Classified: France ’44 is launching in early 2024, and if you’re a strategy game fan, you’ll want to be at the ready. Taking place toward the end of World War II during the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, developers Absolutely Games have gone out of their way to make something historically solid yet endlessly playable.
Far from a cut-and-paste strategy set-up, the game introduces unique elements and a campaign wound with gritty realism. If you like your games rich with historical flavour, or want to see just how much can be done with the strategy genre as a whole, you won’t want to miss Classified: France ’44. Let’s take a quick dive into the game ahead of launch, exploring the themes, campaigns, and tactical mechanics on offer.
An untold story
Right and left clicking your way to victory is all good, but a top-tier strategy game should also provide a compelling story. Classified: France ’44 throws the player in at the deep end of a historical conflict, expanding on the true story of Operation Jedburgh with a little creative licence.
As the first team of special operatives parachuted into Nazi-occupied France in 1944, you’ll unite your Allied commandos with the French resistance to bring the Axis threat to its knees ahead of D-Day. Time is limited, and the decisions you make are long-term, often impacting more than just the current turn. When D-Day arrives, you’ll see the impact your team has made, and watch as history is made.
A solid team
Part of the game’s approach to realism is in the way it handles the units and reinforcements. You start the game with a select team of elite Allied commandos, and can then select recruits from the French resistance. The developers have commented on how this forms an important part of the overall experience, showing the human reality of differing personalities who ultimately must come together as brothers in arms.
As such, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your squad, it won’t be as easy as merely replacing them if they fall. These are your boys, and you are responsible for keeping the squad together. Morale and personality factor massively in the decisions you’ll have to make, with each member of the team having their own backstories, motivations, and skills. As the game progresses, you’ll be able to choose each individual’s loadout from a selection of authentic WWII weapons and armour, and enhance their abilities, giving your team a fighting chance.
The best way to make a game feel realistic is to emulate real-world tactics, which is exactly what Classified: France ’44 does. Using famed fix-and-flank tactics to take out the enemy, you’ll use plenty of evasive manoeuvers and keen-eyed shots to decimate their ranks. For anyone that physical weaponry is slow to destroy, you’ll need to make use of the in-game morale system and mentally break them, forcing them to forfeit a turn. Every shot counts, as the explosion from a gun being fired will impact the mentality of each side, not to mention causing some real physical damage. Don’t underestimate the mental strain of warfare, use it to your advantage but equally ensure your fighters are cared for, or it might come back to bite you.
You can run in all-guns-blazing if you want to, or focus your skills on the stealthier side of combat. You’ll spend plenty of time expanding your resistance networks, growing the underground power of the Allies ahead of D-Day. You’ll have to tread carefully, however, as a thriving information network also means more chances of being ratted out or discovered by the enemy.
A strategic approach
As in real life, military operations are incredibly sophisticated, and require more than a point-and-shoot approach. Classified opens the door to a number of strategic options and missions, including infiltration of enemy bases and building up the strength of underground networks without being caught in the act.
Recruits are awarded more action points than you might be used to seeing in similar games, allowing for some extremely complex gameplay that leans on each member’s special skills to achieve a victory. You can also use the surrounding area in imaginative ways, hiding in the local vegetation, or using creative forms of cover to your advantage. Use silent takedowns and distractions, and you may be able to keep the enemy from spotting you until you’re right at their door.
An expansive world
Even if you give it your all, a single playthrough of Classified: France ’44 is not enough to see everything this game has to offer. Using an overhead map of France in 1944, you can select for yourself which areas to focus on, which missions to take, and where to spend your resources. You’ll have the option to support various factions and enhance new resistance abilities, according to your style of play.
Your decisions may result in a multitude of outcomes, your skill and flexibility in the theatre of war may change the course of history, and every replay will result in a new kind of ending. Procedural generation means your missions will vary each time, and new recruits will make themselves available for combat. See how many ways you can ensure a victory on D-Day, and explore the enormous amount of content for yourself.
Add Classified: France ’44 to your wishlist today, and see if you have the skills to ensure an Allied victory.