Broken Arrow is a convincing attempt at a modern warfare RTS

One of the hotter demos out in this year's Steam Next Fest is for Broken Arrow, a large-scale RTS set just about in right now, this moment, using cutting-edge military equipment and technology. It's a setting often left to either less-realistic shooters or stodgy ultra-realistic but low fidelity wargames, but developer Steel Balalaika is giving it a convincing go that has me interested in the final product.

Broken Arrow is at its core a large-scale tactics game like the Wargame or Steel Division series, or recent RTS Warno, but whereas past games have focused on recently-gone or theoretical conflicts, Broken Arrow's launching with factions based on modern United States and Russian forces. It'll have more than 100 units per nation, with both land, air, and sea forces represented.

Armies will be composed of customizable segments into an available deck from which you'll then deploy units, divided up into Recon Units, Infantry, Fighting Vehicles, Support, Logistics, Helicopters, and Airstrikes. Those units will be customizable, both armor and infantry forces.

Aircraft will be customizable with weapons, fuel tanks, designation pods, countermeasures, and decoys. Armor will be able to add defensive systems, sensors, up-armor packages, and weapons. Special forces units will be able to disrupt enemy logistics with suppressors, thermal optics, laser designation, reconnaissance drones, and explosive charges. 

The demo released isn't a comprehensive survey of the final game, however I'm pretty compelled by it. The balance of bringing in supply for your units and carefully covering your own advance against aggressive attacks that knock out the enemy is quite interesting. It does a pretty good job, with the caveat that there are bugs and crashes and all that, of showing how immediate and deadly the modern battlefield is. It's certainly a far cry from other, less simulation-focused RTS games.

With all that modern depth, I hate to say it, but I'm worried we'll see this become another War Thunder situation. Fans in the military will just start posting classified documents in order to support their favorite piece of equipment and also win internet arguments.

You can check out Broken Arrow and its demo on Steam. You can watch a full presentation about Broken Arrow, from earlier this year, on YouTube and embedded below.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.