Hands On: Frontlines

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The stalemate on the Western Front was caused by the devastating power of technology that defended the trenches. Barricades, bunkers, and wide belts of barbed wire stopped all advances in their tracks and thus began the stalemate in the trenches. Some assaults were able to capture areas or the first defensive lines, but the counterattack drove both sides to exhaustion and this became a war of attrition that could last forever.

At the Battle of Verdun and at the Somme, Allied commanders anticipated the breakthrough that would make the war mobile once again. A mobile war could free the men from the trenches and end the war in one final battle. The Central Powers knew that their economies would soon collapse and they would have to be ready for an all-out assault in 1918, the Russian Empire bowed out of the war in 1917 due to the Bolshevik Revolution. The Allies knew that would be a matter of time before the scale would tip in their favor and with the Americans soon to arrive, the Allies would break the German defenses. As it turned out, there was a breakthrough and soon the war would become mobile once again.

The war became mobile during the Spring Offensive of 1918 and the One Hundred Days Offensive that began at Amiens. After the war became mobile, holding on to capture ground was a challenging task for both the Allies and the Central Powers, the new game mode of Frontlines mixes Conquest and Rush in a head-on engagement to move the Frontline forwards or backwards, during the first phrase each side fights for control over a set of objectives and only one objective is activated and if you manage to conquer the objective, allows your side to move up to the enemy base. Once either faction loses the flag objectives, they must retreat and defend the telegraphs that are inside the base. Artillery can be called in to give the defenders a boost and the phrase ends once the telegraphs are destroyed, or when the attackers run out of tickets for reinforcements. A failed telegraph attack will result in the attackers falling back to the initial flag objective where the both sides will continue fighting to gain access to their respective bases. The match ends when the telegraph posts are destroyed or time runs out.

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I’m not really that enthusiastic about Frontlines, the structure is based around Rush and Conquest and has a feel of Operations. But unlike Operations, Frontlines is symmetrical. The map is cut into three halves, with points A and C at opposite ends and with B smack dab in the middle. The control points have to be taken in sequence, one at a time. If your team manages to capture A, B, and finally C, the map enters the “finale” phrase where you must enter the enemy base and destroy the two telegraph points and if you run out of tickets, you are repelled and must fall back to capture point C and continue fighting.

It’s a setup that’s complicated that could produce a style of tug of war then Conquest, which is chaotic and scattered. That sounds great on paper, but I played three matches and I didn’t really like it. It’s not Operations or 64 player Conquest, but because everyone is focused on one capture point at a time, players multiply by the dozens as they spawned on a squadmate and got diminished by all sorts of grenades and also I think that Operations does alot of things that Frontlines does much better or exceeds them.

TSNP ( They Shall Not Pass.) is very exciting, I like the maps, I like the weapons, and I like the inclusion of the French Republic in the game. I feel like this is just a hint at what we’re going to be getting in future expansions, like in the Name of the Tsar which releases later this year. Make sure to check out my review of TSNP coming soon.

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3 thoughts on “Hands On: Frontlines

    1. I would like to see the Americans get their own expansion. We are somewhat underrepresented in the game with only two maps attached to our army, but I can see why they might not do it but I would like to see some battles that we participated in get into the game.

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