It is on a modified version of the Warfare and Warfare Reloaded game engine.
The main storyline is told from the perspective of Anwar Amin, who used to be a lieutenant in the Syrian police force at a small town before the civil war broke out. The conflict still hasn't reached his town at the start of the narrative; he even says it merely felt like "something happening on the other side of the TV screen" and was even able to take a leave abroad. Right after he returns, however, the terrorists finally reach his town and murder its police chief, his superior, with the aid of the police chief the next town over, who has turned traitor. Nevertheless, he is able to mount effective resistance and hold on for a while. From then on, the story follows his squad's involvement in the war's crucial battlefields, both when they were on their own and after the Russian air force had started intervening in their favour.
By the end of 2017, the game also received a short downloadable campaign, Return to Palmyra, devoted to the battles around the titular ancient city, which was famously liberated from the Islamic State in 2016, then lost, and then retaken again within a year. A year later, it had also received Battlefields DLC, which included both additional missions and the Level Editor allowing the players to create their own scenarios.
Tropes present in this game:
- Author Tract: The game was developed by a Russia-based team and is written in the perspective of the Assad government forces. As such, characters often display pro-Assad/Russian and pro-authoritarian sentiments, and at some points the US is implicated in supplying the opposition forces. It can be jarring for players who do not share the same sentiments, especially when clearing out the Damascus suburbs in the fourth mission.
- Bittersweet Ending: The ending of Anwar's story in the Battlefields DLC. After so many years of fighting, his hometown is liberated, his arch-enemy Wahid is dead and the rebels are rendered ineffective as a fighting force. However, because Wahid tried to take them both out by detonating an explosive vest, Anwar is heavily crippled and his soldiering career is over.
- Book Ends: The Battlefields DLC ends with Anwar returning to his hometown, defending it from terrorist attacks again, and confronting Wahid on the same spot where Wazir was gunned down all those years ago. Wahid even lampshades the irony of choosing this location to end things.
- Bland-Name Product:
- LiveJournal, the most popular blogging platform in Russia, is represented as "Social Spider". In between missions, the player can read both the entries from Anwar's personal diary (sometimes accompanied by the historical background notes) and the posts on Social Spider, which roughly approximate the way the conflict was covered in the Russian blogosphere at the time: from the Russian opposition bloggers eagerly hoping for the repeat of "the Libyan scenario" and anticipating the domino effect reaching Moscow, to worried posts from the Russian women married to Syrians about their families being torn apart by the conflict.
- In the DLCs, you have the option to field squads of "Lebanese fighters", as they are referred to in the game. Though it's never explicitly spelled out, they represent Hezbollah troops deployed as allies of the Assad government.
- Sometimes you can see enemies carrying portable ATGM weapons that look far different from the Soviet-made Metis launchers that your forces are using. When one is dropped, a hover of the cursor simply brings it up as a "portable ATGM launcher" where normally the weapon's name would be. A close visual look reveals it as an American-made FGM-148 Javelin.
- Boring, but Practical: The Fuel/Ammo supply trucks as they allow you to keep using vehicles for longer as well as re-arm vehicles/infantry.(Particularly useful for units such as Mortar Teams who will use up their ammo rapidly.)
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Russian Special Forces (Marines and GRU) are far more capable than your local Syrian Forces and are pretty much super-units whenever the mission gives you some, coming at Elite rank and very high stats, they always leave at the end of a mission but are far better than your own units in almost every way.
- Enemy Exchange Program: By having units driving them at the end of a mission, you can capture enemy vehicles and bring them into the next mission, such as APCs, Tanks or even simple supply trucks, you can also sell them back into the Reserves for more Command points for other vehicles.
- Faux Affably Evil: Wahid, the traitor from the police force, feigns politeness when he attempts to get his former colleagues Wazir and Anwar to follow him and switch sides, but loses it after he murders Wazir, yet Anwar remains defiant.When the new government comes in, we'll slit you and your family's throats! You understand the whole world is on our side? We have unlimited access to weapons and money! How much longer do you think you can hold out? You can't possibly combat the forces behind them.
- Escort Mission: The player often has to escort defenseless civilians as part of mission objectives, fortunately you can control them and make them stay put in a safe area while you clear the way.
- Gaiden Game: Can be considered one for the Warfare Series (Warfare and Warfare Reloaded), as it uses part of the title in the English version, the same engine, mechanics and elements down to looking at social media discussing the conflict in-between missions as well as at least some of the old devs working on Syrian Warfare.
- Terminator Dark Fate - Defiance can be considered one for this game, based on the same engine, originally worked on by Cats Who Play for awhile and keeping most of the mechanics and gameplay.
- Gameplay Grading: At the end of each mission, the time taken to complete the mission, the losses inflicted on the enemy and the casualties suffered by your troops are tallied up to generate the number of "command points", which represent Anwar's authority as a commander.
