published on: 15/02/2023
The popular notion of RTS games (Real-Time Strategy) is often associated with the base-building and attacking gameplay seen in titles like Command & Conquer and StarCraft. However, this is not the only way RTS games can be played. Some games, like Company of Heroes, focus more on combat than resource management. Then there are games like World in Conflict and Wargame which abandon the idea of resource management and concentrate on delivering real-time tactical engagements. These games are typically less well-known and less popular, as they require more effort and focus to play, often targeting serious war gamers rather than casual RTS players.
Broken Arrow is a new entry in the genre, developed by Slitherine, a publisher specializing in strategy/war games. It is a large-scale real-time modern warfare tactics game. A unique army building system and deep units customisation tools allow for endless replayability, with 200+ realistic military units and technologies, each battle is more immersive than ever before.
The base game features both the American and Russian factions, with more than 100 units and multiple deck specialisations per nation.
Broken Arrow brings the genre to a whole new level by combining the complexity of a joint-forces wargame with the typical real-time tactics action-packed gameplay.
Part of the battle is won by planning well: create the right combination of unit types and weapons to defeat your enemy, and don’t forget to consider the terrain when you choose.
Unique Army building
Broken Arrow features a wide range of units, that are split into seven categories based on their characteristics: your army deck includes recon units, infantry, fighting vehicles, support units, logistical units, helicopters and airstrikes slots:
RECON UNITS: includes infantry, vehicles and drones specialized in the task of spotting and marking the enemy position.
INFANTRY: includes line infantry, shock troops, special forces, anti-tank teams, anti-aircraft teams.
FIGHTING VEHICLES: includes tanks, ATGM carriers and fire support vehicles.
SUPPORT: includes artillery and anti-aircraft vehicles that provide long range support on the battlefield.
LOGISTICS: includes all the units designed to improve combat efficiency by providing ammunition, repairs, medical supplies and much more.
HELICOPTERS: includes multipurpose cavalry units best used far from the heatpoints.
AIRSTRIKES: includes many different weapons, swarms of tactical missiles and airdrops of troops, vehicles and supplies.
Modern vehicles and aircraft are generally compatible with different weapons and armor packages; Broken Arrow features a detailed customisation system that allows you to modify the specific components of your units, either individually or as a loadout.
Choose the right combination of units from your deck and deploy them to the battlefield, via land, the sea or from the air. Use paratroopers and helicopters to rapidly seize key locations, reinforce them with heavy tanks and break enemy counter attacks with artillery and tactical missiles.
Infiltrate special forces behind enemy lines to disrupt enemy logistics and provide laser designation for your planes. Use the terrain to your advantage to ambush, out flank and outsmart your enemy.
Customize your aircraft by choosing weapons, fuel tanks, designation pods, countermeasure pods and decoys. Add armor or defensive systems to your vehicles and upgrade their weaponry and sensors. Special forces have access to a wide variety of equipment for you to choose: add suppressors, thermal optics, reconnaissance drones, explosive charges and much more. Before the demo the missions in the game had a mix of both scripted elements and elements determined by random number generation (RNG). The game featured cities tthat are located near important structures such as bridges, ports, hospitals, and schools that can be used for defense or as command points.
What the demo contains
In the Broken Arrow demo mission, the U.S. Marines Force Recon tasked to infiltrate and destroy critical coastal defenses on the Baltic shore. Clearing the sky of enemy planes, and escorting their landing craft and hovercraft to the shore, waves of powerful M1A1 Abrams and armored vehicles can be unleashed to dominate the battlefield. The mission will see American troops fight block for block in intense close-quarter infantry battles against airdropped enemy paratroopers. Forces can be resupplied with heavy-lift helicopters from a carrier group offshore. Prospective commanders need to take care and repel the assault of a full tank company with the combined arms help of helicopters and planes.
What the demo did not contain
A number of major features are not yet in the current build. You cannot presently play as Russia, there is no Editor, there is a very limited selection of available troops, no customisation of units or deck building.
