As you can see I really liked Iron Harvest. It felt like an old school real time strategy game made modern. It didn’t hurt that the gameplay consists of a mix between infantry with cover tactics and taking control of giant, hulking mechs that are able to devastate battlefields. Mix in artillery, potential for large battles, and set it against an alternate World War 1 where the war never really ended and you have something truly special. Now, just like the real version of World War I, the US is getting to the party a little late, but these aren’t your typical doughboys. While Europe fought The Great War, Usonia was building up its force, and now America has mechs of its own. But it’s not just superiority on the ground in Operation Eagle–with the addition of flying units, you’ll have to fight for air superiority as well.
Opeation Eagle is a downloadable expansion for Iron Harvest, or it can be downloaded and played as a standalone experience. I recommend getting into the original Iron Harvest first to get a primer on the story. I absolutely love the “1920+” setting of Iron Harvest (especially as a World War I nerd) but the Usonia campaign can be played by itself, just with some missing context. Operation Eagle is actually the second DLC released for Iron Harvest, with the Rusviet Revolution DLC directly setting up the events for Operation Eagle. While I wasn’t a fan of the hard little tasteless morsel that was Rusviet Revolution, Operation Eagle is more a proper meal, and what I wanted in terms of downloadable content for Iron Harvest: new units, more story, and new cinematics.
With the Usonia faction you get three new hero units, a few new mechs, and the same mix of infantry types seen in the Rusviest, Saxony, and Polonia factions. Of course, each faction gets flying units and anti-air defenses they can build to match the American Union’s air forces. Usonia might not have the largest mechs, but it does have air superiority. The DLC also has a new story campaign with seven missions, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but is a pretty large chunk of gameplay. Besides, each of the previous three factions had about seven missions apiece in their campaigns, so the Usonian campaign length is up to par with its predecessors.
Usonia is as typically American as you can expect. The units mostly have Jersey accents, and most characters have that stereotypical hotheaded western bravado, and it’s great. From the opening cutscene, Operation Eagle really gives off the feeling of “Usonia is here to finish the fight.” Because they didn’t start it–the Rusviets did when they decided to destroy or steal American Union assets in Alaska. What starts off as a discreet response to the Rusviet incursion boils over into full blown conflict with familiar enemies, and some new allies with the Arab sub-faction.
Adding air units to Iron Harvest definitely changes the flow of how levels play out. Each faction has the ability to airlift infantry units quickly across the battlefield, where they can attack from avenues your enemy might not be expecting. It’s ultra-satisfying to drop in a group of anti-armor to sneak up on mech artillery and destroy them from behind. Defensively, it really makes you consider the need for infantry support on larger mechs that you might have previously considered to be safe behind your lines. I would have liked to see more units, as the majority of Iron Harvest’s infantry is mirrored from one faction to the next. Unfortunately, the same goes for the air units added to each faction: they’re all just copies. Each faction gets Sky Bikes and Air Lifts, and each has access to the powerful Gunship, which I was hoping was unique to the Usonian faction, but alas, each faction has their own version.
Operation Eagle isn’t exactly what I wanted in an Iron Harvest DLC, but it’s what I expected—and that’s not bad. Usonia is a fun faction with a set of powerful mechs at their disposal. I always appreciate alternate history, and I really enjoy Iron Harvest’s 1920+ alternate take on World War I, and Operation Eagle is no exception as it continues to the tradition of putting historical figures in alternate historical circumstances. I would have liked to see more unit variety, especially when it came to air units—but the addition of air units changed the dynamics of the battlefield just enough to reignite my obsession with Iron Harvest.
Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle is available now on Steam
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