Absolutely Games Classified France '44 PS5 Review Classified France '44 Review Classified: France '44 Classified: France '44 PS5 PlayStation PS5 Review Sony Team17

Classified: France ’44 Review (PS5) – Vive La Resistance

Classified: France ’44 Review (PS5) – World War II and strategy videogames go together as well as the bond between the British and the French. This is to say they’re a harmonious pairing despite the requirement for you to understand them first.

Team17 knows about odd pairings, seeing as they are the developers behind the much-loved PS1 classic Worms and its sequels. These classics decided to fuse strategy games with miniscule invertebrates who can carry an arsenal of weapons and make silly child-like noises.

Developed by debutants Absolutely Games, their latest effort Classified: France ’44 tells the story of a band of French resistance fighters aiming to repel the encroaching Nazi occupation in the lead-up to D-Day in the year 1944.

While there may not be any silly Nazi worms with giddy pencil moustaches this time out, you do get to command a bunch of cheesy one-lining Frenchmen, but is Classified: France ’44 a forward-thinker in the turn-based strategy genre, or is it plagued by inscrutability?

Classified: France ’44 Review (PS5) – Vive La Resistance

French Cheese

If you want a deep engrossing yarn in Classified, you aren’t going to get it, but there is some nice exposition in the form of illustrated cutscenes that spring up between missions in the campaign.

These illustrations won’t make you tear up as these brave soldiers regale you with their wartime plights as they sought to repel the Nazi incursion of their French homeland, but the pencil-sketched presentation of each of the characters’ stories are pleasant and are a unique way to immerse you into the context of this unfolding conflict.

The characters themselves aren’t anything to write home to your loved ones about, their most prolific trait is spewing cheesy one-liners, sometimes using plain French and other times blurting goofs in ye olde English.

They’re a jolly bunch of French and Englishmen, and the cheesy dialogue of your comrades is a refreshing reminder of the nonchalant cheesy videogame dialogue of many 80s and 90s games. It gives an air of humour to proceedings in spite of the seriousness inherent within the World War II subject matter.

When you’ve got an English toff on your squad named Tom “Crown” King who makes tea his brothers in arms would rather spit out than consume, you can tell the developers wanted some light-heartedness to coincide with the business of liberating occupied France.

Also, unlike its contemporaries in the turn-based strategy genre, Classified does give its motley crew of characters a diverse array of traits, skills, personalities, and stories, which allows Classified to differentiate itself from the generic grunt archetypes of its contemporaries.

The strategy game influences Classified adheres to mirror the X-COM franchise, where you directly control each party member in real time by indicating where in the battlefield they’re positioned, and issuing commands to them so you can flank and eliminate Nazi soldiers as they come swooping into view.

Resistance fighters are selectable via a dropdown menu, and a horizontal sidebar for you to choose how you want your highlighted combatant to act.

The range of choices at your disposal including throwing grenades to flush out groups of Nazi scumbags, donning a knife to gut them where they stand, or you can lay down an area of attack, so if the Nazis dare enter that zone they’ll automatically become vulnerable to rattling gunfire.

Unlike X-COM, Classified won’t alienate players with stiff difficulty spikes, allowing you to learn how to play the game, and offering up multiple difficulty settings to make the experience as easy-going or as a tough as you’d like.

This flexibility is welcoming in a genre that’s too often geared towards ramping up the challenge once you know the lay of the land, which highlights Classified’s dedication towards easing players whilst providing a stiff challenge only to those who may crave it.

During the first level of Classified France ’44 you’re guided by tutorials that allow you to learn the ropes comfortably without making you feel overwhelmed by all the options at your disposal.

Afterwards, the training wheels come off. You should however have enough knowledge to ride through the missions as you see fit by organizing and customizing your squad’s loadout, sending them into a conflict, and completing the necessary objectives within each level before a highlighted green zone shows up on the map, where you can rally to escape and thus complete your mission.

Command And Conk-Out Those Nazis

Classified nails down three kinds of missions- Stealth, Ambush and Assault, each requiring a different approach in order to complete, and the objectives you need to complete are markedly different too.

Assault missions start you in combat, and often times you’ll need to retrieve schematics, sabotage key structures, and of course take the fight to the Nazis head-on with no surcease.

