Classic games have a reputation for being short and shallow, but no Iron Storm. This SystemSoft developed game is a long and engrossing experience. Thankfully many options allow you to ease the difficult a bit, but there is no getting around it, this is one challenging title. Expect to spend a lot of time just completing one mission. The overall war will take many hours and a lot of dedication to complete ... much like real war.
Iron Storm is easily one of the best war strategy games released on the Sega Saturn, a real triumph from beginning to end. During battles you will have to decide when to deploy, refuel, rearm, and repair particular units. Deciding when to add an extra fuel tank to a plane instead of extra bombs can be an important decision. If the plane runs out of fuel and fails on a bombing run, the enemy will have more time to repair damages.
Battle animations are fun to watch, but they can really slow down the pace of the game. Each battle animation sequence must be loaded which can take some time. Conveniently they can be turned on or off with the touch of a button. Leave them on for at least a few battles as they are one of the highlights of the game. The best thing to do is turn them on when a battle is about to occur between units you have never seen fight. Then turn them off when a battle is about to occur between units you have seen fight many times before.
The graphics in Iron Storm are very detailed. Each country is equipped with the appropriate weapons of the time period. All of the research done by Working Designs and SystemSoft is certainly evident. As the war progresses new and improved military units will become available for you to purchase. Another detail is weather; it's safe to say that the weather effects can make a battle unpredictable and change the entire outcome of your conflict. Between missions the world map will keep you updated on what was actually happening during the war. Every little detail makes for a very realistic World War II simulation and also an educational lesson.
The only downfall is the instruction booklet; it does not include any descriptions of the military units. This is really needed because each unit can have up to four different weapons and you must select which one to use. Depending on what you are attacking, one weapon will be more affective than the other but you may be clueless as to which weapons to use when you first start playing. Eventually, after the course of a few battles everything can be learned, though you may want to take some notes.
In the end, if you're looking for a lengthy and challenging game and are a fan of classic War simulators (or Working Designs) then Iron Storm is definitely worth a look.