Legends of War: Patton's Campaign Repeats History
"I'll be damned if I let that gin-swilling limey Monty get to Sardinia before me. We'll show him how American ingenuity and know-how is going to kick these Krauts back to Berlin and down to the gates of hell."
The aide smiled broadly and reached down to pour the General a glass of chilled sweet tea. He carefully picked out two identical wedges of lemon and placed them in the glass before handing it over.
"Goddamnit Price, you know I have no use for toady sycophants, but you really do know how important it is for a man to have his favorite beverage. That's a lost art and a testament to your good upbringing. It's that same spirit that is going to let our men and tanks and planes send those Germans out for a date with the Devil, and when we're done with that we'll kick those commie bastards back into Asia where they belong. Did you know I was with Alexander the Great when he sent those huns scurrying back to the holes they came out of? I was there."
Price paused and put down the cloth he was using to shine the General's boots.
"Thank you General, you are an inspiration to all of us"
The previous bit of fiction is what I was expecting going into Legends of War: Patton's Campaign, the first game in the Legends of War series from Enigma games. I'm a bit of a Patton buff (he died on my birthday, or at least what would eventually become my birthday 28 years later) and I had hoped there would be a point where I could smack a soldier to motivate him, perhaps a part where I pored over the ground, reminiscing about a previous life. At the very least, I had hoped Patton's unique and iconoclastic personality would play a part in the game. What I got instead was sort of a non-anime Valkyria Chronicles II, which isn't that bad of a thing at all.
I'm not going to spend much time expounding on the technical aspects of the gameplay. It's stock strategy game fodder, turn based, where you control individual soldiers or tanks on an isometric instanced map. Orders you can issue are limited to moving, firing and changing from a crouch to standing for infantry. After each turn, The computer moves and does it's thing and so on, so forth. Missions vary between attacking and defending, with the occasional stealth missions that ask you not to alert enemies or attack a specific target. While there is nothing unique here, there is at least a decent variety of units and they definitely are good reflections of their historic counterparts. You'll have access to a half-dozen era appropriate types of infantry and an equal number of tanks, rounded off with a good selection of planes and artillery. At the start, there won't be much available for you to recruit, but as the years go on, you'll soon amass a nice little collection of troops whose slightly odd random names allow you to form just enough of a bond to lament their inevitable passing.
The inclusion of enigmatic General Patton is manifested in two ways. The first is that the campaign itself follows the historic march of Patton's 3rd Army across France and on across the Rhineland into Berlin. Sites of famed battles are the setting for many of the missions, although the historical accuracy doesn't extend to the in-mission objectives and actions. Patton also makes his presence felt as an omnipresent power if not a direct participant. After each mission, you get a number of prestige points and skill points. Those skill points are what allow you to customize Patton's personality to use his "stats" to give all units better attack, defense, rate of fire or extra ammo. Prestige points are spent on recruiting new units to replace lost ones or just upgrade the Army as a whole. Different levels of victory award more of these points, so it is in your best interest to find the most effective strategies in each of the 30+ levels.
While I wish this was a more robust use of the "Patton franchise", I do applaud the folks at Enigma for putting a prosumer-level strategy game onto the PSP. The simple gameplay makes it accessible to even the greenest of armchair generals, but the historical accuracies give it a bit of meat for all but the saltiest of grognards. If you enjoy strategy, but the Valkyria series is a little too blue-haired flying pig japanese style for you, then it would behoove you to give this title a hard look.