> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
Hello… | Log in or sign up
Classified: France '44 Review

Classified: France '44 Review

When I initially previewed the beta version of Classified: France '44 a few months ago, it left a decent impression on me. Despite a few technical hiccups, it was a fun, turn-based tactical title following a squadron of soldiers on the run-up to D-Day. Has Absolutely Games improved the game in the past six months, and how well does it play on console? Strap on your parachutes, folks; we’re going in!

The game starts out with three paratroopers dropping into occupied France in order to locate a local resistance movement. After one member of the team is separated, the first few missions revolve around trying to locate him while also acting as an extensive set of tutorials. Although the narrative never kept me engaged, it did at least give some context to each mission, as well as furthering the overall plot in the lead-up to D-Day. I just wish more focus was placed on the individuals in the squad to make each of them relatable and likeable. Band of Brothers is perhaps the perfect example of this, fleshing out each character through their own side stories and histories, but it wasn’t enough to put me off playing.


Though graphically, Classified: France ‘44 isn’t incredibly detailed, the isometric perspective hides some of the lower-quality textures. These become more apparent when you zoom in on the action, and although they’re not terrible by any means, a bit more variety would have been appreciated. This is set in the midst of World War II, mind, so the drab and lifeless environments you’ll find yourself in are at least appropriate for the time period; it just all feels very basic. On a positive note: lighting and shadows look great! Red warning lights flashing through narrow corridors when storming a base or the campfire at basecamp casting an eerie glow over your battle-weary group certainly adds to the gloomy, oppressive atmosphere. Unfortunately, the cinematic camera cuts that sometimes occur when firing at enemies will occasionally just be a black screen. It also gets stuck behind objects and walls in the environment, which, due to some of the tight, confined battlefields, will happen quite a lot!

The music is suitably tense and appropriate for the era the game is set in and is the sort of grandiose orchestral themes you’d expect in any World War II-era media. The voice acting, whilst not bad, ranges wildly from straining to hear what characters are saying to having to turn the volume down on my TV in fear of waking someone up at the other end of my street. Allies and enemies will frequently talk over each other, which, admittedly, isn’t unrealistic, but in a videogame it does become irksome when you’re trying to listen to what’s being said.

Technically, the game is a bit of a mess. Whilst I never encountered any hard crashes that occurred during the beta build, it still wasn’t a flawless experience. For instance, the movement animations of soldiers are a bit choppy (especially when crouching), and the camera would sometimes stick in place and not allow me to adjust it. One time, a stealth kill animation just froze mid-attack, causing all enemies to instantly spot me, with the enemy I was targeting taking zero damage. Another enemy that had seemingly been killed then proceeded to move around the battlefield by sliding around as a corpse. Spooky! While it is an improvement from what I played six months prior (although the HUD is still way too cluttered), it’s still not perfect. Here’s hoping for a day-one patch to fix some of these more troublesome issues.

Transitioning from keyboard and mouse controls in the PC preview to this console review was easy enough to adjust to. Controllers are mapped appropriately; the left stick moves your cursor around environments, with the D-pad used to alter the direction and distance of the camera. The left and right shoulder buttons swap which character you’re currently controlling, and the triggers allow you to select what action to perform (shoot, overwatch, and so on). Simple and intuitive enough that it takes no time at all to learn!

The basic mechanics work like most other turn-based strategy games. Each character can move, attack, set up an overwatch position to get the jump on enemies, etc. Once all characters have expended all their ability points, the turn ends (unless you choose to end it manually). The opposition then does the same, back and forth, until one side is wiped out or your objective is completed and you’ve extracted from the map. Although the core gameplay may not win any awards for innovation, Classified: France ‘44 will require a lot from players in terms of planning and forward-thinking. Especially on the higher difficulties, this is no stroll through rural France, and those Nazis are out for blood. Sure, you could save scum and erase any tactical errors (not that I ever did such a thing), but tactical purists will find a good challenge here. Oh, and don’t even get me started on Ironman mode; I wasn’t cut out for that!

The majority of missions will begin with your squad undetected, with a chance to silently take out the first few enemies. Performing stealth takedowns before anyone is alerted to your presence causes the Ambush Meter to increase. As soon as this fills, you’re granted an extra turn, with improved accuracy for all party members until that turn ends. This is worth making the most of, as your four-person squad is often outgunned. Once on the offensive, you’ll need your wits about you to not only ensure none of your team are downed, but also that their morale is kept high! A character that loses all their morale will become “broken”, leaving them unable to move and vulnerable to attack. Should one of your squad members fall in battle, then you can revive them with another character to get them back in the fight.

With a plethora of characters that can bolster your ranks, they each fall into a variety of different classes. Certain soldiers will be able to heal up allies, some can get up close and personal, whilst others are best suited for long-range. With this comes the character upgrade trees, and considering how many potential recruits there are, I was surprised by just how many options are available for each one! Whether you want to focus on specific units and turn them into elite powerhouses by sending them out on missions constantly or send each member on missions equally for a more balanced squad, France ‘44 allows you to fine-tune your party into an effective Nazi-killing death squad.

Between missions, you’ll be able to upgrade character skills, change their equipment, or participate in bonding scenes. These are short conversations between squad mates that not only give you a bit more insight into each character but also improve their stats. You’ll also choose your next missions on the map overview, which in turn increases your relationship with three different factions, granting you more items to purchase from them as your loyalty grows. It was a satisfying gameplay loop to see regions come under my control, granting passive bonuses and permanent upgrades.

Although I did enjoy Classified: France ‘44, the experience was somewhat marred by the frequent technical issues. There’s a fun tactical title to be found here, with some decent replay value if you want to start afresh and tackle different missions and cosy up to a different faction. With that said, it may be worth waiting until a few updates have been released, lest you encounter any undead Nazi corpses as I did. Though, that would make for a great expansion pack!

6.00/10 6

Classified: France '44 (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

A fairly engaging and challenging turn-based tactical game, Classified: France ‘44 is, unfortunately, let down by the frequent bugs and a basic presentation.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

Share this: