All Blood, No Guts

George S. Patton was one of the United States’ greatest generals of all-time. Although a bit eccentric, his strategic mind and ability to inspire his troops by weaving colorful tapestries of profanity, akin to Rembrandt painting a landscape, was the stuff of legend. His leadership and larger-than-life persona in the North Africa campaign of World War II would position him to play a key role in Operation Fortitude, the critical deception of German military forces that led to the Invasion of Normandy. After Normandy, Patton would remain at the helm of the US Third Army and lead them across France and strike suffocating blows against the Germans, maintaining a ratio of killing 13 German troops to every one American lost through the rest of the war.

Because of this storied military career, there was no better choice to inspire a turn-based strategy game. HISTORY: Legends of War: Patton follows Patton’s Third Army in their march across Western Europe. Divided up into 21 missions, you’ll move your troops expertly through mid-20th century France and Germany as you do your part to disassemble Hitler’s war machine while commanding various Allied tanks, planes, and soldiers.

Right off the bat, Legends of War does a fine job of maintaining the historical accuracy of many of the battles that the Third Army fought, with only some minor dramatization done for the sake of providing an assortment of missions for you to partake in. The variety of missions you will be tasked with range from searching for and destroying key German installations, protecting or eliminating several high-value targets, or the more standard annihilation of all your enemies on the map. This array of different missions is supposed to help keep the game play fresh and fun. Despite a wide range of objectives, however, Legends of War quickly finds more ways to lose your attention that grasp it.

One of the primary flaws of the game comes with the lack of fluctuation in the action. Every battle and conflict plays out relatively the same even with the aforementioned mission variance. Whether it is a Bradley tank or a sniper, each unit you control (a maximum of eight per battle) only has one or two attacks. This removes much of the strategy from each conflict, especially with your troops able to one-hit kill many enemies, while surprisingly they can take a barrage of bullets before succumbing to their own demise. This reeks of poor balance and pulls you away from the realism of the mission scenarios.

Another problem that crops up is the control scheme. Not surprising really considering this is a strategy game, a genre that plays better 9 times out of 10 on a PC. But with several other games in the genre having overcome this dilemma over the past few years, its always disappointing now when a game comes along that falls into the same old, stereotypical traps of camera issues and unit placement. Along with this, the game’s textures are sub-par at best for any modern system, console or PC. How a game is allowed to ship looking and controlling like this is beyond me.

There are a couple of minor bright spots to the game play at least. The game’s economy and upgrade systems are as clear-cut as they come and make it easy for the users to prepare before each new mission. And as you complete missions and unlock more unit types, Patton can also level up in a plethora of different categories that can bolster everything from the offensive or defensive capabilities of your troops to the amount of money and prestige Patton receives with each ensuing victory. I have to say though that even the unit purchasing stinks from a lack of attention to detail at times as each new unit has a back story and name, but after just a couple of purchases, they start to repeat. I had three Donald Aldrich and two Charles Kelly in an eight-man group at one point!

When it comes down to it, HISTORY: Legends of War: Patton does not live up to the great general’s legacy. There is a solid core here for strategy enthusiasts, but there are far too many flaws that were easily avoidable to make this worth most anyone’s time or money. If Patton were here right now, someone would be getting slapped for making this game.

SUMMARY:  The historical accuracy and details of the game are a testament to arguably the greatest general the US has ever had. HISTORY: Legends of War: Patton, however, falls flat in many aspects of the basest execution we would expect from a current console game and this keeps it from fulfilling its true potential.

  • THE GOOD: World War II buffs will appreciate the attention to historical accuracy and detail
  • THE BAD: Makes classic console strategy game mistakes
  • THE UGLY: Not enough soldiers getting slapped by their generals anymore

SCORE: 4.0

HISTORY: Legends of War: Patton is available on PS Vita, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.