Tanks Very Much
The speed of the action in the game is made slightly more user-friendly with the ability to slow down and completely stop time in order for lots of orders to be carried out at once. This proves to be an essential tactic at points when you are completely inundated with enemy units. When your objective would usually fall apart as you panic in the heat of the moment, you can instead take it slow, keep calm and overcome most situations.
Each mission attempts to be varied through the use of different objectives and alternative ways to tackle them. Unfortunately, this is a thin disguise for the fact that nearly every mission is a case of get from point A to point B destroying everything that moves in the process. Then the typical way to complete these objectives is to simply send all your units in, in the hope that a few survive in order to reach the objective.
The campaign is relatively non-linear with the user being presented with a strategic map where there is a choice of a few missions to tackle next. This lacks all kinds of historical integrity and will disappoint most World War II purists who would hope to accurately follow the events of the war, rather than tackle it in any order. But on the other hand, it means the campaign is quite open-ended - so if there is a particularly difficult mission, you can always come back to it later.
Between missions there is also the opportunity to upgrade your army with the addition of Commanders, who can be placed in control of regular infantry, assault infantry, medium tanks and field artillery to name but a few. Once a commander is placed in control of a unit he can then be promoted to gain the unit further skills.
For example, a commander over regular infantry will allow them to throw grenades, then with the first promotion they can ‘entrench’ in the battlefield, the second promotion allows them to throw multiple grenades and once and the final promotion gives them a ‘caution’ stance, making sure they are very alert when advancing into enemy forces so that they have the upper hand. These upgrades are an interesting touch to the gameplay and allow you to build your forces to benefit your personal playing style.
The hopeless AI in Fall of the Reich does not assist the game in getting out of the rut of its extreme difficulty. Units are so unresponsive that on one occasion a tank simply stopped moving in the middle of the battlefield (whilst the rest of its squad continued forward) and merely refused to go anywhere or do anything even when it was given new orders. More generally, the infantry will try to make ‘death’ the top of their to-do list by any means necessary.
This involves them refusing to stay on the ground or listen the order that you had just given them, and instead running straight into the tracks of a tank. They will also not always automatically attack back at an enemy when they are being attacked, leading to your units being mere target practice for the opposition. This can lead to very annoying circumstances as your reinforcement tally gradually diminishes.