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Classified: France ‘44 Review

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One of the beauties of reviewing a number of games is that you get to play stuff that may not have necessarily chosen from the store if you were just browsing through. This isn’t always a good thing and I still have flashbacks to the Strategic Mind games, for instance. But at other times, it is a very good thing.

At risk of minor spoilers, that’s the case with Absolutely Games and Team17’s, Classified: France ‘44. A turn based strategy game set in the run up to D-Day in the Second World War, can we keep the Allied Invasion on track, or will our efforts be in vain?

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Get your strategy on with Classified: France ’44

The story of Classified: France ‘44 is a pretty simple one. We play as a team of Allied commandos who have parachuted into Occupied France in the weeks before D-Day. Tasked with not just training the French Resistance into an effective fighting force, we must also gather the team who were spread out on the way down to earth. It’s all about causing chaos and spreading fear in the German ranks, operating behind the lines, trying to sabotage the Nazi war machine to make sure that D-Day goes off with as few hitches as possible. No pressure then!

Classified: France ‘44 comes across in two ways. We have the battle screen, where the level is overlaid with a series of squares showing where we can move to, and also the effective view and range of the enemies. The other half of the game is the downtime, basically, interacting with a regional map of France full of missions. It’s also where we can level up our characters. Neatly, the design of our various fighters is pretty good whilst the ability to change their outfits with items we can find or buy feels like a nice touch. 

The various levels are also well designed, offering a variety of paths and choke points to set up ambushes. All in all, there are no real complaints here, apart from a minor note – when the team are walking towards their next mission, whether it be in anticipation or fear, they walk a little weird. 

The gameplay is again split in two. Dealing with the non-combat side first, Classified: France ‘44 has some surprisingly deep systems in place; and they may take a while for you to get a handle on them. The main system sees the French Resistance split into three factions, and the missions that you choose to take on have an effect on how these factions view you. Raising their trust will help, allowing them to supply you with new equipment, such as better armour and guns. This is something you need to take into account. The members of the team that you recruit also come with an affiliation to one of the factions, which can affect their disposition to you. We can also raise the morale in between missions by speaking to them around the campfire. And believe me, morale is a vital commodity. 

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Manage your troops

The last thing we can do around the campfire is not only choose new skills for troops, based on their accumulated skill points, but we can also offer them new gear and weapons to take into battle. Each character has a specialism in a certain kind of weaponry, be it anything from rifles, via sub machine guns through to heavy machine guns; getting new and better guns can be a big help. And a racy French beret never hurt anyone either. Why not look stylish on the battlefield?

In terms of the combat and Classified: France ‘44 is pretty standard, to be honest, with the exception of a morale feature. The actual combat is based around action points (AP), with each action taking a certain cost from your character’s store of AP. For instance, you can usually move then fire, unless you choose to extend your run, to get into cover, say, in which case all the AP would be used on the movement phase. Throwing grenades, firing, reloading – they all take AP, and so managing these points and being able to maintain momentum through the battle is vital.

Stealth is also a viable tactic, as being able to stay out of the line of sight of an enemy, sneaking close enough to kill them with a melee attack will let you take them out of play without raising an alarm. Of course, eventually the enemy will wonder where all their mates have gone, but successful takedowns also allow you to execute an ambush attack, dealing extra damage. I have to say, the battle systems found in Classified: France ‘44 have been extremely well thought out. 

Morale plays a big part in this. Having high morale makes your guys (and your foes) better in every possible way, but they can lose morale by being shot at, even if the bullets don’t hit home. Keeping an enemy suppressed can lead to them becoming broken, in turn dropping morale and AP down to zero. This applies to both sides though, so keeping your guys safe while pressuring the enemy is very much the name of the game. Certain characters have abilities that can raise your team’s morale, and using these at the right time can be a game changer, almost literally. 

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But mostly manage moral!

In Classified: France ‘44 you’ll find the atmosphere is authentic, the gameplay is deep and enjoyable – especially with the effect of the morale system – and there are a variety of ways to approach each mission. It all feels fresh, as you go levelling your team, recruiting new members and managing factions. 

There should be no hesitation in giving Classified: France ‘44 a shot. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Great combat with deep systems
  • Background game is surprisingly engaging
  • Morale management is so important!
Cons:
  • Slight graphical issues
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Team17
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC
  • Release date and price -5 March 2024 | £34.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Great combat with deep systems</li> <li>Background game is surprisingly engaging</li> <li>Morale management is so important!</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Slight graphical issues</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Team17</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC <li>Release date and price -5 March 2024 | £34.99</li> </ul>Classified: France ‘44 Review
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