity – so will your tactical options. With the frontline in constant flux, battleplans can be equally dynamic: on the offensive, you can call for aerial support or break enemy lines to seize advantageous ground; alternatively, your forces can feign retreat, to lure in an unsuspecting opponent, or stage mobile defences if a tactical withdrawal is best.

Whatever you choose, battle-planning will complement the ‘Platoon Command’ function. This allows you to bypass time-consuming man-management; instead, subordinates will obey your authority, implementing your grand designs with skill and unity. After all, in the heat of battle, there’s no time to lose!

Conclusion

Overall, though the Cold War genre itself may be tired, Regiments should be a worthy exception to this rule. Indeed, it offers a best-possible experience of what conventional commanding forces would have been like had the Cold War gone hot – all without losing authenticity, unlike similar titles.

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