Men of War

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Men of War
Men of War.jpg
Developer(s) Best Way
Publisher(s) 1C Company
Distributor(s) 505 Games (UK)
Aspyr Media (USA)
Producer(s) Sergey Gerasev
Maxim Kamensky
Designer(s) Dmitry Morozov
Chris Kramer
Series Men of War
Engine GEM 2
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA 10 March 2009
  • EU 20–27 February 2009
  • AUS 23 March 2009
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer, Co-op
Distribution DVD

Men of War (Russian: В тылу врага 2: Лис пустыни, or Behind Enemy Lines 2: Desert Fox) is a 2009 real-time tactics video game and the sequel to Faces of War. Players issue orders to and/or take direct control of soldiers on a simulation-driven battlefield.

The game takes place during World War II and its single-player campaign features battles set in Europe, the Soviet Union, Greece, and North Africa across three different campaigns for the Allies, Germans and Soviets. Japan was introduced as a multiplayer faction in a patch.


Men of War is a real-time tactics game in which players complete military objectives. It focuses entirely on military tactics and special operations and does not feature base building, research, or resource gathering. Unit recruitment features in multiplayer, but is rarely enabled in single-player.


The game's most notable feature is its simulation-driven world.[1][2] Examples include:

  • Each soldier and vehicle has an inventory which holds weapons and a finite amount of ammunition and supplies
    • Items can be picked up from the ground or traded
  • Each vehicle and emplacement is operated by soldiers who can enter and leave it at will
  • Each vehicle has components that can be damaged and repaired instead of an abstract health value
  • Line of sight is calculated accurately
  • Buildings have fully modelled interiors that soldiers can freely navigate
  • Bullets and shells are blocked by solid objects
  • Nearly anything can be destroyed, and destruction is physically simulated with solid debris
  • Fire spreads

These rules lead to gameplay that has been described as "organic...where others are artificial"[3] and praised for generating "stories as distinct as they are dramatic",[4] but criticised for at times demanding intense micromanagement.[5] Perhaps in recognition of this, players can change the speed at which time passes.[6]

Direct Control[edit]

Men of War allows players to directly control any soldier or manned vehicle/gun that they own. Movement is controlled with four directional keys and a stance toggle, while the unit aims/faces toward the on-screen mouse cursor and fires when the player clicks their mouse button.[6]

"Direct Control" can be used to perform advanced actions such as targeting individual vehicle components, navigating precisely around cover, and cooking a grenade. It has also been described as "dissolving the emotional distance between player and unit".[4]


The single-player portions of Men of War comprise 19 missions spread across Soviet, German, and Allied campaigns and a "bonus" campaign of offcuts.[7] The game focuses on some of the less known battles of World War 2 and does not feature famous battles like Invasion of Normandy or Battle of Stalingrad.

The Soviet campaign spans the early battles of the Eastern front, through to the start of the Soviet counter-offensive. The campaign begins with the Battle of Rostov and ends after the Battle of Seelow Heights, with an epilogue showing Berlin days after its capture.The Player is represented by Alexey Kuznetsov and Victor Smirnov.
The German campaign taken place in the North Africa theatre and follows a young, ambitious commander called Gunther Borg who fights as a paratrooper in Greece (Battle of Crete) before being redeployed after temporary leave to join the Afrika Korps in Libya (Tobruk) and Tunisia.
The Allied campaign also takes place in North Africa and follows an elite American squad under the command of Terry Palmer and a Cpl. Robinson during Operation Torch as they fight alongside the British "Desert Rats" of the British 7th Armoured Division, other American soldiers, and Henri d'Astier's French Resistance.
The bonus missions are a collection of challenging scenarios with no particular continuity.

Campaign missions typically give the player a predetermined set of troops and pit them against overwhelming odds on large battlefields. They range from infiltrations with four or fewer soldiers at the player's command to all-out battles with hundreds of troops and tons of vehicles, sometimes within the same mission.[4][8] AI units are typically docile until attacked, allowing players time to form plans and eliminate enemy troops in small chunks.


