Team17 invited us to a small event in San Francisco for a few hours to give us some hands-on time with various projects, and among them was Classified: France ’44, a turn-based strategy game with unique elements of psychological warfare.
I’m gonna be honest here — while I do have a general liking for turn-based strategy games, it’s really only limited to games like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Valkyria Chronicles, and Mario + Rabbids. The developers of this game likened a lot of the action to XCOM, and I’ve never played a game in the series.
Be that as it may, I felt right at home with the game. Even though I feel uncomfortable using a keyboard and mouse, I found the tutorial mission to be pretty self-explanatory. I had some issues with some of the guiding lights and symbols of the FTUE (first-time user experience), but once I got a hand of the signals, everything was really easy to click through. The dev guiding me through the demo didn’t even really guide me, saying that despite this game being the last demo I had time for, I progressed more quickly than anybody else invited to the showcase.
What sets Classified apart from XCOM and other strategy games, according to the developer, is that it really plays into the psychology of war by having you think more about going on the offensive. Oftentimes, we play these games looking mostly at the numbers, specifically the odds of whether a shot will land and how much damage it will do. But in Classified, you’re encouraged to take a shot whether or not you have it, because it’ll influence the behavior of the various units in the game. If you’re hiding, and you hear gunshots, for example, you’ll be scared and more likely to make a mistake. While there weren’t situations in the demo, at least from what I played, that suggested such gameplay nuances were there, they do set an interest precedent for what to expect when the game comes out.
There is no confirmed release date for Classified: France ’44 yet, but I do have to admit that I enjoyed what I played, and it’s something I’ll raise an eyebrow for as we get closer to release.