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Close Combat: The Battle of the Bulge

aka: Close Combat 4: The Battle of the Bulge, Close Combat IV: Battle of Bulge, Close Combat IV: Die Schlacht in den Ardennen, Close Combat IV: Het Ardennenoffensief, Close Combat IV: La bataille des Ardennes
Moby ID: 1392

Windows version

One word: Frustration!

The Good
They finally introduced airstrikes! This was such a critical part of WW2, it's about time they added it to the CC series. The strategic map offers some interesting possibilities. After that though, it goes downhill...

The Bad
They took CC3, removed everything that made it great, and gave us this. Playing from the US side will give you nothing but frustration (I haven't even played from the German side yet because the US side is so hard).

They gave us the dumbed-down names for all the units: instead of seeing "M4 Sherman", you now get "Medium Tank". Yes, you can rename all the units, but that'll take forever and the new names won't "stick" if you lose the mission and have to replay, so then you have to rename all 15 units again. ARGH!

Playing from the US side is practically impossible. You're facing almost nothing but German tanks and halftracks, and yet you have practically no Anti-Tank weapons to face them!!! The best weapons the US has are AT guns, but you can only get a maximum of about 2 in a battle group and the German tanks have X-Ray vision so they can destroy anything in a building, even if it would be impossible for them to know there was anything in the building in reality. GRRRR!!

That's another thing... why did they take the Requisition System out?!?! My most favorite part of CC3 was building up an awesome and diverse force through Requisition Points that would be a good mix of infantry, tanks, and support units, all of which had a lot of AT ability. You can't do this anymore. You have absolutely no say in what forces you are given. ARGH!

The US might as well not even have any tanks. They are absolutely worthless. IF you have a US Tank Battle Group vs. a German one, you will lose every time. In most cases, the best you can do is just break even. It is historically accurate that the US tanks were nothing compared to the German ones, but they need to somehow represent that the US outnumbered the Germans (although at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge the US was outnumbered, but they did bring in reinforcements). You gradually get more tank units over the course of the game, but there just aren't enough. Almost every German BG is a tank BG. This is compounded by the fact that of the US Infantry BGs, you will probably have only 1 or 2 AT guns, and maybe 1 or 2 bazooka units (which are totally worthless. They only have 4 rounds, and will almost always miss every time).

What makes the US tanks so worthless is that their armor is like paper (some are "open-topped" so that they can be destroyed simply with machinegun fire... what's the point of that???), their turrets turn more slowly, they're slower, they react faaar more slowly to attack, and they take more thank twice as long as a German tank to reload. The last thing is the most frustrating, because if you have two tanks firing at each other, the German tank will always win. The only hope you have from the American side is to somehow surprise the German tank, but the surprise will literally only last for one shot (which, if it hits, will not destroy the German tank but bounce off), because the German tank will quickly rotate its turret and knock out your tank in one shot. GGGGGRRRRR!

Playing from the American side is just not fun.

Airstrikes and artillery barrages are pretty much useless too. An artillery barrage "consists of 4 80mm mortars firing at once" for 40-60 rounds around an area you designate. The problem is, they never hit anything! Airstrikes are similar: a single aircraft is randomly selected (for the US, it could be a P-38, P-51, P-51, or B-26; for the Germans, Bf-109, Ar-234, Me-262, or FW-190), it flies out to the target, and makes one attack run (bombs, rockets, machine guns, or cannons) and flies off. If they're gonna try to make it historically accurate, they could at least send 2 or 3 planes, or 1 plane that makes several passes over the target. Some people on the message forum complain that airstrikes make it too easy, but in my experience of probably 40 missions, I've only been able to call in about 4 airstrikes and only 2 have hit anything.

If a tank/vehicle is destroyed, the crew will bail out but they move to the nearest cover and will not respond to any orders. In all the previous CCs, you could order them around and have them reinforce your lines. This is totally unacceptable. Why did they remove this? What were they thinking?? (Note: a patch has been released that fixes this so that you can issue orders to them.)

There's really not much to like about this game from the American side. There are probably more things I could say, but I think these will be enough to show you what a poor entry in the CC series this is.

The Bottom Line
Buy CC3 instead!

by Raphael (1245) on May 1st, 2000

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