Classified: France ’44 review

by on February 28, 2024
Release Date

March 5, 2024


The mission should have been simple. Infiltrate the factory manufacturing German tanks, steal the plans, and get out. No bullets needed to be fired, no lives needed to be lost. Upon scanning the initial area, I could see a couple of guards patrolling the entrance to the production line, and one standing on a raised walkway. There was plenty of cover for me to hide myself from the enemy, and a couple of safety zones I could fall back to if things got rough. No matter however you plan your approach to a mission, there’s always the chance something can go awry in Classified: France ’44, and this one was no different.

After stealthily approaching one of the soldiers and plunging my knife in his throat, I had been left exposed. I’d looked around and seen no other threats, so the risk didn’t seem so bad. Unfortunately, there was a gap in the wall I hadn’t seen on first approach, and through it an enemy I hadn’t spotted saw me standing there, vulnerable and unaware. What followed was a tense gunfight that saw my troupe come under heavy fire, almost losing to the Nazi forces. If it wasn’t for a bit of luck, we all would have died in that factory, never seeing the fruits of our hard work pay off.

A lot of missions in Classified: France ’44 can go that way. It’s a hyper-realistic strategy that can cost you greatly if you’re not carefully planning your approach to the task at hand. Monitoring the best cover on offer, using your allocated actions carefully, factoring in reloading, health, and morale, and generally being one step ahead of your enemy makes Absolutely Games’ authentic war title so captivating. There’s plenty to think about regardless of the mission, but having a range of soldiers with varying abilities and skills plays into the thrill of overcoming the Germans and gaining victory for the Resistance.

Everything you do costs action points, whether that’s movement, firing your weapon, or making use of a particular skill. They can also be used across the environments, such as cutting through a wire fence or breaking into a building through a window. Your party might consist of four soldiers at a time, or maybe even a few more depending on the objective, so every decision needs to be planned to the last detail. Some missions like the one involving the tank factory are all about stealth, while others are full-on gunfights from the beginning. Once you’ve wiped out a wave of soldiers, another might start to appear, so you can never rest on your laurels.

These audibles from the opposition force you to change your strategy on the fly. It is in these moments when Classified: France ’44 is at its strongest, leading to tense standoffs just as you’re about to clutch the victory and reach the extraction point. There are plenty of different enemy types that all have particular resistances and strengths, and knowing how to attack appropriately is just another thing you have to think about. Whatever decision you make in combat, there’s a percentage of success. Sometimes you might get a critical hit with a 40%, however, you can ever be confident unless that 100% chance is displayed.

What is an interesting feature to Classified: France ’44 is the morale of both your own soldiers and the enemy’s. Almost every attack, whether successful or not, can damage morale. Lower it enough and you’ll suppress them, meaning they’ll be limited in the amount of actions they can take. If you fully deplete a moral bar, it’ll break an enemy and they’ll be unable to do anything. It’s a great mechanic that can work in your favour, but these dips in morale can also affect your own squad. Thankfully, certain party members can use a skill that replenishes morale as long as they’re within range.

If you health reaches zero, you’ll need to be revived by a fellow teammate who can reach you in time, or again, by a particular skill from one of the medics on your team. If your injured soldier fails to be revived they’ll disappear from the mission and won’t return. Hopefully this won’t happen if you’ve got your tactics down, but the enemy AI is smart, and with particular missions being as tense as they are, you might find it’s inevitable without a masterplan in your pocket. Firepower is never in short supply, though. Sniper rifles, shotguns, pistols, and more are all useable across your party, and the option to unlock better ones as you play always provides you with improved support in the harder levels down the line.

Between missions, you’ll find yourself looking at a map of France which is divided up into regions. Your job is to rally support across the country and gain control over the various territories in the run-up to D-Day, which counts down with every mission you complete. That sense of dread hangs over your head as you fight against the Axis, knowing what awaits the Allies on that fateful day. Through completing missions relating to different factions, you’ll earn popularity amongst them and be able to purchase faction-specific weapons and gear. Managing your squad comes during these breaks in combat, too.

You can change their appearance through new equipment, even give them new codenames, and a skill tree helps them to become better soldiers through various upgrades to their abilities. There’s opportunity to get to know these soldiers through campfire chats, and by doing so you can improve certain stats. Soldiers never actually die in combat so that threat of permadeath seen in the likes of XCOM doesn’t rear its head, however, you do start to care deeply for them, and if they do get injured by a poor decision, you’ll do everything in your power to get them fighting fit back at basecamp.

Absolutely Games cares deeply about the historical accuracy of its story, and at certain points as you approach D-Day, information pops up giving you some back story regarding the preparations and missions the Allies were undertaking at that specific time. Missions are never easy and with some being incredibly challenging, its sense of realism is impressive. There’s a great range of missions and a lot of options when planning how you’ll attack the enemy, and I found it incredibly fascinating how all the pieces of the jigsaw fitted together.

Overwatch was one of my favourite skills as it helped to pin down enemies; if they moved into your Overwatch area you can shoot at them without taking away any AP. Grenades were always a great way of damaging a couple of enemies in close vicinity, and using my sniper rifle at the perfect moment meant I could take out an enemy with great precision from a decent distance away. You’ll also find variables like fuel drums that can be shot for makeshift explosions and mounted guns that can be utilised for bullet spread across great areas, and the animations of kills, while a little wooden, always felt satisfying.

Classified: France ’44 is a superb turn-based strategy that tests your tactical prowess while giving you plenty of tools to succeed. Missions are varied in their objectives and give you other smaller tasks to complete, and even when you think you’ve got a handle on the situation, new threats can appear in the clutch. While the visuals up-close aren’t as crisp and smooth as I’d have liked, the general detail of both the isometric dioramas are great, and the story leading up to D-Day has been carefully written to balance realism, enjoyment, and authenticity.


Missions are varied
Plenty of skills and weapons to use
Enemy AI


Visuals aren't as crisp when up-close

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Classified: France '44 is an authentic and thrilling turn-based strategy where every decision can come undone with the slightest mistake.