Panzer General III: Scorched Earth
Critic Reviews 72% add missing review
GameSpy (87 out of 100) (87%)
This game just might revitalize the genre.Sep 18th, 2000 · Windows · read review
GameStar (Germany) (85 out of 100) (85%)
Das gute Anführer-System aus dem
PC Player (Germany) (82 out of 100) (82%)
Die Panzer-General-Reihe war immer einzigartig, denn niemand ist es sonst gelungen, militärhistorische Taktikspiele zu entwickeln, die über genügend Tiefgang und dennoch über ein leicht verständliches Regelwerk verfügen. Diese Mixtur ist nach wie vor unwiderstehlich. Barbarossa macht da keine Ausnahme und brilliert zudem mit etlichen Detail-Verbesserungen, die der Handhabung zugute kommen. Die gravierendste Neuerung ist aber sicherlich die recht große Anzahl von Einheiten, die ins Feld geführt werden. Eine gute Idee, denn dies führt zu erweiterten Strategien bei der Armeezusammenstellung. Da lässt es sich auch etwas leichter verschmerzen, dass immer noch keine Marineeinheiten an Bord sind und das komplexe Unternehmen Barbarossa in runden zwei Wochen durchexerziert werden kann.Sep 2000 · Windows
PC Action (Germany) (81 out of 100) (81%)
Auch ohne großartige Verbesserungen gegenüber dem Vorgänger stellt die Operation Barbarossa eine strategische Herausforderung dar, die eine Menge Spaß bereitet. Der Schwierigkeitsgrad steigt in allen vier Kampagnen in adäquaten Schritten an, so dass der Spieler optimal motiviert der nächsten Mission und vor allem dem neuen Kriegsmaterial entgegenfiebert. Falls Ihnen Sudden Strike zu actionreich ist, kommen Sie hier vielleicht auf Ihre Kosten. Als besonderes Schmankerl legt Mattel der Verkaufspackung übrigens die Originalversion des ersten Panzer Generals bei.Sep 2000 · Windows
PC Joker (81 out of 100) (81%)
Keine umwerfenden Innovationen also, was auch für den Highscore und den Szenarioeditor gilt. Aber Spaß macht der bewährte General mit den paar neuen Knöpfen an der Uniform natürlich trotzdem.Sep 2000 · Windows
PC Games (Germany) (80 out of 100) (80%)
Auf den ersten Blick gleichen sich Western Assault und Unternehmen Barbarossa wie eine Panzerplatte der anderen, der Nachfolger bietet allerdings mehr als nur vier neue Kampagnen. Neben einer leicht überarbeiteten Grafik, die sich nun auch in die Vogelperspektive schwenken lässt, freuen sich Freizeit-Strategen über viele kleine Detailverbesserungen, die den Bedienkomfort erhöhen. So können Sie sich jederzeit eine komplette Auflistung all Ihrer Truppen anzeigen lassen, ohne ständig auf der Übersichtsleiste hin- und herscrollen zu müssen.Mar 7th, 2001 · Windows · read review
IGN (7.9 out of 10) (79%)
So in the end, PGIII isn't as much an improvement over the previous title than PG3D was. But hey, why mess with a good thing? We'd like to see more range in the camera in terms of angle and zoom, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the game. There are still some small problems with the selection of aerial units since they sit high above the space they occupy but again, this is a small issue. This has been a really impressive series all the way through and this latest version lives up to standard set by the previous versions. If you're a fan of turn-based games or the Second World War (and who doesn't like the war?) then PGIII is definitely worth your attention.Sep 21st, 2000 · Windows · read review
Gamer's Pulse (75 out of 100) (75%)
Panzer General 3: Scorched Earth has a little of something new, and a lot of something old. While it covers territory not covered in PG3D, it is still territory already covered by the series. If you don’t have any previous games in the series, and are interested in the Eastern Front of WWII, this may very well be a game you’ll want to pick up. It still suffers from some of the problems inherent to the series, primarily that of being a “war-game lite,” so grognards might want to steer clear; however, there is such a dearth of good wargames available nowadays, that it would be a shame to forgo this title. While repetitious, it is still a good game, and the first one I’ve seen to include certain unique units, such as the German Maus tank. Overall, a good game that lacks freshness; hopefully PG4 will introduce some new battles, and a new game engine.Dec 18th, 2000 · Windows · read review
