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XCOM 2 reimagined as a brutal WW2 strategy game, available to try now

XCOM 2, Company of Heroes 3, and a little Hearts of Iron come together for a stellar new Steam strategy game you can try out today.

Classified France '44 Steam: A soldier from new Steam strategy game Classified France '44

XCOM 2 is eight years old already. The terrifying small-scale strategy game remains, perhaps, the best of its kind. But a new rival, that blends the WW2 authenticity of Company of Heroes and Hearts of Iron with Firaxis’ trademark turn-based tension is enough to give XCOM a run for its money. Launching soon, and published by the legendary Team17, of Hell Let Loose, Trepang, and Blasphemous 2 fame, if you like high-stakes strategy, white-knuckle decision making, dizzying victories, and crushing defeats, this is one for you.

Classified France ‘44 is like XCOM 2 if it was dropped behind enemy lines during the Second World War. A strategy game where you control a single squad, like the Firaxis classic, your job is to capture solitary enemy positions, clear out buildings, and make way for the larger ground force during the opening hours of D-Day. You’re not steamrolling through villages and towns with a tank army, or storming the beaches as part of a grand invasion. Classified France ‘44 is fought yard by yard, as you carefully maneuver each of your soldiers to achieve stealthy sabotage missions and ambushes. Ahead of the Classified France ‘44 release date, this is definitely one to try on Steam.

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My first mission, for example, is to liberate a French Resistance contact, Belanger, who is pinned down by a small German contingent in southern Picardie. My squad consists of just two soldiers, who I slowly move into an attacking position behind a collection of sandbags.

Each of my commandos has a special skill, which gradually cools down and recharges after every use. ‘Rally’ for instance is a vital ingredient for Classified’s morale system. If your soldiers are being shot at, even if they’re in cover, their morale will begin to drain, affecting their accuracy, ability to move, and other stats. Rally boosts their morale back up, so you can stay mobile and effective even while under fire.

I set one guy onto overwatch (like XCOM, if anyone crosses his path during the upcoming turns, he will fire on them) and the other to throw a grenade. The explosion prompts a pair of German troopers to run into the open and try to find fresh cover, allowing soldier number one to gun them down.

Classified France '44 Steam strategy game: Soldiers executing tactics in Steam strategy game Classified France '44

The more I play, the more I’m encouraged to use different weapons and abilities to counter different threats. Firing on an enemy using your sidearm, for example, will break them out of overwatch status, allowing you to cross in safety. Using the ‘Snipe’ skill reduces the strength of an enemy’s cover and boosts your chance of a critical hit. Like the very best moments of XCOM 2, Classified France ‘44 starts to feel like an intense game of chess, or a deckbuilder but with big-budget pyrotechnics.

You can try Classified France ‘44 today on Steam – just head right here. Methodical, punishing, and focused entirely on strategic thinking and moving, if you miss XCOM, this is the perfect one for you.

Alternatively, you can get some of the other best RTS games, or maybe the best 4X games available on PC.

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