Classified: France ’44 Review – Countdown To D-Day

Classified: France ’44 is a turn-based strategy game set in the closing days of the Second World War. Fifty-five days before D-Day, players take on the role of strategically placed Allied Forces special operations soldiers tasked with causing chaos, building an army of the French resistance, and preparing occupied France for the Allied invasion. The game had a fantastic theme and made some choices that separated it from many other titles in the genre, but it failed to fully execute its potential and left me wanting more.

I’ll begin by discussing my favorite aspects of Classified: France ’44, which must be the campaign map system and some of the unique choices made in the turn-based combat segments.

Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The game features a campaign map of occupied France’s western portion. Using this map, players engage in missions to liberate portions of France from Nazi control, with each mission awarding the player with guns, soldiers, and uniforms to customize their favorite characters and strengthening the allied factions present in the region. Liberating a faction gives unique bonuses to enhance the campaign, and it’s really satisfying to watch the map slowly wrestle out of Nazi control as the ticking clock toward D-Day counts down.

A few core gameplay elements separate the game’s combat system from other titles in the genre, but morale has to be the most significant of them. Classified: France ’44 uses an interesting morale system to represent the shock of war.

In most games, especially in this genre, getting shot at has little to no effect on a character unless, of course, they’re hit. We, as players, generally expect our action heroes to be just that: Stone-cold, venom-blooded badasses who can shrug off the stress of life-threatening combat like a mood-setting rain off a leather jacket.

Classified France 44 Mg42
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The reality of combat, to my understanding, is much different. The shock of bullets whizzing past your head or even smashing into a hardcover is terrifying. Even the sound of a firearm going off is enough to make you jump a bit, even when you’re expecting it, which is something I know from experience. Knowing that shot was meant for you must be a blood-chilling thought.

In Classified: France ’44, this realistic morale shock is presented by a morale meter that drains every time a character is shot at, whether it hits or not. When below 50% of a character’s morale, they fall under the impression of status effect, afraid to get up and take a shot for fear they might catch one themselves. I’ve never been in the military, but I understand this is exactly how impression works and adds a bit of realism to the game.

At 0% morale, a shell-shocked unit will completely lose a turn for fear of… well, losing their life. I really like this, and I can’t really understand why. Maybe it’s because it gives a real sense of consequence or reward for breaking a soldier’s will to stay in the fight. It could be because it makes the enemies fighting in the game feel more like real people and not just goons willing to die for the chance to inconvenience our heroes. Either way, it was probably the biggest gameplay aspect to stand out to me regarding the actual turn-based combat.

The rest of the turn-based combat is painfully average. It’s passable if incredibly similar to many other titles on the market. It’ll take up lots of time with its cover-based hit chance system. However, the aforementioned moral shock mechanic works as a great way to reward you for taking aim at an enemy even if a shot is missed, making the hit percentage system a little more bearable.

The enemy AI isn’t exactly clever, often finding itself in morale stun loops or getting killed easily. I’ve had instances where the enemy runs right up next to me in a piece of cover, allowing for an easy melee kill. The enemies that feel challenging are made that were artificial, such as the machine gun or “heavy” enemy type, which can’t be stealth killed for some reason. If this was a sci-fi game and they were in some sort of heavy armor that prevented knife attacks, I’d get it. Here, however, they’re just in wool coats.

Classified France 44 Camp
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Unfortunately, I also found myself severely underwhelmed by the game’s choice of presentation.

Character models are very, very ugly. They have awkward faces and underwhelming details on their clothing. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if you only viewed the game from the top down, but customizing your character and viewing them is a big part of the game.

The developers also seem unable to decide how animated they want the game to be. Every mission features an opening cutscene, but it’s the same recycled animation of your characters walking onto the map. It is unnecessary at best and tedious to view repeatedly at worst.

Unfortunately, the cinematic camera, showing an over-the-shoulder angle of your operative when they fire at an unlucky enemy, breaks frequently, showing a black screen or clipping into the environment.

Classified France 44 Shooting
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Firearms don’t seem to have the correct sounds or operate properly. I could swear that the Germans also spoke English with southern accents on several occasions. The only voice acting I was impressed by was Tom King, one of the soldiers you start the game with. Any of the other voice performances hardly sold me.

The Final Word

Classified: France ’44 is a fairly average experience. While it has some unique takes on classic mechanics, the game is overall pretty cookie-cutter of the genre. On top of this, it fails to really excite with its presentation, with ugly models and poor audio design. Fans of WWII history and die-hard turn-based strategy players should still have fun with this title, but it won’t blow anyone away.


Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Classified: France ’44 is available on Steam, Xbox and PlayStation.