War Mongrels Review - A Game of Chess in the Darkest Days of WW2

A must-play for Desperados and Commandos fans!

Almost a year after Mimimi’s Desperados 3, you can now experience another brilliant real-time tactical title from a talented studio. War Mongrels is an unforgiving and difficult game, and you need to think a lot before making a move.

War Mongrels was already one of my anticipated games of this year before launch, and when I first played it, I was almost certain that my anticipation was not in vain.

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In the first few hours, you might think that War Mongrels is going to be a modernized version of Commandos or WW2 iteration of Desperados 3, but over time, the game proves itself as a unique experience and the biggest part of this success comes from the brilliant job that Destructive Creations has done in level design.

War Mongrels feels like a game of chess. When you first look at how the guards have been positioned, it looks impossible to get through them, but the key for progression is being smart. Although you can rush things, that’s probably the hardest way to finish each mission unless there would be no other choice to make.

The level design in War Mongrels is so smart that the time you consume for making a proper plan is more than the time it takes the characters to do it. And, that’s why I love War Mongrels so much. It makes you think a lot before making a move. The game clearly shows you how tough it is to make it out alive when you are outnumbered.

Each character has some unique abilities and will come in handy in various situations. You will unlock new characters as you make progress in the game, and they all unfold their backstories over time. The combat and stealth mechanics of the game is similar to Desperados 3. Every act will make a noise and every opponent will have a sight-meter.

Each mission features a bunch of optional objectives that completing could help you finish the main tasks easier, however, it would already consume a lot of time to figure out how to finish each quest, whether it’s optional or not.

War Mongrels is unforgiving, and I like to call it a tactical Dark Souls. A small delay, misplacement, or any other mistake that is not according to your plan could ruin the whole mission. Hopefully, the game uses an almost-instant save and load system, but still, you have to be precise when executing your plans.

Sometimes, what you have done earlier in the mission could have serious consequences for you. So, it’s always recommended to leave no trace and hide the corpse as you can’t predict what’s going to happen next.

Story-wise, War Mongrels focuses on a very special army unit of Nazis in World War 2. You start the game as two deserters from the Nazi army, who end up on the Russian front, and have to somehow survive. While we always hear World War 2 stories from the Allied members, War Mongrels tries to provide a different perspective, which is partially successful. I would’ve liked the story even more if the voice actors for the main characters would talk in German rather than English. Or at least, I wish they had a German accent when talking in English.

War Mongrels looks and plays beautifully. While I saw some players complaining about bugs or technical issues in the game, I didn’t face any game-breaking issues during my experience, except for one. When the first update of the game arrived, it erased all my mid-chapter saves, forcing me to start the latest chapter from the very beginning, which was very disappointing.

Also, I think the real-time tutorials make it a bit hard to keep track of the new tricks. The tutorial videos pop up as a sidebar in bad situations sometimes, and you don’t really know whether to secure your characters from death or check out the tutorial. It could be much more helpful if the game pauses and then you see the tutorials at peace.

When it comes to AI, they are smart enough to react to you even if you appear at the end of their sight-meter when they turn around for half a second. They also react to the dead bodies left on the ground. However, the enemies never react to missing guards. For example, imagine that a guard walks a certain line and at one end of the line talks to a comrade for a few seconds. Now, if you kill his comrade and hide his body, the guard will never look for his missing comrade. A tweak to AI in this particular area could make the game even more realistic.

Summarizing all my thoughts, I think you should give War Mongrels a try if you enjoy tactical games. It’s a well-crafted game, and it deserves to get more attention from real-time tactical fans. If the developers manage to fix the game’s technical issues soon enough with the upcoming update, I can guarantee that War Mongrels won’t let you down!