War Mongrels is the newest release in the Nazi-killin’ real-time with pause strategy category and it’s an exhilarating experience even if it doesn’t travel far from its inspirations..
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: Action, Strategy
Developer: Destructive Creations
Publisher: Destructive Creations,
DMM Games – Asia,
Release date: 19 October, 2021
Stealthing around and offing an overwhelming enemy never gets old. Whether it’s Hitman, Metal Gear, or Desperados, each quietly eliminated foe brings you closer to God (or at least the completion of your current objectives). Success is measured in baby steps and each one is a thrilling accomplishment.
War Mongrels manages to tap into this energy to create an experience that’s both challenging and exciting. With a varied squad of heroes, a unique cinematic art style, and a worthy historical fiction story, it’s likely to impress those looking to fill another space on their digital shelf.
We Did What?!
War Mongrels begins with a pair of German soldiers who have decided that serving the Nazi regime isn’t all it was cracked up to be. One of these gentlemen volunteered due to his idealistic take on the current breed of nationalism while the other was an unwilling conscript who was pulled into the war machine against his will. Now that they’re both on the same page, your first task is directing them through their daring escape. The adventure that follows will have you collecting additional personalities for your squad and applying their many talents to take the fight directly to the boys in gray.
The story offered by War Mongrels isn’t a new one, but it’s well done all the same. The comic-like cinematics between scenarios add an enjoyable, dark, and dramatic view of the era with an art style that’s incredibly unique. Nazi leadership, for example, is often represented with wolf-like features such as sharp teeth and predatory eyes while our heroes look decidedly more human. This works well for both those looking for something more outside-the-box as well as those looking for realism in the atmosphere as the scenarios themselves take on a much more realistic approach. I was fully convinced of this at the moment when my girlfriend, who doesn’t see the appeal of historical war games, saw one of the cinematics playing and was immediately interested in what was going on. To be fair though, she did lose interest as soon as it returned to a gameplay segment.
Not Quite a BJ
Scenarios and their related gameplay are more or less what you would expect from the genre. Each character has a unique selection of skills and a preferred weapon that they use to reduce the Nazi population. There won’t be much in the way of surprises for veterans of the genre as War Mongrels doesn’t reinvent it by any means, but it does admirably in creating a well-rounded experience that is likely to pull in fans of similar titles.
Character design is the focal point of the title. Every character is a badass whether they’re sniping from afar, walking through the enemy ranks dressed as the enemy, or knocking their foes out in an instant with a single punch, but they’re also vulnerable if you drop the ball. They’re easily the match of any single Nazi, but they’re by no means B.J. Blazkowicz who can kick in the door guns blazing and off thirty of their enemies at once. Bullets hurt and you’d do well to knife as many of your threats in the dark before you end up in a shootout with them. That said, you’ll get some time in the sun when you successfully hop onto a strategically placed machine gun and annihilate hordes of unsuspecting grunts.
There’s Always a Catch
Although War Mongrels has a lot of strengths, there’s still a number of bugs that show their heads as you play. With a respectable autosave system, they’re more likely to be minor inconveniences than truly game-breaking, but they’re frequent enough that they do get frustrating over time. Pathing and the time-freezing planning mechanic seemed the be the most riddled with these issues as characters would often take an oddly roundabout way and get spotted while stealthing or hurry along on their designated task as a team and not trigger the ability they were supposed to. It’s a bit disheartening to watch your super squad stealth up to an enemy and then circle around them directly into their line-of-sight to haymaker them instead of donkey punching them from behind, but at least the last save was usually only ten seconds earlier.
War Mongrels is a strong entry in the squad-based RTS genre. Similar titles end up reaching from terrible to fantastic but I don’t feel that I’m taking much of a risk in boldly stating that this is one of the better ones out there. If you’re a fan of these types of games, you owe it to yourself to check it out. That said, the price tag is pushing it, and buying it at full price would be a hard sell to me, especially with the number of bugs that still haven’t been squashed. Wait for a sale on this one, or if you’re already sold on it, at least wait for the bugs to be exterminated.