The primary title in hardcore digital wargaming is again with Gary Grigsby’s Warfare within the East 2. I managed to get my arms on an early copy, so let’s dive in!
I’ve solely spent a couple of hours with the sequel to the legendary technique sport that set the bar for historic accuracy and element, however I can already let you know: our persistence has been rewarded.
Gary Grigsby’s Warfare within the East 2 (we’ll simply name it East 2 going ahead) comes greater than a decade after the launch of the unique. Which may seem to be an inflated growth interval, however we’re speaking about one of the crucial in-depth technique video games ever made.
East 1 has an virtually storied attraction with warfare players. It’s sometimes thought of the penultimate “arduous to study, tougher to grasp, and hardest to cease taking part in when you get into it” form of sport.
There are dozens upon dozens of modifications to the sport starting from new options to high quality of life upgrades. These acquainted with the unique shouldn’t have any downside leaping proper in, however there’s nonetheless plenty of new issues to get used to.
It appears like air fight has been completely redone. There’s now a separate air section the place you’ll be able to both let the AI deal with ops or play the “sport inside a sport” of meta-managing your flying models. I didn’t play with this an excessive amount of, however I actually loved having air recon inform my floor actions in-between turns. It feels much more pure.
Floor fight can also be vastly improved. It’s arduous to gauge precisely the place the modifications are in only a few hours of gameplay, nevertheless it actually appears like terrain performs a a lot greater function. It additionally looks as if issues are dealt with at a extra granular degree within the sport engine, the results of which is that it appears like there are larger rewards for micromanaging each piece on the board.
Nonetheless, amazingly, it additionally feels such as you’re punished a lot much less for not micromanaging as a lot. Now you can toss off the vast majority of the logistics and air duties to the AI in an effort to think about pushing your battle strains ahead and seizing targets. It appears like having a toggle swap for “beer and pretzels mode” or “victory now mode.”
Apart from all the pieces? East 2 has been lovingly crafted from the unique. This isn’t a spin-off, new take, or conceptual re-imagining. It’s what occurs when builders make a beloved sport, set it free into the world for a decade, after which make enhancements based mostly on the suggestions.
For starters, East 2 isn’t simply smarter and sooner, it’s a lot simpler to navigate. In reality, there’s so many high quality of life upgrades, I’d dare go as far as to name it accessible to rookies. And I’m not the one one. Wargamer’s Callum Bains mentioned a lot the identical in their preview article.
In fact, by accessible, that doesn’t imply you’ll be able to simply load it up and dive in like a sport of Pac Man. The sport comes with a 520-page guide that’s completely chocked full of information. It additionally comes with a number of quick-info sheets, hyperlinks to video tutorials, and a number of other introductory situations.
Maybe probably the most attention-grabbing change in East 2 is the graphics. In case you had been anticipating an entire overhaul to make it look glossy, trendy, or fancy, you’re going to be very upset. The graphics are rather more polished than the unique’s, they usually look nice all the way in which as much as 4K in my testing. However they’re decidedly retro now. I actually dig the dedication to sustaining the unique aesthetic whereas concurrently making it workable within the post-standard-definition world.
East 2 isn’t a disco with a gold-plated mahogany bar and a large dance flooring, it’s a dive-bar the place you come to drink whiskey and win wars. No one cares how costly the stools are. In different phrases, it nonetheless appears like a spreadsheet in 2021 as a result of that’s simply the way it’s speculated to look.
In case you don’t let the dearth of snazzy animations and tanks that seem like tanks put you off, you’ll understand that East 2 isn’t conceding good graphics. It’s providing you with all the pieces you’ll want to benefit from the deepest attainable command expertise a WW2 online game has to supply – and completely nothing else.
What’s the decision?
Up to now, I haven’t encountered any bugs or issues with the sport. And I’ve appreciated and loved all the pieces that’s new or completely different that I’ve come throughout. But it surely’s going to take dozens of hours, if not lots of, for me to determine whether or not it really surpasses East 1. For now, I’m content material saying I consider it’s a worthy sequel that improves on the unique masterpiece.
Gary Grigsby’s Warfare within the East 2 is barely out there on the Slitherine/Matrix dwelling website right here, beginning at present.