In addition, there are some features which are not final:
- Optimisation is far from complete
- Not all visuals and audio effects are final
- Unit balances will be refined as the game enters beta
Playing the demo
It's a single player demo mission where we can explore the Arsenal and take a look at some of the units available. Unfortunately, we can't use the army builder feature. However, we can choose different weapon packages such as the AC-130, Longbow Apache, B1B, and more. There's a lot of cool stuff in the arsenal, the Longbow Apache, B1B, and other units have armor packages available. The Osprey is also available with a mounted minigun. There's also the Dragon Troops, Super Tomcat, and more with their respective weapons. The F-22, Force Recon, and IL-76 are among the other units that are available in the Arsenal. The K-52s have different pylons for Rockets, Igla Anti-air, and so on. The up-armored package is also available. Additionally, there's the Lavat, and the modified variant. I can also mention:
The M7 Bradley, Fist, Busk armor, Linebacker MH6, Optics package, IDAP, Dagger Rocket Pod, Stingers, Hydras, Dab MH60, Mi 24K, Dazzle Pods, Mig-31, Kinsel, Kinsels, KH-29s, Cab 1000 1500s, PBKS, Middle Pylons, Outer Pylons, R77 Fuselage, Fire Scout, Osa, Patriot batteries, Weapon Pack 16, Missile Package, PRP, S350, Striker MGS, Striker RV, Laser Package, Reactive Armor for the MGs, SC24, T4 Teams, T72, SU-57, Tu-95 and more.
Local intelligence reports indicate the presence of a battery of surface-to-air missiles on the South Bank of the Lagoon. The exact location of each launcher changes daily, making a missile or airstrike too risky. The best option is to send in a light force to eliminate the anti-air and artillery batteries by surprise and clear the way for the main landing. The ground forces in the area are limited and the attack is unexpected, making it a one-time opportunity for success or failure. The Commander will lead the first wave and the main landing will be organized. The coastal battery located in the fort prevents ships from approaching. The anti-air missiles are located on the other side of the canal and the reconnaissance group has made contact with the enemy, reporting a tank company defending the area. The troops have dedicated anti-tank units and are instructed to use smoke in buildings to their advantage. The plan is to disembark the troops and bring in two dragon teams, but it would be nice to have helicopters.
Maybe gameplay is too arcadey for some, but one could get used to it. Game is very poorly optimized, I dont like the UI, orders are very simple, animations are kinda basic and I am not a fan of the SFX including the smoke. But, unit models are great, sound and music are good, customization is a nice addition and the map looks good. Combat was satisfying as well. I am not sure what is the state of development on this, but honestly this seemed like early alpha. Needs a lot of work, hopefully we'll get there.
I also had trouble figuring out if/where my units were shooting. It’s not always all that apparent. Add on the fact that units can get wiped out pretty quick, so it requires tons of micromanagement that the UI makes difficult. Also it crashed 2 times while trying to play it earlier. I could eventually see it becoming pretty good, but this early on it’s rough.
Some thoughts about the demo
It really plays like world in conflict, however it is an very early demo so these things will probably improve, Everything has way too muchHP and moves superfast, it takes 3 rockets to kill a btr-80. I do believe the UI needs tweaking. Maybe it’s just me, but when deploying units, I personally prefer the tabs in horizontal rather than vertical (although the ability to choose would be really appreciated). Seeing paratroopers drop out of planes in the demo had me wondering if the full release will offer a similar airborne option for the player (the ability to use C130 transports for US for example).
The optimization is very poor for the time being. I had 36 FPS on a 1660Ti and a i7. I didn’t like the UI, it made micro managing the units very hard and I didn’t really know what was going on. Micro managing units in broken arrow is way more intensive. Let’s say you gave a fire mission order to your mortars and they are out of range then they won’t automatically move to get in range of the target, instead you have to move them yourself. Another thing is that you have to deploy the flares of your helicopters and planes yourselves which is very annoying.
Additionally, when you unload a vehicle you have to also click where you wanna unload them. The game doesn’t let you unload them instantly when you press the unload button.
PS. Sound effects are solid, but the voices are kind of corny. The music slaps. The graphics are amazing, the models are beautiful. I enjoy how cool the anti-tank guided missile and AA missiles look.
RECOMMENDED PC SETTINGS
OS: Windows 10 64bits
Processor: Quad core compatible 64bits
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia 1060 6GB/Radeon RX 590
Storage: 40 GB available space