We are used to the fact that when it comes to World War II, be it films, TV series, books, or video games, the plot is always centered on brave heroes, preferably Soviet or at least American ones, who are ready to give their lives to defeat evil. But the authors of this project decided to tell a different story based on simpler and more understandable human motives. And although the plot in War Mongrels is clearly inferior in importance to the gameplay, it gives the game a special charm, thanks to which you most likely will not empathize with the main characters. Still, you will get the pleasure of passing through a wagon and a small cart.
⚠️ A pre-alpha version of the game was submitted for review – for this reason, points for bugs and minor flaws were not deducted.
Hit, run or hide
The game, without any doubt, pleased with its gameplay component, although, of course, the developers did not show anything fundamentally new. For example, opponents who usually either watch or patrol locations have a viewing radius that it is better not to fall into – they will immediately raise the alarm (or not immediately, if the difficulty level is minimal). There are also classic tactical tricks in the spirit of throwing a stone so that the sentry would come up and see where the sound came from, and you will kill him from behind at that moment. Sometimes it looks rather comical, but for this genre, such tactics are the norm.
And it is on this that most of the gameplay is built – you find yourself in a location that is literally teeming with enemies while you need to get into the thick of things and, at the same time, preferably not die. Accordingly, the player has several options for the development of events, which directly depend on the passage style. I like to go through everything quietly, destroying the maximum number of enemies – I feel so corny comfortable because I don’t have to look around and think who is patrolling behind constantly. But if you wish, you can kill at least the sentries, quietly sneaking into the rear.
During the first announcements, there was information from foreign media that the levels can be completed without even killing anyone, but I can’t imagine how this is possible. In addition, in addition to standard tricks (in the spirit of whistling and attracting the attention of a sentry), gamers need to consider the peculiarities of their main characters. For example, one soldier, for some reason, reminds me more of a sophisticated killer – he can throw a ticking clock, whistle, and stuff like that, while the second is more like Rambo, who can kill several enemies in a radius at once. And the third can climb walls at all. All of this has to be taken into account when planning the battle and plotting the route, and it’s exciting.
Technically, the game also has a combat mode in which characters can take weapons and go stupidly to kill enemies. But there are two things worth noting here. Firstly, the battle mode, for some reason, works somehow crookedly for me, periodically calling up the normal walking mode. Secondly, in a shootout, when there are more enemies, there is a high probability that one character will die (this is a defeat). And if he does not die, he will receive so much damage for the fight that it will still be necessary to act covertly after that. And, to be honest, this is not a game at all in which you want to kill everyone to their full height.
Dumb to the point of disgrace but very sighted
In general, I don’t have many complaints about artificial intelligence, but they are fundamental. First, in some situations, opponents demonstrate an abyss of stupidity. For example, you can lie in the bushes (they supposedly hide you from the sight of the enemy) and kill the enemy with a rifle. And the soldiers who stand nearby, seeing the bullet tracer and hearing the sound, will look around or kill comrade. We make another shot, and the danger search script is restarted – the remaining enemy again stands and turns his head. And it happens that after a single shot at an enemy, around which there is no one at all, opponents begin to clump together.
Secondly, the AI, although it is flexibly tuned to the sounds and the radius in which they are emitted, at the same time, you can safely kill the sentry in an open clearing, and the enemies will continue to speak. But that’s another thing, there is also a third point – I killed the enemy, the enemies noticed me through the fence, but since I had not yet reached the checkpoint and the gate opening function was not available, the enemies crowded at the gate and stood still. Is it logical? Not really. But then, when the gates opened, they ran at my glorious warriors, although the alarm had already subsided, and it seemed like it was possible to move on calmly.
No heroism … or is it?
I honestly liked the storyline. More precisely, not the story itself, because it has not yet been fully told, but how unique and non-standard it is. The protagonists are not really heroes at all – they are soldiers who deserted from the German army at the end of World War II. They are not interested in the common good. They do not save the world and do not set themselves any great goals. No, everything is much simpler. The main characters are interested, first of all, in their life, and for the sake of it, they are ready to go to some pretty terrible things – to roll their necks and stab the enemy with a knife, whoever he is, and this is not even half of their atrocities.
Because of this, at first, the story seems somehow simple and even boring – what can be fascinating about two guys who escaped from the army and want to go home? Only gradually will our team evolve – a new character will appear who will lure into the partisans. The deserters themselves will suddenly demonstrate human qualities, going to risk their lives to save civilians. Gradually, the story and the characters themselves are revealed, but, of course, it’s too early to speak without a full-fledged storyline. But I really liked the plot of the plot, it is served cool, and the heroes are alive.
Together is more fun and easier.
At first, the developers were very pleased that they implemented the cooperative passage in the game, and then they were just as much disappointed. The fact is that at the moment, the game is in the alpha stage, so some functions are unavailable, as well as the lion’s share of the plot. So the cooperative was also not delivered – the menu item is not available, so we were not allowed to play together, but some wanted to. Moreover, there is still a significant drawback of this solution – the cooperative is only on the network, so you have to force your friend to buy the game to complete the tasks together. This is a disadvantage since, theoretically, the offline mode would also be quite convenient here.
On the other hand, I have little idea that someone would play this release in co-op. You need to understand that there is a skinny line between a safe shelter and a raised alarm, between a clean, calm passage and an attempt to hide from gunfire. Accordingly, in a cooperative, you will have twice as many chances of dying if you have a smart plan, since either a friend will come out ahead of time, or you will shoot at that moment while a friend is not in cover. However, we will be able to check how it works only after a full release.
The only but rather a serious drawback is the save system – in fact, it is not in the game. You start a huge level, go through certain stages while the game is automatically saved at checkpoints. But if suddenly you decide to go out and go about business, or the game crashes (I had it twice), then you cannot load from the last save – you can only start the chapter again. And given that the chapter takes a lot of time to complete, this seems like an incredible problem.
And I also had a wild situation, when about 80% of the game bugged level – it was impossible to take dynamite. I thought that I would boot from the last point and try again, but no, the last point was saved with a bug, and I had to start the whole level from the very beginning. That’s just terrible. But, here, it is worth recalling that this is a very early version of the game, so you should not expect perfect work from it, and all these bugs, of course, will be corrected for release. But whether it will be possible to save and load the save is not yet entirely clear since there is no such button in the main menu.
War Mongrels, if you close your eyes to a few unpleasant moments with saving and bugs, I really liked – the setting and storyline evoke a storm of emotions, and this is a great rarity, the gameplay is varied and multifaceted, the characters are charismatic, the locations surprise every time, the battle planning mode allows you to build a crazy chain of actions. All this really brings pleasure, allowing you to try on the skin of deserters who, during a brutal war, found themselves between two fires but at the same time completely want to survive and are ready to do anything for this. This simplicity of the story against the backdrop of flexible gameplay can give you a lot of fun if you love tactics and strategy.
- many options for passing;
- beautiful graphics;
- excellent optimization;
- clear gameplay with many interactive elements;
- quite a decent AI behavior;
- abundance of locations.
- noise mechanics sometimes spoil the atmosphere;
- no localization in Russian;
- you cannot save the game and load it later;
- periodic crashes happen;
- the game bugs very often;
- not entirely clear save mechanics.