Classified: France '44 - PS5 Review

Classified: France '44 by developer Absolutely Games and publisher Team17Sony PlayStation 5 review written by Jim with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes.

When I was younger lots of games were set in WWII. You had Medal of Honor games, Call of Duty was still set in WWII, Brothers in Arms, and Battlefield just to name a few. Nowadays you don't see WWII used as much but it is still one of my favorite settings. I used to learn a lot of history from those games so when I see a game based on WWII today I just have to play it. Classified: France '44 is one of those games I just had to play.

Although I am used to first-person shooters set in WWII, Classified: France '44 is a turn-based strategy game. You start with just a small group of four soldiers. As you play you will rescue others who will join your cause. The four soldiers were parachuted into France before D-Day to help weaken the Nazis in the area and to capture key points to help make D-Day a success all while helping three different resistance factions.

The gameplay reminded me of X-COM mixed in with a board game. The missions and combat play like X-COM where you move the soldiers about on a map and try to take out the enemies. There are however different mission types, For example you have stealth missions that you can try to complete without alerting the enemies by getting in close and using a knife to attack. This will kill most common enemies but not tougher ones. Another mission type is ambush. You start in stealth but once you kill enough enemies you will start an ambush which lets you use all of your soldiers before the enemy's next turn. 

Each character has AP that is spent on doing things like moving, shooting, throwing a grenade which you only get one of per mission per character, and reloading their weapon. When getting shot at both your characters and enemies will lose morale once it gets low enough they will become suppressed. And if it is completely empty they become broken and can't do anything on their turn. If this happens the next mission they will start with one less morale point. Each unit also has health. Once it runs out they will go down and will revive in three turns or if another one of your units reaches them and revives them. If they go down more than once they will retreat and become injured. Injured units will start the next mission with one less health point. One thing I did not like was that in almost all the missions enemies will keep spawning in every few turns. It does show that they are coming, but this just made me feel rushed and not able to do what I wanted in each mission. Definitely made it unnecessarily harder.

There are different types of units that you can recruit during a playthrough. Leaders who can help restore morale, support who can heal, and a sniper are a few. Something you don't see very often in WWII games is women and you will have a French woman who can join you. It's a good detail as there were females in the resistance. Each unit type uses a different weapon and everyone has a side arm they can switch to that does less damage. This is good for the times when their main weapon is empty and an enemy is near. Enemies also have unit types like a grenadier that explodes after you kill them. Some of the heavy units you won't be able to take down with one knife attack so you cannot stealth kill them.

After each mission, the units that were on that mission will earn experience points and level up. Leveling up gives you points that you can then use to add new skills. You will get resources that you can use to buy new gear or send a unit on tasks. Lastly, you will level up one of the three factions depending on the area the mission took place. Leveling these up unlocks new gear to buy. Each character must use equipment of their own country though. On the main map after a mission, you will be able to strengthen an area that can help once you take all three parts of an area. 

The hospital for example helps your character heal faster. The enemy can take one of the three areas back at times and you will need to send one of your units on a task that costs resources to retake it. Other tasks you can do is fully heal a unit including health and morale, train a unit if you have the right part of the map freed, and other such things. Also on the map, you will be able to use skill points, change load-outs and equipment, and hear a conversation from two of the characters that also restores morale points between missions. These conversations help you learn a little more about the characters. You also will have a countdown to D-Day so you have to get as much done as you can in so many days. Most missions cost two days but they vary.

Graphicaly the game could be better, but it gets the job done. I do like the cut scenes you get after some missions as it looks like it's getting drawn right in front of you. It makes me think the leader is writing this all down in a journal. The music is what I would expect for a WWII game, but it's nothing grand. Like the graphics it gets the job done. The voice-over is all right; just like before it's nothing great but it works. The game ran smoothly for me with no glitches or crashes. The loading times are a little longer than they should be on a PS5.

Overall Classified: France '44 is a decent WWII turn-based strategy game. I both enjoyed and hated the missions if only enemies wouldn't respawn so much. Each mission for me is also a bit long with most taking over a half hour for me. Other than that I enjoyed the art of the cut scenes and the conversations the characters would have. I am glad to have a new WWII game on the market that was decent and not an online multiplayer-only FPS.

Score: 7.5 / 10



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