Monday, May 14, 2012

Conflict of Heroes - Awakening the Bear!: PC Review (Part 2)

Version Reviewed: 1.1 (release version)
What I like: Approachable but detailed rules, engaging back and forth turns, manageable number of units and map size. As a whole the UI is good.
Not So Much: Some trouble determining line of sight from unoccupied hexes.
Other stuff you may like: Multiplayer via lobby, tcpip and hotseat. Editor for user-created firefights.
The Verdict: B+ (very good) – Potential to become an ‘A’ level game with an update
About my reviews

Official site:
Conflict of Heroes - Awakening the Bear

Disclaimer: This review is based on a free review copy provided by Matrix Games.

Part I
If you haven’t read Part I, now is a great time to do so! Part 2 only adds a little to my original review.

It’s very rare that I give multiplayer a try, but I accepted the offer of James Allen from Out of Eight. We only had 30 minutes to play as I had Dad duties to get to. Connecting to the multiplayer lobby took a couple minutes, which seemed rather so. Once we were in it was smooth sailing. James set up the game and I joined in. The turn system in Conflict of Heroes shines in multiplayer since the back and forth action keeps the players engaged and not idle for long. Chat messages display in the log and also in large font at the top of the screen to get the player’s attention. Being able to engage a human instead of the AI should be a perk for those who play online more frequently than I do.

I typically don’t create content for the games I play and I’m sure Conflict of Heroes won’t break that tradition. After a brief glance the editor seems powerful, but don’t expect to jump right in and start pumping out custom firefights. The user must create a basic map in a paint program, with each pixel representing one map hex. Colors define the map features. The editor then will import the map to generate one that can be manipulated by the user. I feel that someone reasonably computer literate and motivated to create content could do so using this process after a moderate learning curve. Remember that this opinion is only based on a brief look.

In The End...
I have spent a bit more time with the game and feel I have exercised the complete array of mechanics. Conflict of Heroes is derived from an award winning board game design which gives it a different feel than many other tactical level wargames. I enjoyed playing a game which approaches a much visited period in a slightly new way. The tutorials do an excellent job introducing the game. Don’t let the Monsters tutorial campaign discourage you as it is very difficult. If you can’t crack that nut, which I haven’t, feel free to move on to the main firefights. The mechanics are simple to pick up, but the scenarios require some smart play. I only noticed a handful of AI moves that I thought were questionable. The biggest was when it shelled its own units multiple times with planned artillery strikes in the General Petrov firefight. Artillery strikes instill a sense of fear as they can wreak havoc in an instant. Managing your units’ APs, your forces CPs, special action cards and the order in which you perform actions give aspiring leaders much to consider.

Conflict of Heroes was very close to joining Unity of Command as my top rated game. A couple UI niggles held it back. The biggest problem I have is the inability to check the LOS from hexes my units don’t occupy. Mainly due to changes in altitude I sometimes had difficulty predicting the LOS my units would have if they moved to a hex, or the line of sight an enemy unit has to a particular hex. I also have some minor difficulty selecting infantry units when stationed in forests or occupying the same hex as another unit.  This problem can be mitigated by toggling off terrain features with the T hotkey, or using the +/- keys to cycle through units. Still, it would be nice if the player didn’t have to do this.

Even with the above niggles (how often do we get to use the word niggles in everyday conversation?) I recommend Conflict of Heroes to players enjoying tactical battles. Due to the excellent tutorials and manageable unit counts, even players new to this type of game probably won’t feel overwhelmed. Some of the scenarios start to get up there in unit count (20-40?), which is more than I prefer, but after getting comfortable with the mechanics shouldn't be too overwhelming. If the developers are able to add a line of sight tool (and I think it likely they will in a future update), this may join Unity of Command at the top of my current review heap.

Score: B+ (Very Good) Potential to become an ‘A’ level game with an update


  1. hey, just a suggestion, why not put all the games you have assigned a score to the scoring list on the left of the page? Would be easier for readers to pick up good games.

  2. I was considering putting a game review index up. I will do so when I get the chance. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Hello Rob,

    Have recently found your blog and I must say you are doing a fine job! Since I am a dad too, with little free time, I feel you :)

    I have read the review and found it very helpful and nicely done. Now that there is a 1.5 update of the game, are you going to re-review it?

    Thank you for sharing your reviews with us!

    1. Hi Thimios,

      I'm pleased you like the site, hopefully my reviews will be useful to you.

      I'll have to take a look at the 1.5 update and see what changes they made. I probably won't re-review it. I played it pretty heavily while reviewing so I need to take a breather from it - one of the drawbacks to reviewing a game. I will surely play it again as it is a very good game, but I'm not sure when.

      Thanks for your comments