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ups: Cool campaign modes ratchet up difficulty appropriately, nice cutscenes
downs: Not another WWII game(!), pretty difficult even from the start, toughest campaign is French?

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Rush for Berlin Review
game: Rush for Berlin
four star
posted by: Sean Hilliard
publisher: Paradox Interactive
developer: Stormregion
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ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 06:47 PM Wed Jun 21st, 2006
last revision: 06:34 PM Wed Jun 21st, 2006

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Click to read.You\'d think that developers would run out of ideas for the much-lampooned World War II market in video games. Heck, they\'ve even started looking at making stuff up about it, like zombie nazis (see Bloodrayne or Ubersoldier) and alien invasions (Resistance: Fall of Man). I mean, come on. If you\'re going to make a WWII game, at least make it somewhat realistic. Everyone knows that the first zombies weren\'t discovered until voodoo hit Haiti and that zombies weren\'t imported to Europe until much later. If you\'re going to make a supernatural WWII game, at least throw in some vampires and werewolves.

And speaking of vampires and werewolves, that\'s exactly what you WON\'T find in Rush for Berlin, a real-time strategy game published by Paradox Interactive - \"Where strategy matters.\" Or is it \"is important\"? Nevertheless, strategy is key to Paradox Interactive, but not \"first\" - that\'s another strategy game publisher. Do you see how easy it is to tell that there\'s too many war-related strategy games out there? I can\'t even keep the publishers\' names straight. However, I do like Paradox Interactive because they have the cojones to put out another WWII game, and it\'s a game that\'s actually pretty decent. No, even better - it\'s pretty darn good.

Rush for Berlin has four campaigns, based on the three military forces involved in the war, the Allies, Russia and Germany. Oh, and France. Now, I know what you\'re thinking - France? WTF! But it gets even more rich. France is the toughest campaign, and you don\'t get to don the lame blue uniform and beret until you unlock it first after beating parts of the other campaigns. Yeah. France should have barely made the tutorial, but here we are earning it. And don\'t ask how fast I got annihilated trying to play this last campaign. Let\'s just say, \"Sacre bleu, c\'est speedy!\"

Frankly, Rush for Berlin is hard. I know I\'m always trying to play the \"man this game is hard\" card, but seriously, developers just don\'t seem to get it. Can you imagine some poor gamer\'s parents trying to pick up one of these games and play it? Oh, I know there are lots of older wargamers out there, but casual ones? Nuh-uh. I\'m surprised some of the harder campaigns in Rush for Berlin don\'t have trench foot and lockjaw as communicable attacks in the game - because it seemed like my soldiers were playing like they were suffering from them. Sure, maybe it was just me, but I doubt it.

The whole campaign process makes it worth soldiering through another mission with seemingly impossible odds of victory because you get to see the map slowly fill up with your soldiers\' color and territory shade.

The missions are relatively varied and always throw more surprises at you than you expect. For example, just when you\'d think you\'re done with a mission, they give you an additional order or two, or sometimes three. However, as your troops pass missions, they get more experienced, and the game gets a little easier - in theory. However, I still found myself getting the shaft as far as having to constantly restart missions right when I thought I\'d beaten them, seemingly. All because my soldiers have a little problem with staying alive. I think they just need more double rations of vodka. Speaking of which, that really is something in the game. One of the Russian officers has an ability/effect called double ration of vodka, which gives the units near him a morale boost. Not bad, comrade.

Did I mention that Rush for Berlin is super realistic? All of the sound effects and voice acting are in the native speakers\' languages, with captions in English, if necessary. If you pay attention, you can learn how to speak four different languages; however, you\'d most likely just get yourself shot because it is a war game, and the language used isn\'t exactly \"which way to the bathroom\" kind of stuff. Not that the characters swear a lot. Rush for Berlin is rated T for Teen for a reason. The other sound effects in the game are also well-designed and implemented. Planes dropping off bombs and paratroopers sound realistic, just like the sounds of guns going off do, too.

Then there\'s the cutscenes. Not since Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War have I seen a game with this many well-made cutscenes. Which is exactly what the RTS genre needs - more story. I don\'t know about the rest of my wargaming homies out there, but I like a little story with my pulse-pounding action, just like I like icing on my cake.

All in all, Rush For Berlin has been a lot like my experience with the WWII genre as a whole - fun but a little painful. It\'s not perfect, but it\'s pretty darn close.

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