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Blitzkrieg 2 Review
publisher: CDV Software Entertainment
developer: Nival Interactive
PIV 1700, 256MB RAM, 3GB HDD, 64MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 26, 05
|» All About Blitzkrieg 2 on ActionTrip|
With aviation like this, who needs generals?
Desert combat... for real.
This could be an isolated incident, but I've heard of this reviewer who developed a nervous tick whenever he'd get assigned to review a WWII shooter or RTS. His "condition" got so bad that his twitching wasn't just a simple tick anymore. It had evolved into something more elaborate - like a nervous string of reactions. So one day, when his Editor in Chief asked him to review another WWII RTS game, the string of nervous reactions led to him screaming "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!!!" then grabbing his LCD monitor and smashing the EIC in the face with it, and bursting into tears. It was a full-blown nervous breakdown. The police came after the incident and took him away to visit the nice men in the house with padded walls. The EIC was left with a few nasty scars as a reminder that you can only push people so far. Now if only the publishers would heed these words, but alas, they do not.
However, this rather grim story does have its silver lining. Even though the RTS in question was based on the Second World War, it was good! And lo and behold, fans of WWII RTS games liked it! The fact of the matter is that the market usually dictates the trends so if WWII games weren't selling well, no one would be making them, and that's all there is to it.
That said, CDV and Nival Interactive have teamed up to bring us a sequel to Blitzkrieg, aptly named Blitzkrieg II. Usually sequels are not always what they're cracked up to be. Some of them play more like expansion packs than sequels, and some are even dubbed "episodes" - whatever that means. (I can see it now.... Next, on The Blitzkrieg's of Our Lives.... Can Hermann and Inga hide their love from Franz, as he storms an Allied bunker? Will Heinrich propose to his French girlfriend, or will he simply take her as a spoil of war? FIND OUT NEXT! - Six) Nival, however, wasn't holding anything back when they got to work on Blitzkrieg 2. We're talking about an extensive single-player campaign here, including a thorough representation of the World War II challenges faced by the German, Soviet, and the U.S. military and their commanders in over 80 single and multiplayer missions. Over 250 military units, including 60 types of infantry, along with a battlefield recognition guide that serves as in-game military unit encyclopedia. Each of these units is then governed by a set of rules set forth by the developers. This entails realistic combat modeling that considers armor plating, penetration effectiveness, reload times, and a number of other combat factors.
Finally, the game also has an RPG element to it, represented through a dynamic campaign interface that rewards historical play, but does not require it. Players gain experience and may appoint battlefield commanders to imbue units under their command with additional capabilities and improve their effectiveness. What this means is that the game will track which units you are using the most, and if you prove to be successful on the battlefield, the commanders of the most-used unit types will gain new abilities and reinforcements, helping you greatly during tougher encounters with the enemy.
The French did put up *some* resistance.
No, this is not a nuke. This *was* my bomber.
One thing that I really liked about this game is the interface, which is amazingly effective in its simplicity. This, of course, corresponds well to the way that Blitzkrieg 2 plays. There is no resource gathering in the game, and your success as a commander depends purely on your choice of tactics during missions and the reinforcements you bring in. In each mission, you will have a set number of reinforcements ready, and sometimes, when the going gets tough, you have to show both patience and caution if you don't want to end up being victorious at the expense of half of your available forces being wiped out. Blitzkrieg 2 plays like a no-nonsense war game and that is its greatest strength. The missions are versatile and designed well enough to keep you interested and the great number of missions and three distinct campaigns (in addition to the multiplayer mode) will provide for many hours of good fun. Each campaign starts out slow, but as the action picks up you'll be forced to consider more and more factors that are usually vital in real life battles - like the terrain characteristics, the mobility of your units and most importantly, the enemy troop positioning and the possible weaknesses in their defensive lines. If you want to play this game well, you will do good to use a lot of reconnaissance and not to rush headlong into battles. Nival has done a great job of presenting tactical challenges that get gradually harder with each new mission, which is something that definitely increases the game's addictiveness. Granted, more experienced strategy players may find the game less challenging at the beginning or mid way through a campaign, but then there's always the option of upping the difficulty level. One other thing that you should consider is that playing as Germans during their invasion of France will be a walk in the part - you'll have an ungodly amount of bomber support and the French will have little or no AA guns and just a few British fighter planes to fend off your deadly bombing runs. Playing as the Soviets on the other hand will pose its own specific set of challenges, in line with the historical events of course.
From a technical standpoint, Blitzkrieg 2 looks very nice. The terrain is diverse and highly interactive - your powerful tanks will crush trees, houses, wreckage, and pretty-much anything else that comes in their path. The physics model is good for a strategy game and the abundance of cover, elevated surfaces - terrain detail in general - is more than satisfactory. Of course, most of the time you'll be playing the game with the camera fully zoomed out, but even so, the unit detail and the dynamic shadows look good. Visually, you couldn't say that the game is extraordinary in any sense, but the graphics engine certainly does its part well. The sight of bombs detonating as your bombers are flying over a city is truly one to behold. Of course, this is only true if you're the one doing the bombing.
The sound effects (unit and ambient sounds) are professionally done, and they go great with the on screen action and the engaging musical soundtrack. Truly, there is nothing you could take away from the overall impression of the battles - when the sights and sounds of the mayhem and destruction mesh on-screen.
8.5 Very Good
Plenty of hours of fun, comprehensive, detailed, very tactical and engaging;
Path finding issues, minor fog of war issues, doesn't bring anything radically new to a pretty depleted genre.