If the N-Gage wasn't created fast-paced action titles in mind, that's not a problem since there are games like Pathway to Glory. While the last thing gamer's need is another World War II title, Glory earns the right to co-exist in a crowded market with unique turn based gameplay. It's not intricately detailed, but accessible and easy to understand quickly.
Players are given a set of specific soldiers at the beginning of the game, and they'll stick with them for the duration. Each has a specific attribute or ability, which obviously affects their battlefield performance. You'll maneuver them through a simply designed interface on a beautifully rendered battlefield.
Each turn requires plenty of thought, as taking one step too many is enough to leave a solider open to attack. Cover is an important asset, and a solider should never be placed in the open. Pathway to Glory is designed with this in mind, so there's always a spot available.
Actual combat relies on a simple point-and-click system. The only thing you'll need to pay attention to is the stance. Sometimes a weapon is more accurate when standing, other times when kneeling. Even before firing that first shot, you'll need to set up equipment for the men going into the battle. This is a critical step not to be taken lightly. While there's barely a limit on the amount of ammo you can take with you, this will impede movement as they're weighed down.
Enemy AI isn't incredibly smart, though they waste no time slaughtering careless players. This is, like almost any strategy title, best played with two people. This can be done via the N-Gage Arena or through the easy to use Bluetooth capabilities. Matches can last a while when playing either solo or multi-player, which doesn't lend itself well to a handheld. An in-game save would have been wonderful and appropriate.
Presentation adds to the atmosphere of this sprite-based title. Few N-Gage titles go all out in the visuals and audio. Pathway to Glory is thankfully one of them. The orchestrated accompaniment to a foreboding narrator's voice is fantastic for setting a grim mood heading into the missions.
Objectives are varied, and the training mode is the actual game, not a quickly tossed together forced tutorial. It does skip over the bare basics (and nothing guides the player during pre-mission preparation) so you'll need to figure out a little on your own. It's simple enough to prepare for a long string of increasingly difficult combat scenarios.
Pathway to Glory becomes a rare N-Gage title that does everything right. It looks great, has fantastic production values, offers a unique (and exclusive) gameplay experience, and wraps it up in a wonderful design. Anyone should be able to appreciate the intricate gameplay, turn-based fan or not.
(***** out of *****)