Jeuxvideo.com (15 out of 20) (75%)
Pour ce qui est des scénarios, ils sont en général assez difficiles et risquent de rebuter le néophyte puisqu'il faut absolument terminer un scénario avant de pouvoir passer au suivant, mais ils ont le mérite de donner une très bonne durée de vie au jeu. Pour ce qui est du côté technique, les graphismes et la bande sont sont de bonne qualité, tout comme les animations et la représentation des conditions climatiques. Par contre, le problème de la perspective peu pratique du à la 3D reste présent, et il est parfois difficile d'y voir clair, surtout quand des unités aériennes sont engagées.Nov 7th, 2000 · Windows · read review
Gameplay (Benelux) (74 out of 100) (74%)
Een strategiespel in zijn zuiverste vorm dat door zijn onaantrekkelijke graphics enkel de fans zal bekoren...Dec 2000 · Windows
PC Play (73 out of 100) (73%)
Sve u svemu, čini mi se da čak niti u ovom nastavku Panzer Generali nisu izašli iz klasičnih klišea, no mora se priznati da je Panzer General III: Scorched Earth dovoljno zanimljiv proizvod koji bi svaki ljubitelj ratnih strategija na poteze morao isprobati. Osim toga, znam da će fanovima kao i uvijek predstavljati vrhunsko štivo, jer nitko baš previše ne voli kada mu nastavak omiljene igre doživi previše tehnoloških promjena. Čak niti na bolje.Nov 2000 · Windows
Eurogamer.net (UK) (7 out of 10) (70%)
At the end of the day Panzer General III provides you with plenty to keep you busy until the next installment in the series rolls out, and if you can look past the occasional (though admittedly serious) bug and the relative lack of variety in mission objectives, it's well worth a look for hardened wargamers and newcomers to the genre alike.Oct 21st, 2000 · Windows · read review
Absolute Games (AG.ru) (70 out of 100) (70%)
Говорить "прощай" рано. Они еще вернутся. Сделают воргейм в полном 3D, одухотворят его полигональными солдатиками, пятью кадрами в секунду на PIII-600, тупым AI и все теми же треугольниками, заботливо прикрытыми текстурами в hi-color. А пока это старый добрый Panzer General, зачем-то наделенный заботливыми создателями третьим измерением. Для кого-нибудь это было бы пятеркой, но SSI заслуживает твердой и позорной тройки. Ave.Oct 8th, 2000 · Windows · read review
Gry OnLine (6.5 out of 10) (65%)
Oceniając ostatecznie „Panzer General 3: Scorched Earth” nie mogę być obiektywny jako fanatyk gier strategiczo-turowych (...wiem ... wiem, że jestem wymierającym gatunkiem :-). Mam świadomość, że ocena oscylująca koło 90% mogła by wywołać „niewielkie” kontrowersje. Dlatego też, przyznaje grze ocenę 80%. Polecam ją wszystkim fanom „generałów” (choć tego raczej nie musze robić :-), oraz wszystkim tym którzy z grami tego typu nie mieli jeszcze do czynienia, być może odkryją w sobie generalskie powołanie, podobno wielu z nas „nosi buławę w tornistrze ...” :-)Jan 19th, 2001 · Windows · read review
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) ( ) (60%)
Panzer General III provides players with many game options and units, but it still feels somewhat dated, more like an expansion pack for Panzer General 3D Assault than a proper sequel. Although it has a strong interface and interesting gameplay, its lack of innovation coupled with unimpressive visual and aural presentations make it an average war game. Like the green plastic soldiers of our childhood, the Panzer General series needs to grow up a little bit to keep up with our changing tastes.Sep 30th, 2000 · Windows · read review
Electric Games ( ) (60%)
All in all, Scorched Earth is really 3D Assault on the Eastern Front. In my opinion, there is not enough of an upgrade to the engine to call this a new game. It would have been preferable to have released this as an add-on pack rather than a whole new game. While the fact that it is playable as a standalone game is good for newcomers, it also means that those who already have 3D Assault are paying for a whole new game where all they really get are new missions. Panzer General III: Scorched Earth is a decent enough game, but it does lack some of the imagination of the previous titles in the series with no discernable engine differences from the previous title. Russian forces are detailed where they did not exist in the last title. The game engine is looking dated, as there are no real improvements over the last game. Interface issues still exist, as they have not been improved.Nov 20th, 2000 · Windows · read review