A "Victory Flag" multiplayer game. The recruitment bar is visible to the right.

Men of War includes 16-player internet and LAN multiplayer across six game modes. Multiplayer games retain most simulation features and Direct Control, and add unit recruitment and capture points. All armies from the campaign can be selected (USA, Commonwealth, German, Soviet), and the Japanese army was added after release.

Game modes are:[9]

Players fight for control of three flags.
A simple deathmatch mode.
An attack/defend mode in which one player must capture the other's territory.
All campaign missions can be played cooperatively.
Victory Flag
Similar to Battlezones, but with only one flag.
Valuable Cargo
Players search the map for randomly spawned cargo and carry it back to their base.

The game features a skill ranking system for online play.


Development on Men of War began in 2006[10] with the intention to create a polished successor to Faces of War. Ukrainian series developer Best Way led development with assistance from Digitalmindsoft, a new German studio formed with Best Way's assistance by Faces of War modder Chris Kramer.[11] Digitalmindsoft were to provide "Western soul" to the game; Kramer described this as "combining the new ideas and innovations [of eastern European countries] with great in-game atmosphere and smooth gameplay [of Western studios]".[10]

The game was developed by a team of 30 at Best Way and 15 at Digitalmindsoft.[11] Best Way developed the game's engine and core simulation systems, while Digitalmindsoft provided mission/world design, visuals, and audio and organised a large beta test.[10]


 Men of War
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 80[12]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 90[4]
GameSpot 75[13]
IGN 80 [5]
PC Gamer (UK) 85
Play Magazine Poland 70

Men of War has received generally favorable reviews, garnering a Metacritic score of 80 out of 100.

  • Eurogamer praised the game for generating "stories as distinct as they are dramatic" and compared it favorably to Company of Heroes, but criticized its "faintly disappointing" stealth missions.[4]
  • GameSpot described Direct Control as "well-crafted" but criticized the game's graphics and "pathetic English-language voice acting".[13]
  • IGN criticized the game's "aggravating" pathfinding and "tedious" micromanagement, but still concluded that it was a " watching all your favorite war movies play out in front of your eyes".[5]
  • Rock, Paper, Shotgun called the game "spectacular" and "organic...where others are artificial", but criticized its "disastrous" voice acting, "tedious and pointless" cut-scenes, and occasionally "brutal" difficulty.[3]


Men of War has spawned a large amount of fan-made mods and addons. The majority of new additions to the title are currently hosted on the moddb website.[14]


Four standalone expansions were released for Men of War: Red Tide, Assault Squad, Vietnam, Condemned Heroes and Assault Squad 2.

Men of War 2 has been informally announced by series producer Sergey Gerasev.[15]

On 17 December 2012, Digitalmindsoft announced a new game called Call to Arms on their website calling it "The true successor to the Men of War series".[16]


  1. ^ "Men of War - Technologies". 1C Company. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Men of War - Features". 1C Company. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Meer, Alec (27 March 2009). "Wot I Think: Men Of War". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. This is an organic strategy game, where others are artificial. In other words, everything you need is on the battlefield, as a pre-existent, genuine element rather than a magic power-up crate, a weapon upgrade that blinks into existence out of nowhere, or a capture point with an ethereal timer floating above it. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Clare, Oliver (25 February 2009). "Men of War Review". Eurogamer. 
  5. ^ a b c Butts, Steve. "Men of War Review". IGN. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Men of War manual". 1C Company. 27 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Scenarios". 1C Company. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Men of War - Developers update 6". 1C Company. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Men of War: Multiplayer, game modes". Digitalmindsoft. 14 September 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c Meer, Alec (29 February 2008). "RPS Interview: Men of War". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 
  11. ^ a b "Interview With DMS.Instinct". 12 September 2009. 
  12. ^ "Men of War Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Shannon, Daniel (27 March 2009). "Men of War Review". GameSpot. 
  14. ^ "Mod DB Page". 
  15. ^ Stone, Tim (7 July 2011). "Men Of War: Sequels And Souvenirs". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]