Ambush is about taking the enemy by surprise, usually by combining elements of assault and stealth, where you start by quietly picking off enemies, but going loud once an awareness meter has been filled up-which can be thrilling when you can unleash bedlam knowing that you’ve already weakened the Nazis using quieter tactics.

Lastly, Stealth is all about staying as vigilant and quiet as possible, whilst utilizing a knife to dispatch Nazis, and trying your best to gain access to areas without making any noise.

Stealth missions may require you to break windows or snip barbed wire which can expose you and force you into a state of vulnerability, but you do gain access to throwable pebbles if you’ve got the required sneaking skill, so you are afforded a few resources you can use to distract the enemy.

By far the best and hassle-free way to play Classified is through assaulting head-on. Sure, it’s really satisfying to get through missions without a peep from the Nazis, but taking them on full-force and leaving bodies in your wake is always upfront chaos at its best.

Not to mention that reveling in it by getting your hands dirty is always more gratifying than being patient and slow knowing that any time you can be spotted and well-laid plans go up in smoke. You don’t need to fret about assaulting targets because they’re right in front of you and all you need to do is take them out.

With regards to all mission types, you need to be aware that Nazis can come out of nowhere to attack you, but you can monitor them by tracking their blaring red soundwaves.

Nazis can be very sneaky in Classified, so be prepared for any measly tactics they may use, and cover all sides as well as you can, making sure you look after every member of your squad and providing them with health and ammunitions when they need them.

Though it is really odd that you have to command your squad to reload their weapons-a superfluous requirement that doesn’t add anything but a momentary lull in the action.

One sparkly new feature Classified brings to the war table is the Morale system. If disposing of Nazi scourge the regular way is too plain Jane for your liking, then you have the option to break their fighting spirit instead.

There’s nothing quite as gratifying in a strategy game than watching the enemy lose their confidence and deciding to run away with their limber tails between their legs, and Classified makes it entirely possible for your crew to overwhelm and stifle the Nazis into submission.

Occupational Hazards

Managing your squad is a crucial component of Classified, which can help boost your overall morale, as well as the strength and resolve of your units. There are target objectives you’ll need to complete to boost your units and organize your operations on the overview map.

You need to look after your men, and the best way to do this is to monitor their health and ensuring they’re well-prepared for the missions they’ll be undertaking. Those responsible for completing tasks won’t be assigned into battle, they’ll be working to ensure that their other unassigned brethren are patched up, and they’ll generally be taking care of matters away from the battlefield.

If management in videogames aren’t your thing, Classified isn’t too strict about whether or not you’re any good with this side of the game, but do keep in mind that investing time and energy into managing your men will yield dividends on the battlefield.

Sure, it can be a pain to keep track of every last resistance fighter, but by doing this you’re building a formidable front to your war effort, so don’t let these soldiers go to waste, even if their verbose quips may make you want to spend less time with them.

There’s nothing like controlling a war by effectively commanding and overseeing everything playing out. It’s an empowerment few videogames genres have, and here with Classified it does a good solid job of making your input matter, which is all that really matters when it comes to taking back France from the invading Nazi worms.

Visually and audibly, Classified does an unremarkable but serviceable job of immersing you in its brand of strategic warfare. The battlegrounds you’ll wage war in aren’t particularly memorable and sport similar features to each other, but the thrill of eliminating Nazis does a whole lot more than what the graphics and presentation are able to accomplish.

The musical compositions by Ian Livingstone do a good job of establishing the nitty gritty tensions of war, and the pieces don’t overwhelm or overtake the action as much as they do by complementing it all.

Classified: France ’44 is now available on PS5.

Review code generously provided by PR.



The Final Word

As a relatively modest strategy title, Classified: France '44 accomplishes much more than you might think considering its rather low-key pre-release reception. Anybody who is up for a good lean tactical strategy game is in for quite a treat here, as Classified delivers an experience that gives you a good hearty taste of what a simple and effective strategy game should be, while adding new and forward-thinking features that address some of the qualms of the genre. The new Morale system is a novel new mechanic that adds a layer of depth to strategy, the missions are good and place emphasis on smart strategic play, and although the story and personalities fall short, the illustrated cutscenes are an admirable embellishment that gives Classified its own distinctive panache. Classified might seem rather plain and ordinary to many, and yes it does represent itself in that fashion, but underneath there is a compelling and satisfying strategy title here that's worth a look for anybody who is intrigued and wants to get rid of hordes of virulent Nazi scum in L'Hexagone.