- Garrisonable Structures: All buildings can be garrisoned. Moreover, they are also separated into light, medium and durable to reflect the protection they offer from gunfire, and their resistance to explosive weaponry. Moreover, while regular infantry will fire from the windows, snipers will seek to take up firing positions on the roof.
- Insistent Terminology: ISIS is consistently referred to by its Arabic acronym "Daesh" (except in Return to Palmyra), and the opposition forces are always referred to as "terrorists".
- Last Chance to Quit: Wahid, the traitorous police official, offers one to Anwar's chief Wazir.Wazir: It's good to see you, Wahid. Who are these people? Why are they armed? (referring to a squad of a dozen gunmen behind Wahid.)Wahid: It's good to see you too, Wazir. These are my new friends and, if you're smart, they'll be yours too.Wazir: What are you talking about?Wahid: The times are changing. These men are a new force I am working with. In times like these, it's better to be a free agent, Wazir. They've got funds, weapons, and basically endless support from abroad. You watch TV, you know what's going on. The government is falling. I'm offering you the chance to join the winning side before it's too late. They won't touch you or your men. They might cut up a few of Christians in your town, but that's just for show. It won't be significant, and they'll make you the leader. What do you say?Wazir: You were easily bought. You still can't forgive the higher-ups for not making you a colonel and sending you to Damascus, can you? And now's your chance to get revenge, eh, Wahid? You won't be working in my town, not while I and my men are around!
- After Anwar mounts a successful defence and repels the first waves of terrorists, Wahid contacts him directly through Wazir's leftover police radio and makes a similar offer directly to him, threatening to back it up with the arrival of the main forces.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: The fate of police chief Wazir, shot soon after he defies the offer to switch sides in the speech above.
- Playing Both Sides: Battlefields has Anwar returning to his hometown just as a large Al-Nusra force is advancing to re-capture it, much too large for his scant recon platoon to fight off. Then Tiger-4's forces arrive with a large ISIS force pursuing them that is also unable to be fought off. Against the advice of their superiors, the Syrian Army commanders decide to stay in the town and trick Al-Nusra and ISIS into fighting each other and wasting their manpower. And against all odds, the plan works. By the end of it, the Al-Nusra and ISIS armies in the sector are severely weakened and are pulling out, leaving Anwar free to reclaim his hometown.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Wahid, the traitorous police chief, absolutely doesn't mind if any Christians get killed by the fanatical terrorists he is allied with so long as he gets money and power in the new Syria.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Wazir, Anwar's police chief in the tutorial mission, who is unfailingly polite and makes sure to ask Anwar about how he spent leave in Lebanon.
- Regenerating Health: Infantry squads can slowly recover health overtime if they're out of combat.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: Since the narrative is told from a loyalist perspective, this is to be expected. The first rebel leader we see does his best to appear reasonable as he makes his pitch, yet still lets slip "his new friends" with limitless foreign backing may kill a few Christians in the town just to teach them a lesson and he doesn't care about that.
- Shown Their Work: The Newswires in-between missions often discuss real events that happened around that time in real life.
- Smoke Out: Smoke grenades can be deployed to obscure the opponents' vision and thus dramatically slash their accuracy, as well as increase the time they spend aiming, and thus lower their rate of fire. Moreover, deploying smoke grenades at the right time will interrupt the targeting of guided missiles like TOW or Javelin.
- Stock Footage: The opening of the game has the POV character, Anwar, narrate his story over the real news clips of the early demonstrations and the responses from various politicians on the world stage.
- Subsystem Damage: Every vehicle is divided into multiple zones that receive damage separately, as shown with two schematics: a side-view and a top-down one.
- Suicide Attack: Vehicles filled with explosives and driven by suicide bombers appear from the first mission onwards. They mostly appear in pickup and truck variants, and a turretless tank variant is introduced in Return to Palmyra.
- Taking You with Me: In Battlefields, when Anwar finally confronts Wahid, he launches into a rant about how nothing's ever gone right for him since the day he killed Wazir. He detonates an explosive vest to kill himself and Anwar both, but Anwar survives the blast.
- Translation Convention: The Syrian units are, of course, speaking Arabic translated into whichever language the game is using. A few times in the game, it's established that Anwar and Tomcat-2, a Russian spec ops unit working with him, are speaking in Arabic to each other. Anwar comments that Tomcat-2's Arabic is improving at one point, and by Battlefields he commends the Russian commander's perfect fluency in the language.
- Universal Driver's License: Downplayed. While practically every infantry is considered capable enough to drive both civilian cars and other light vehicles, tanks and other tracked vehicles can only be driven by the dedicated personnel.
- We ARE Struggling Together: While clearing out Damascus, Anwar's army fights against joint ISIS and Al-Nusra forces, who don't work well together and are liable to turn their guns on each other at a moment's notice. Later, in Battlefields, Anwar and Tiger-4 formulate a plan to take advantage of this feud, duping both insurgent forces into killing each other and weakening their fighting strength until they both pull out of the area.