Available: October 2003.
Demo: Available (199 MB)

Silent Storm © Nival / Jowood / Encore
Preview By: Kurt Knudsen

If you haven’t played a turn based game before, you should probably check out some classics, because you are missing out on an incredible genre. For those few that have never played a game like this, you take turns, hence the name. Silent Storm takes your classic turn based game to another level, breaking new grounds and setting a standard for this wildly popular genre. It takes you back into WW2, fighting off the Nazi invasion.

The first thing I noticed when I hopped into this game was the 3d graphics. Everything is 3d, and it looks incredible. The buildings and models look wonderful, and explosions and all that fun stuff are just as remarkable. Be aware, though, this game takes quite a beast to run everything at full blast with FSAA/AF enabled. The maps themselves are quite small. If you run into a lot of enemies, as it is turn based, it takes a little more time. As you progress you uncover more enemies and objectives. This game requires quite a bit of thinking and teamwork to get things done properly; simply exploring on your own is a sure way to get killed.

Another amazing feature are the full blown physics this game offers. My jaw dropped when I first saw the guy fall down, watched his helmet roll off, and watch his body continue to roll down a hill. Additionally, I sniped a man standing behind a glass window. The window shattered, the bullet hit him in the head, penetrated his head and hit what I think was a gas tank, which in turn blew up half the wall. I can go on and on with examples, but I take my word for it when I say the physics in this game are far more than any game has ever offered.

When you start the game you have the choice of a tutorial, campaign, or a custom match. The tutorial lets you get used to the controls and cameras, after that it is pretty self explanatory on what needs to be done. When you do campaign you can create your own character or select one from the lineup. You can really customize your character, from weapon to model to face and voice; they really give you a lot of options to play with.

The game comes with a map editor for all you modders out there. Unfortunately it seemed slightly undocumented, so I'm unable to give you any feedback on how it works. Perhaps with the final version the developers will include some tutorials on how to use it. Either way it’s always nice to see companies release tools for the community to use right off the bat. Modders can dive right in and create some unique and killer levels for the fans to play; personally I can’t wait for some of these to start popping up.

There is a sound track and various sound effects for the game. The music that follows the game is great, to keep it short. There are a few filler sounds, as well as voices; at least I hope they are fillers because they certainly don’t sound right. Overall the sound is what you would expect after seeing the game in action, top notch.

As you progress through each level, you are given a set of objectives that need to be completed in order to get your next objective. You can freely walk the map until you engage in combat, once that happens you start to use Action Points. You can do a lot of stuff during your turn, from moving to reloading to shooting. Everything you do takes a certain amount of AP’s, if you don’t have enough you must end your turn so the enemy may take its turn.
For some that don’t like turn based games, this might be a turn off. When the enemy takes its turn, it is like watching a cut scene; the camera centers on the unit in action and you can watch as he does his little shindig. After the enemies turn is up it is back to you, so on and so forth, for those of you who are familiar with TB games, this is nothing new.

During later levels you can hire people to join your squad, as well as fire them to make room for new people. Depending on the level you are going to play, you will determine what kind of a team you need. This is really where the strategy comes in to play. While you are in combat you need to manage your team as best as possible, as the enemy might concentrate on your one unit and destroy it instantly.

Some enemies can’t be seen or heard, and since the game is based on line of sight, you need to get the advantage of being up-hill from the enemy. If you are being attacked by someone you can’t see or hear, you should position your team so someone can uncover the enemy. The game can get pretty intense and as enemies start to surround you, you will start taking heavy damage.

Overall I must say this game is definitely Game of the Year material. It takes TB games to a new level, surpassing anything that has ever been done before. The game will be on the shelves October 3rd: reserve your copy today, as it might not be there when you show up.

P.S. Remember to check out some exclusive screenshots in our gallery for the title.