Order of War is a largely missunderstood RTS game, and negative reviews are usually based on user's inaccurate assumptions of what they had thought it should have been. At the same time, if you look at the game as what it's intended to be, it's still just about average.
First, the campaign is dull and frustrating, and no RTS that was ever made should have ever been purchased to even try the campaign - these games are all like AAA fps games, Battlefield and Call of Duty, which are usually bought souly to just play the multiplayer side of things, or in an RTS game's case, the skirmish. The campaign lacks any excitement because it's an RTS game. Reviews based on anything to do with the campaign at all are pretty much a waste of time. We don't give Battlefield bad reviews for bad glitchy campaigns, we give it great reviews for the multiplayer. Same thing.
So we look at what deserves attention - the skirmish. Order of War is what Total War would've been if it had been based in WWII. There is no base construction and the maps are very large and open, always cutting teams in half so that you never spawn next to them. Units have no abilities, and there are only three factions. To choose a faction, you must play in multiplayer online, or stage a LAN game - as the skirmish mode limits you to senarios. Both provide bots. You can play as USA, Russia, or Germany, but all are almost exactly similiar, enough to not totally matter.
You purchase units based on they're effectiveness versus their cost kinda system. In other games, a better player will overcome a tank if fighting the same tank used by a bad player. This isn't the case in Order of War. You buy the bad tank, the good tank, or the best tank. The bad infantry, the good infantry, or the best infantry. It's not as strict as it sounds, fast firing shorter range mortars aren't camparable to long range slow shooting artillery guns, and you can get a few differing units like anti tank infantry or mobile artillery vehicles, but you understand. The store page mentions and shows off planes and junk, but these aren't actual units, only off map abilities and strikes.
Units move slow, and AT pieces, artillery guns and infantry must be consiously transported via truck by the player, otherwise they'll jog about to destinations at a mind numbingly ineffective, slow pace. These normal movements are more to change facings or to slowly advance, or to hide behind the OTHER side of a building if you take hits, and not to go attack an area, meaning so long as it's not a tank, you cannot shoot and move at the same time.
For all of these reasons, classic RTS strategy doesn't really apply to Order of War - the outcome of all battles are largely predictable because the units are either bad, good, or the best you can buy. This is probably the largest reason Order of War ever gets bashed. The strategy is missed because it's not the same as other RTS games, and people burn it down for not having the things it wasn't intended to have in the first place. It's like ♥♥♥♥ing on Call of Duty for not having Creepers and no resource collecting. What?
The game doesn't play like Company of Heroes or Men of War, and the strategy is completely focused on timing and movement. These are important in all RTS games, but in this game, it's the ONLY element to focus on. You buy cheaper units to occupy the space, and to distract, as there are no real indicators as to units taking damage. The maps are big and you have to keep your eyes on everything. The fun is completely based on troop movement, and being at the right place at exactly the right time. Infantry can't truck up to AT guns and take them out, they'll get blown away, so intercept them while the AT getting trucked themselves and have them set up just as you dismount infantry next to them. Things like that. If your enemy has bought nothing but the best tanks, they've got no resources and you can go ahead and buy some extremely cheap AT guns without the worry of taking an airstrike, and get a bunch of cheap tanks to rush the map once your AT has killed all of those scary bad tanks. There is no fog of war in this game, and once you realise it's about watching the other guys and moving your ♥♥♥♥ around instead of building strongpoints or bases or using some kind of grenade ability or something, then you'll realise what a fun fast paced game it really is. It's about moving around AT and artillery and tanks and infantry more than just sending ♥♥♥♥ off to fight, seeing as you'll already know which battles you'll win or lose. If you play it right, you won't lose a unit, and eat the other guys, and that's where the fun is <.<
At the same time, compared to just how addictive the gameplay is, it's not, the maps all look the same and so does the combat, unlike Men of War which has too much micro to ever have similiar firefights, or Company of Heroes which is too cinamatic to ever be boring. Knowing what kind of RTS Order of War is, it's great, but as a game in generally - and as you can see by my play time - it's >.> okayyyyyyyyyyyyy lol
Can you spam? Yes. Can you attack head on? Yes. Should you ever do any of these? Never. It's a game that's enjoyed only if you know how to play it :/ which at the same time, makes it slightly less user friendly. It doesn't look like there would be a large learning curve, but there is. If you just want to see mindless destruction, you can easily play the game the WRONG way too <.< which is what most bad reviewers have done.