Strategic Mind: Spectre of Communism – A Unique Take On The Eastern Front?

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Released earlier this month, Strategic Mind: Spectre of Communism (SMSOC) is a turn-based strategy game that challenges players to lead the USSR to victory in Eastern Europe and Asia in WW2, with a chance for World Revolution afterwards. On its own, this premise doesn’t sound particularly unique; the Soviet victory against fascism isn’t exactly an underexplored gaming theme, having already been depicted by past first-person shooters and strategy games in great detail. 

However, SMSOC should have some unique elements; like its predecessors in the Strategic Mind series, which covered the Pacific War and German Blitzkrieg respectively, it will be more ‘story-rich’ than most strategy titles. Missions will be interspersed by cut-scenes, depicting historical Soviet figures including Stalin, Molotov, and Beria, and their reaction to the events of gameplay. This should give SMSOC a more immersive flavour than many similar titles; a notion to be explored in greater depth…

The Premise

Essentially, SMSOC aims to give the historical strategy a more intimate feel; through lengthy cut-scenes and a storied plot, players will experience the next best thing to having been ‘in the room’ when Soviet battleplans were formed. This should help players remain emotionally invested in gameplay for longer, as they’ll be shown first-person how one event can fundamentally alter the direction of real-world conflict. Hopefully, this will prevent SMSOC from becoming repetitive or predictable; an easy pitfall for strategy titles to fall into if the dynamics of warfare are constant throughout. 

Furthermore, once the Axis powers are defeated, players can then play a series of ‘What-If’ scenarios; these will see the USSR wage war with the West in pursuit of a communist world, simulating battles against US-led capitalist forces to see how this hypothetical event would pan out. This should add further intrigue to the game, giving fans a more authentic image of how an East-West conflict could have unfolded post-WW2; in stark contrast to some more surreal alternate histories. 

The Gameplay

Firstly, the land, air, and naval units at your disposal will bear heavy resemblance to those deployed by Soviet and Axis forces in WW2. Indeed, 10 classes of a combat unit, ranging from infantry to armoured vehicles, will be simulated in the cutting-edge 3D graphic; again contributing to the historical authenticity of the game. On this theme, the depth of units and resources at your disposal will vary according to your performance in previous battles. For example, you’ll be incentivised to capture, not merely knock-out, enemy armour; certain enemy weapons can be captured as ‘trophies’, before being redeployed against you an enemy to bolster your ranks and firepower. Therefore, SMSOC not only promises historical accuracy but also accurately reflects the dynamic nature of combat; with only limited resources available, commanders had to make do with what they had from one battle to the next.

Furthermore, players can micromanage battleplans down to the finest details. For example, upgrades for battle-hardy units can be customised to suit your preferences; once they level-up, you can choose to equip them with one of various new ‘skills’, boosting their combat readiness as you see fit. Similarly, you can choose to change troops’ equipment, whether to suit the battle environment or your preferred tactical approach. Finally, once you’ve established yourself as a skilled commander, you’ll get access to new ‘HQ skills’, which once learnt will increase the efficiency of your units.

Conclusion

Overall, SMSOC appears to offer a fairly detailed, immersive experience of commanding Soviet forces in WW2, with its plot-based elements adding a sense of believability to the gameplay. However, despite these positives, it nevertheless plays to a fairly saturated audience; only time will tell whether it will be a success.

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