Making History: The Calm & the Storm Review

History is a mixed bag; you either like it or hate it. We all remember rolling our eyes when learning about someone fighting someone else in a history class, but the eventual move to other conventional ‘fun’ means has made it appealing. Successful board games, TV documentaries and even video games have gotten their grace of teaching history to the masses. Making History: The Calm & the Storm fits in this mold and is quite an endeavor to play; it is filled with tons of history wazoo that’ll surely make most people either cringe or weep. But of course, too many history facts may result in a loss of the uninterested. This game is a turn-based strategy game, in which you control various countries on a flat map and take turns carrying out your new historic escapade during World War II.

First up, the tutorial, though necessary, is quite a hair-puller. Recommending (and taking) a good 20-30 minutes, I probably haven’t had one of these in-depth sessions since high school. Nonetheless, it is pretty thorough and will get you on your feet. First up is the game’s interface; it’s very important since it takes up a lot of the screen and is the base of how to run your countries. On the right side of the interface you have five buttons that basically handles all of your politics. For example, the policy button shows your policies with other countries while the Manages & Build Forces button does, what else but manage and build your forces!

Afterwards, you’re taught how to fight. Selecting your appropriate army unit and attacking an enemy unit is as simple as a right click. A little explosion icon underneath the trifling units will appear and a small battle menu will appear on the right. Victory or defeat is dependent on the country’s power. If a country has allies, they can come and help during a fight, so plan wisely. Note that you won’t actually see any fighting so be prepared to hear some sound effects and watch some meager animations. Overall, controlling your units, and even all the controls themselves, is generally pretty easy.

The game begins with you choosing from three starting points that start you in your place in history: July 1936, September 1939, or August 1940. Each time period has its differences; for example starting in July 1936 allows you to prepare yourself a little early on since it’s before the war while starting later in August 1940 may be a bit risky since by then, you’re knee-deep into the war.

After that, you choose a specific country to represent and you’re set off into the war. Early on, you can propose treaties with other countries, which can range from help from other countries in the form of resources and supplies to peace treaties in the event war comes around and you want to avoid it. Germany can invade your home country of Czechoslovakia, for example, and you can try to establish some treaties before getting destroyed: peace with no terms, peace with concessions, or peace with demands. Even after choosing which treaty to apply, you can set other options like join Germany’s alliance or cede from the attached territory.

The game’s playing map resembles your standard board game and it displays the game well. Sometimes, icons can crowd up a country but overall, this is probably the best way to display the world map while remaining useful and readable. The camera responded well and was easy to swing around and get right into the action if necessary. As for the general visuals, this is a turn-based strategy game. You won’t be expecting anything spectacular but Making History still retains some of its own individuality. A graphical unit represents all the icons in the game with its own little animation. So you’ll see oil pumps creaking, factories with smoke coming from its smokestack and your country’s flag waving in the wind on top of your capitol.

As for multiplayer, it may be a little hard to find some servers up; when I went to check, there were only a couple. There isn’t a game lobby, either. Finding the maximum amount of players (8) can be pretty hard, let alone finding just one. Nonetheless, playing offline can be rewarding and also time consuming. Since the game is turn-based, you have all the time in the world to plan out your moves. One criticism is that why wasn’t play by e-mail offered instead?

Playing Making History is just like history itself; it requires a lot of time and effort, you learn a lot and can receive a lot of knowledge out of it. On the downside, the game can turn away a lot of people because of the high learning curve and the big time commitment. Nonetheless, the game is a solid strategy game filled with plenty of information. There may be some downtime while playing the game as you progress through some of the dry months but once the action kicks in, it can get pretty hectic. Pick this up for the knowledge and experience but beware of the difficulty.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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