Hitler made only one big mistake when he built his Atlantic Wall. He forgot to put a roof on it
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Developer: Lock ‘n Load Publishing
Publisher: Lock ‘n Load Publishing
Release date: 3 Apr, 2020
Lock ‘n Load Tactics Digital launched with two DLCs, this one and Heroes of Nam. This one covers the invasion of Normandy, from the paratroopers dropping in behind enemy lines, to the intense fighting among bocage and small towns of northern France, where the allied forces fought the Germans, in a desperate struggle to gain a foothold.
The base game is still in early access, so this review will only focus on what the DLC brings, and not focus on the things that the base game still need to improve, like the AI, multiplayer and interface issues. The missions in this DLC are directly based on its board game counterparts, and thus are unlikely to change much.
Story & Setting
The invasion of Normandy can in a way be seen as the start of the final phase of the war in Europe. The western allies landed a large army in northern France, and was finally taking the fight to the Germans (who were already stretched very thin, due to the fighting in the Soviet Union). Germany surrendered within less than a year of the invasion of Normandy, but at the time, but during the early stages of the invasion, it was not obvious that the allies would succeed, and there was a risk that they might get pushed back and lose their foothold.
And this early stage of the invasion is what this DLC deals with. All the scenarios are set during the first two days, and from when the paratroopers landed right before the invasion to some of the fightings a little bit in-land. There are no scenarios that deal with the actual landing on the beaches though.
Heroes of Normandy adds another 12 levels (with one being a repeat from the base game, and one level being a combination of two smaller levels), focusing on the ferocious fighting around the time of the Normandy landing. The landscape of northern France is dotted by small villages and hedgerows, which makes it a very tough landscape to fight in. The hedgerows blocks line of sight, and is hard to move through, and between them is a lot of open ground. Many of these new levels depict far larger engagements than the levels in the base game, with some maps being 4 times the size.
Three factions on the allied side are represented here, the US, British and French forces, all fighting the Germans. While there are some differences between them, with some being able to do assault moves, for the most part, these factions are fundamentally quite similar, with troops having very similar stats and a lack of special rules setting them apart. This makes sense, the troops that fought in Normandy were not vastly different in terms of equipment or training, and thus you would expect them to fight similarly. People who love their details might point out that a German and a US rifle are in fact not identical, but this game does not simulate things on such a detailed level.
There are a few armored vehicles in this DLC, like Stugs and Panzer IV, although none of the scenarios are meant to depict major armour on armour engagements, with the faction that gets all the armoured vehicles being the Germans. These armoured vehicles don’t dominate the battlefield the way you might expect, as without infantry support they can hardly even find the enemy, but they can still be quite disruptive.
The levels in this DLC are all pre-made, and there are two levels that link together into a mini-campaign, but other than those two, they’re their own separate things, and are meant to depict several independent fights. The balance in these levels seems pretty good in general, with none of them feeling like an insurmountable challenge for either side, and there’s a good amount of variety between the levels.
Heroes of Normandy is a solid addition to Lock ‘n Load tactics, adding a lot of new levels, with a good amount of variety between them. The different factions don’t feel overly different, and you could probably substitute one for another in a lot of cases, but it’s nice to see a few different forces being represented here. Particularly Free France, which almost never gets depicted in games (although they’re only in one level).
Which DLC is better, this or the Nam one is really up to you. This one has more long-ranged firefights, more open ground, and of course, more armoured vehicles, and a big part of the challenge is knowing how to traverse this open ground without taking massive losses. This makes the two DLCs quite different.