Aggression: Reign over Europe Review (PC)

We love the smell of war games in the morning. Reality aside, warfare makes for a brilliant video gaming setting. Whether itís the Romans, the fall of the British Empire, the American War of Independence or the age old favourite World War I / II, conflict has occupied the gaming populace since the beginning of time. Itís hardly surprising when you consider the inherent want for destruction brooding in every human being. Being able to replay history quells any shouts of ďIf I was in charge, Iíd have noticed Hitler.Ē Hereís your chance to do that. Most WWI / II games give you specific units, scenarios and historical recreations and asks you to either replicate the tactical prowess of the allied / axis forces or change history. Aggression: Reign Over Europe gives you a setting (early twentieth century Europe) and a choice of countries with the aim being war.

It all comes courtesy of the guys at Lesta Studio. Theyíre hardly household names, yet quote the titles ĎPacific Stormí and the add-on ĎPacific Storm: Allies,í and the familiarity with the Russia developers becomes slightly more obvious. Itís been over a year since Pacific Storm: Allies arrived on the PC scene and weíre finally being treated to a larger, better and all round stronger strategy title.

Aggression takes place across two mediums. The majority of your time is spent on the gameís map screen. Much like the Total War series before it, Europe has been recreated to a very impressive scale. Itís got every major city, transport route, unit placement and environmental feature youíd come to expect pre World War I (1910). Country-wise you can pick Germany, Russia, France or the UK. The sole aim is to take your country of choice through the first, second and the beginning of the cold wars. Nothing is set in stone and it treats the political climate and war backdrop as a open playground. You choose who to ally with, who to invade, what to deploy, what to research and who to hire.

Thereís a staggering amount of detail on offer. You can customize your cabinet with the leading figures of the twentieth century. They, in turn, earn experience points and level up, allowing you to assign new skills depending on their profession. Each city allows you to choose its construction, industry / education output (the games currencies) and standard of living. There are helpful Ďautomaticí options to streamline the process / help you out if youíre struggling with the learning curve. The tech-tree models the historical advancement of science / technological warfare with the only difference being the order in which you discover. The game does feature an extensive tutorial that holds you by the hand, but itís an isolated mission. It does throw a lot at you and itís very easy for you to miss / forget a concept.

The real time tactical map is only half of Aggressionís arsenal. The other side is a real time 3D battle engine. Itís easy to compare with Total War again, but enter contact with a warring nation and youíll have the option to auto-battle or fight yourself. Choosing the later brings up deployment and then the undertaking of destruction. Whatever units you had when you were attacked will be the force you field in battle. The game generates terrain depending on your location / season and the aimís as it is in any other strategy title. Destroy the enemy.

The game includes victory points for those that prefer a flanking / sneakier approach and it definitely adds some variety to an otherwise bog standard experience. The maps are littered with buildings and vegetation and theyíre all under the control of a competent physics system. Itís no Company of Heroes, but itís better than most and impressive from such an unknown development studio. The game lets you strategise to your heartís content and its execution is worthy of plenty of praise.

Engine wise, the real time battles arenít that bad. Itís not a stunner and neither will it challenge some of the bigger RTSí on the market, but you can tell what youíre looking at, whatís firing at what and whether youíve just blown a house to smithereens. City battles are particularly interesting with famous landmarks open to destruction. The sound effects have an edge of digital to them, but overall theyíre on the money.

When summarising Aggression: Reign Over Europe, the easiest way to look at it is not saying what it has, but what it lacks. It could have a shiner graphics engine, it could have a modernised interface, it could have a better tutorial system and it could be a tad less hardcore. Thereís not much else to comment on. Lesta have done a fantastic job at creating a Early Twenty Century: Total War. If The Creative Assembly ever get round to making a modern game, theyíd be hard pressed to beat Aggression.

Best Gaming Moment: Hiring Albert Einstein as a Spy

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By lichlord (SI Core) on Oct 09, 2008
this is looks like the total war series........
By V4ndall (SI Veteran Member) on Oct 09, 2008
It's not like TW at all. I was hoping for something like that but I was quite disappointed. The global map is RTS but has some nice ideas (like politician range ie.) Research is very limited, but all in all the global part is quite OK. The problem lies in tactical maps, they have an oldschool RTS feel, and I mean Oldschool, like Red Alert 1 or something and that was what made the game just overly "arcade" for me... I guess I'll just wait for War Leaders : Clash Of Nations to come out in a language I know...
By Praetorian (SI Core) on Oct 10, 2008
This looks like Blitzkrieg 2
By lacki2000 (SI Member) on Oct 10, 2008
sorry but, battles are just awful in this game. They have nothing to do with WWI tactics. There is no feel that one is playing that era. And commanding troops is really crazy and not user friendly.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Oct 12, 2008
Will still have to play this myself. Thanks for the warning guys, but I will forge ahead despite them. I'm a sucker for historical strategy games...sigh.
By liamb589 (SI Newbie) on Oct 14, 2008
this game looks ok
By Casuky (I just got here) on Oct 15, 2008
anyone has the camera controls for the game????
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Oct 16, 2008
"Pacific Storm" and "The Entente", by this Studio were not received well either. I have both and enjoy them greatly. I've left a review of "Pacific Storm" under the title, if you're interested.
By ScythSoulces (SI Core) on Oct 29, 2008
I never can play these types of games. They are to irritating to play for very long.
By Nicolas19 (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 07, 2008
I've tried it at a friend's. Well.. I was bitterly disappointed. With such a great conception, it became a simplistic, unhistorical mess. Simplistic, I say, as it's nowhere near the complexity and accuracy of Hearts of Iron, but not even Europa Universalis. My real pain is the map: it's like Risk, not even vaguely precise.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 08, 2008
Looks terrible, am i right?
AOE 3 is better than this one....
By BataMare (I just got here) on Apr 21, 2013
How can I reduce the speed in game?