Steel Division: Normandy 44

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Steel Division: Normandy 44 Game Poster Image
Complex but rewarding visit to brutal battles of WWII.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

From historic perspective, teaches about some events of World War II, along with information about actual units, equipment used in battles. Teaches strategy, observation, coordinating multiple tasks at once.

Positive Messages

Takes a historic look at World War II, brutality of war, how people depended upon one another to survive. Shows how, working together as a team, people can overcome obstacles, how strategic thinking can be difference between success, failure.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While soldiers who fought in World War II can be considered heroes in their own right, game doesn't really address them as individuals. Due to nature of gameplay, units are instead treated more like pieces on a chess board, resources to be used to turn tide of battle.

Ease of Play

Fairly complex -- players need to learn a lot of strategy, tactics to be successful. There's also a lot of action going on at any time that player must keep coordinated. While there's an in-game tutorial to learn basics, doesn't fully explain things, leaving players to learn a lot on their own.


Violence is constant, with players using realistic, historically accurate weapons to recreate action of World War II skirmishes. Although violence is realistic, scale of game, lack of any blood, gore reduces impact.


Occasional use of mild profanity in dialogue.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Steel Division: Normandy 44 is a downloadable World War II-based tactical real-time strategy (RTS) game. The game features detailed, historically accurate units, weapons, and locations to recreate WWII battles for up to 20 players (in 10-vs.-10 matches). The game is relatively complex to learn, as it requires a lot of coordination, control, micromanagement, and skill, and its tutorial only helps teach the bare minimum to start playing. There's a lot of fighting in the game, though its scale reduces much of the impact of that violence, as players never experience blood or carnage on the battlefield. 

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What's it about?

STEEL DIVISION: NORMANDY 44 is a tactical real-time strategy game based on events at the height of World War II. Players take command of more than 400 historically accurate tanks, troops, and vehicles from six countries in an extensive single-player campaign or in massive online multiplayer battles for up to 20 players (in 10-vs.-10 skirmishes). Relive the battle from the front lines, commanding units such as the American 101st Airborne, the German armored 21st Panzer, or the 3rd Canadian Division, during the invasion of Normandy in 1944, and try to turn the tide of war to your favor.

Is it any good?

While this strategy game is complex and challenging, the tactical gameplay and depth here make time invested a very rewarding experience. With its distinct take on tactics and strategy near the close of the Second World War, Steel Division: Normandy 44 offers the unique opportunity both to remember history and relive it. A few things make the game stand out among the usual RTS fare. One is a stress indicator, which can be be triggered in a number of ways, including a character being pinned down, poor positioning, and so on. By pressuring opposing units, players can force them to withdraw or surrender without actually killing them. In this way, with good tactical leadership, smaller numbers can still overwhelm and steer a fight toward victory.

Another unique feature is unit selection. Players choose from WWII divisions such as the American 101st Airborne, the German armored 21st Panzer, or the 3rd Canadian Division. Each is presented almost like a deck of cards, with unique units, load-outs, and abilities. Certain units can only enter the fray at certain times, meaning that some divisions might start off weak but pull in some major advantages late in the game. Much like in actual war scenarios, it's not always a matter of overpowering your opponent. Instead, more often than not, it's about outthinking your foe and using the battlefield to your advantage. While it's complex and complicated, Steel Division: Normandy 44 is an authentic, engaging, and deep experience perfect for armchair generals aching to lead the charge to victory.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. How does the violence in the real-life setting of World War II affect kids versus the fantasy/sci-fi setting of other similar games? Can games like this teach lessons about the real-life consequences of war?

  • Talk about the history of World War II. How did WWII reshape the world, and what are some of the lessons we have learned from the experience? Why is it important to study the history of such a significant event, and how can we apply that today and in the future?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love historic views on strategy and tactics

Themes & Topics

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