Broken Arrow First Impressions – The Future of Wargaming

I haven't felt this good since Command & Conquer: Zero Hour!

Hristijan Pavlovski
Hristijan Pavlovski - Content Writer
5 Min Read
Image via Broken Arrow Page

Broken Arrow recently went into open beta on Steam, and I had a chance to try it out myself. For those out of the loop on what Broken Arrow is, let me give you a quick rundown. Broken Arrows is an upcoming military RTS that focuses heavily on unit customization and player agency. It’s probably one of the most anticipated wargames in years! Let’s see what it’s like.

What’s so Special About Broken Arrow Anyway?

Unit Customization 1
Unit Customization I

The thing that sets Broken Arrow apart from other military RTS of its kind is the amount of unit customization you have when building your unit decks. Games like Wargame, and more recently Warno, also have this feature, but not to the extent that Broken Arrow takes it.

Even though there are only 2 factions available in the open beta, those being the US and Russia, you still have dozens upon dozens of units to choose from, with most of them having their own customization options.

Unit Customization 2
Unit Customization II

Because of this mechanic, the game feels like a toybox filled with random toy parts. You can either create a meta-defining deck, or you can create a meme build to grief others. Regardless of which path you go down, one thing is absolutely certain – the game gives the player an insane amount of tools to mess around with!

It really helped bring out my playstyle, which I enjoyed. And in a way, it kinda reminded me of Command and Conquer: Zero Hour, one of my favorite childhood games. The generals in that game all felt unique and iconic, and because of Broken Arrow, I felt like I had become one of those generals.

How Does it Feel to Play Though?

Broken Arrow Day Map
Day Map Skirmish

It’s really hard to describe how the game feels with words, so I’ll use percentages instead. The game feels 80% realistic and 20% arcade. The developers really tried to be as accurate as they could when recreating the units and their capabilities.

For example, the T-80 in-game shares its real-life counterpart’s quirk of having an atrocious reverse speed. It’s a minor detail that they didn’t have to include and yet they did. This is also true of the other platforms as well as their weapon systems. Every minor detail and quirk of the real-world weapons and vehicles has been studied and recreated in the game.

Broken Arrow Night Map
Night Map Skirmish

But, as I said previously, the game is also 20% arcadey. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, if anything, it even adds to the gameplay experience. There is no unit pool in Broken Arrow as there is in Wargame. Destroyed units don’t get deleted permanently, they just get put on a cooldown.

This mechanic allows you to play more recklessly in some instances, as you don’t have to worry about losing a unit forever. In my opinion, it even promotes an adaptive playstyle. If you attempt a maneuver, and it fails drastically, it’s not the end of the world. Retreat, reorganize, and try a different approach next time.

Because of this rather forgiving mechanic, there are fewer lulls in the course of a match. That’s the biggest shortcoming of games like Wargame where lulls are inevitable. Here, not so much.

It Has Its Problems Though

Strong Boy
Marine With Telekinetic Powers

Broken Arrow is shaping up to be a great game, possibly one of the greatest of its kind. That being said, it still has a long way to go before it can take on that mantle. As it is currently, the game is full of bugs and server issues are the norm.

DCs are rampant and almost everyone is experiencing crashes upon quitting the game. There were also a few visual bugs that I encountered here and there, particularly with the missile trails. Hopefully, the devs will take all the feedback they receive from the open beta and build upon it to make it the best possible game.

What did you think of our first impressions of Broken Arrow? Share your experience with the open beta in the comments below.

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By Hristijan Pavlovski Content Writer
Bachelor of Philosophy and Content Writer. In my free time, I also write fantasy short stories and the odd philosophy book here and there. I’m also an avid fan of strategy games and RPGs.
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