Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Syrian Warfare - When Controversy is Your Only Asset

Syrian Warfare is a so-called "realistic" RTS that has been sold via Steam until it was removed because of some copyright infringement issues.

Gameplay-wise, it's a typical RTS scrapped out of some of the typical features of the genre. The game is pausable (allowing you to give orders) and there is some interesting modeling of vehicle damage. But, as with many other RTS I played, ranges and views are too constrained, it is tactically dull, linear and unsatisfying. Nothing to write home about.

The game was destined for controversy. Tons of electrons have been traveling the web with cries in favor and against Syrian Warfare.

Paraphrasing those comments, here is a short list. Russian propaganda! This is spyware from Phone Station 9! Unethical to profit from the suffering of Syrian civilians! Free speech, this is just a game! You bunch of liberals, stop whining! US propaganda, Russian propaganda, why allowing only the former?

In all honesty, I don't know what to make of Syrian Warfare in terms of narrative and the assumptions the developers made regarding who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. But the game is so average that it would have been forgotten within 6 months without the controversy it spawned.

The war in Syria is murky and sadistic monster that will devour the country for years. There will be no hindsight about it in years to come. But as a war game enthusiast, I assure you that I will not look back at Syrian Warfare when things fall into place in real life.


badanov said...

The Syrian Civil War will be the Great Fatherland War of the 21st century. Wargaamers will have fodder for wargaming for 50 more years after it is concluded.

Mark said...

Sorry that you got butthurt because a game isn't on the american side for once.. :(

JC said...

Mark, I don't know where you are coming from.

Didn't like the game not because is from other non-american side. I play Steel Armor (Graviteam) and many others from the non-american side. I am really baffled at your comment.

badanov said...

I read a Soutfront.org article on this game and the prevailing sentiments was that: "for once a game that is not about American forces."

Many military wargames don't focus on just American forces. Arma is one such game. Several others focus on WWII on the Eastern Front, where no American forces played a role. The same on mainland China in WWII.

You should know also that the average Chinese on the mainland do not know that the US Navy fought and won WWII against the Japanese. They still believe it was Mao's army that did that.

It is a dishonest contention, and on which deserves all the contempt that can be heaped on it. The depths of ignorance, or blatant dishonesty required to make such as statement is simply stunning.

NW said...

This sort of thing is sadly not uncommon; there was an exploration-psychological horror game that was supposed to take place in the depths of a KGB underground research facility which had a lot of controversy surrounding it because it was, from my understanding, a Russian development which had been publicly released as a beta which was then ripped by others and given an atrociously bad American voice dub then released on Steam.

Naturally this has been seized upon with the same information warfare themes as literally every other piece of media that relates to the Syrian civil war.

badanov said...

I will perform an Irish jig atop my vehicle stopped in the middle of a US interstate highway if the media gets anything right about any conflict on the planet.

Anonymous said...

To be fair the game is like any other game that "tell an history", is not a simple wargame that show you 2 sides (or more) fighting for objetives in an aseptic enviroment without politics and the "darker" side of conflicts, here is a line you follow... is propaganda for Assad-Rusian forces??? sure, like in games where "good boys" are USA troops and propaganda put them as the gods paladins.

I see hypocrite blame Syrian Warfare but not the last Slitherine game covering the Afganistan fight... i refer that in the end they play the same role as propaganda tools (or the Slitherine game has the option to attack civilians by "mistake" like in real life???).

I dont have problems with the game like i dont have problems with other games with similar propaganda factor, i laught the same with both... and is fun catch the mistakes-lies.

The game simple move in the grey side of morality like many games did but the problem with it is do it outside the "good boys" side.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. Been lurking it for some years. Thought I'd jump in since you're getting cornered here.

Don't mind the Southfront, Russia Today, Globalresearch.ca shills or, even more tragic, brainwashed kids who actually believe this stuff. They keep going on how the west only pushes forward one view as if in Russia you're allowed to protest Lord Putin's incompetence and such. If there's one place that needs a change in diversifying viewpoints it's Russia, not the west.

Anyway, while I agree that the game's main selling point is controversy (IMO it's also "look kids, this the truth"), I actually did not find the gameplay all that bland. Kinda has a nice "feel" to it. It's also nice that it's one of the few games actually taking place in actual 2011-2016/7 Syria. Very few games (ArmA3? BF2:PR) offer sim (if you can call Syrian Warfare that) in that AO.

Anonymous said...

...and if anyone needs further proof about the lack of viewpoints in Russia, let's hear some "alternative" Russian views on such popular subjects such as the Kursk disaster, freedom of the press, opposition members, Katyn massacre etc etc etc.

Johan said...

Don't forget the MH17 shootdown. The Russians will tell you all kinds of conspiracy theories about that... everything from that is was shot down by a Ukranian fighter, to that it never actually happened.

Chris said...

I did want to try this game but I was waiting for a Steam sale. I like the Men of War games and this reminded me of one of their titles. Oh well. Thanks for blogging about the title JC. I didn't know Steam had removed the game.

Unknown said...

It is sad that this game was taken down. As an RTS fan we are not spoiled by new releases. The game is OK, less detailed than Call to Arms and a bit "gamey" but still pretty good to play through it once or twice.

I understand your opinion though, you are American after all.

asdovas said...

I have played this game and want to say:

1. It is very unrealistic
2. It is bugged and freezing
3. It is simple and tiresome

as for a propaganda well I dont know if we will look from this side 80% of games are US propaganda. I think isis will made a game about them too. That is not the point, but thing is this game is made badly, if this is a propaganda they were to make something really worthwhile but not this bargain basement one.

I decided to play it only because it was announced as the game of the developers of the ALFA: Antiterror (yes, the same!) and actually they are from that team. I expected it would be real wargame like last game was and got this...piece of...