Epic-scale infantry warfare is one of the great joys of PC gaming. In those spectacular moments of carnage as dozens of soldiers run across a battlefield amidst explosions and collapsing bodies, it creates a stunning spectacle where game design and player input collide. Darkflow Software's online shooter Enlisted offers its own twist on that glorious formula, letting players head straight to the frontlines of World War II with their own squads of AI-controlled soldiers.
That’s just one of the things that makes Enlisted stand out from the bulk of online shooters today. You’re completely in charge of your own squad here – so no miscommunications about which control points to attack, no mutinies, and no maverick squadmates running off to be dirty sniper-campers for the entire match.
At this point (and remember the game is still in beta), you can give attack and defend orders to your squad, change their formation, and request ammo and medical aid. Death comes easily in the chaos of World War II, and neither you nor your enemies shouldn expect the charity of taking three headshots to go down or other bullet-spongy systems.
Should your soldier fall, you can choose to take control of your AI squadmate, who may be in a better position to continue the battle, or perhaps offer an alternative tactical approach thanks to a different loadout that you gave him before the battle.
The ability to switch from one squadmate to the next upon death creates a unique flow to battle that’s not quite anything we’ve experienced before. True to its realistic tone, Enlisted makes death feel significant while giving you a chance to pick up the baton as a squadmate and continue your push. It’s a neat way to keep you in the thick of the action for longer.
There are currently two game modes. Domination sees two teams battling over neutral control points, while Assault tasks one team with attacking and the other with defending a succession of control points. You can also choose whether to matchmake with players using AI squads or with lone fighters (who can still form squads with friends and other players).
You’ll have several squads available for each battle, including assault, recon, machine-gunners, as well as dedicated tank and plane squads. These vehicles are the formidable juggernauts you’d hope them to be, but their realistic controls and restricted vision can make them perilous to navigate. Your crewmates can get killed too, so you may find yourself on your lonesome switching between driving, gunning and commandeering a tank until a player-controller teammate joins you (or, more likely, until you get blown up).
Despite its fast pace and the empowering ability to mow down swathes of AI-controlled soldiers in each match (those precious KD ratios end up looking pretty good), Enlisted is a game committed to historical realism. Time to Kill is low, and weapons and equipment are specific not only to armies but to the theater of war you’re fighting in in a given match.
With over 20 maps set across four campaigns spanning Normandy, Berlin and Russia (with North Africa soon to join them), as well as a persistent progression system for your squads and soldiers, Enlisted is already brimming with reasons to sign up and join the fight.
You can download Enlisted from the official site and enter the beta right away on PC (it’s also available on PS5 and Xbox Series X and S). Given the amount of game that’s already there – with so much more to come – it’s time for you to step up, soldier!