Battle Academy 2 does what it says on the tin. It delivers a turn based strategy set in WWII on the Eastern Front, which is renowned for some of the most brutal battles of the war time. This game offers control of both the German and Russian forces of WWII. I understand in its predecessor you had the opportunity to command British, Canadian, US Polish and Italian troops. I suppose as both games have the same time setting it would just be repetitive if anything to include these factions.
Whilst Battle Academy is not the most aesthetically pleasing TBS game out there, it does play remarkably well. In the beginning, you are given a handful of soldiers and tanks to learn the basics of gameplay. This works well in teaching you how to manage your militia, however by the end you are controlling a full army and moving everything each turn makes for some long winded turns; ultimately resulting in long campaign chapters.
The campaign takes place in a variety of landscapes, from large cities, to open fields, forests etc. Where your mastery of tactical warfare will be challenged most is in the desolate urban cities. For example, enemy militia hide in buildings dotted around the city. Your vehicular forces can’t see in buildings, so leading with them down a street, you are bound to lose a few to enemy forces camped up in the buildings. The trick (that I learnt the hard way) is to lead with your ground forces which can identify hidden enemies, but cover less ground per turn. This, coupled with the sheer volume of your forces later in game becomes a tiresome task. When you enter the barren Russian countryside your tanks really get to shine.
The thing I liked most about this game is that it has consequences for actions. For instance, if you choose to move quickly, your accuracy will be cut as a consequence. On top of this dynamic, if your forces remain unseen, they get a huge bonus on their attack turn. In this respect, the line of sight system works wonderfully (just as long as you utilise your foot soldiers first). How you manoeuvre the map, is completely up to you. But it doesn’t come without consequences, as you traverse the landscape it becomes more about which troops are expendable to you, as you swim through shark infested waters.
This game is a no risk no reward type, and as such, taking risks in this game you never are sure what the complete outcome will be. The AI is competent in being prepared for the dice roll though, and while this never feels unfair, the game does get predictable in the sense you can figure out where the tanks will be sat waiting for you.
Hats off to Battle Academy for not boring us with cut scenes of the WWII story we have heard in about 10,000 variations though. Instead of all that we are graced with a quaint little comic book style opening/loading screen. I commend Battle Academy for this, at this point the WWII story has been used so many times it’s become a drowning whale in the gaming universe for me personally. So in this case it’s a “Thank you for not sharing” situation.
Now with all the above being said and done, this game shines bright in one aspect above all – its skirmish mode. Once I had finished ploughing through the pre-made maps/campaign segments. You can spread your wings and take flight into your own generated worlds. How they are generated is your choice with a number of variables to choose from, most notable being map size and cover sparsity/density over the area. This mode to me is what truly makes this game in all honesty. I felt more than happy to play this over the out of the box campaign, because you can make a map that suits your tactical style or something completely different which makes you move outside your comfort zone.
I can see this games appeal to people who often play TBS games and war fanatics alike. It’s very two tier in the sense that you can play casually, or you can go to the very bones and learn the game inside out. It offers enough flesh for casual players like me to bounce on and bounce off. This back with a really strong skirmish mode makes for a lot of re-playability as you decide what does, and doesn’t work for you. This game truly is strategy down to its core.
Available Now on Steam HERE