GameSpot (5.8 out of 10) (58%)
Panzer General III: Scorched Earth will offer absolutely no surprises to those who have played previous games in the series. While the basic system still offers a simple and addicting game experience, it hasn't really changed in five years. Then again, Panzer General addicts who've been waiting for the 3D system to be applied to the Eastern Front will get their wish with Scorched Earth. While it would have been nice to see SSI extend and improve the gameplay significantly in this latest game in the series, to mess with the proven formula was apparently beyond the scope of Panzer General III.Sep 26th, 2000 · Windows · read review
Computer Gaming World (CGW) ( ) (40%)
The biggest problem with the game. though, stems from SSI’s assumption that 3D graphics would make the game better. In PANZER GENERAL, it’s exactly the opposite. While some may enjoy seeing their tanks kick up little clouds of dust, this amusement turns sour when the ambiguous 3D view makes you overlook an anti-tank gun, or misjudge a mouse click for a bomber attack. The map can be rotated so that the view is neatly vertical, but there isn’t a functional 2D view. A 2D “strategy map” (what does that make the normal map?) allows viewing of the entire battlefield, but it primarily serves as a general overview and “jump map” for repositioning the camera. PANZER GENERAL III: SCORCHED EARTH is, minor improvements notwithstanding, a box with four campaigns that could have been included in PANZER GENERAL 3D: ASSAULT. Those who have not yet sampled the addictive pleasures of this system are encouraged to pass this one by and find a copy of PANZER GENERAL II.Dec 2000 · Windows
I would not hesitate to state that Scorched Earth is by far the best of the Panzer General series. And that's saying a lot, because the original was one of the great games of history. It's also saying a lot because PGII was a terrible, terrible sequel, so getting so much right in this release was a minor miracle.
First off with PGIII we get a real 3D interface. To be honest, I can't say this adds a tremendous amount to the game over the original, as the game is still strictly 2D in gameplay terms. However, it is an enormous improvement over PGII, which used a pseudo-3D isometric view (like the original Sim City) which had an enormous number of problems. In particular, the graphics of PGII required the map sizes to be very small, which basically ruined any strategic feeling of the game. In contrast, the graphics in PGIII are basically excellent, and the map sizes seem in keeping with the gameplay (more on that later).
In addition we see the continuing improvement of the game engine itself. In earlier instalments, experience was gathered in units, and it became extremely important to preserve units with combat experience. This meant that units might be able to be used only once or twice before being taken out of the line, as they were too valuable to lose. In Scorched Earth, the experience instead collects in the commander, who can be re-assigned to other units. This is a great improvement - for instance, it means that you upgrade units by assigning the commander to new equipment, not using some sort of custom interface to upgrade an existing units equipment. That doesn't sound like much, but the improvement in UI terms was enormous.
During the game, both equipment and commanders are limited in number. In many cases I found myself taking an experienced artillery officer to command a fighter unit, simply because there were no dedicated fighter commanders left. However, since the experience is a part of the leader, I can easily switch him to an artillery unit in the future, if a good fighter commander were to come along.
Additionally, the system gives different commanders special capabilities when used to lead certain units. For instance, an "anti-aircraft commander" might get a special bonus when the guns are attacked in close combat. This would be lost when that same commander was sent to a tank unit, but other bonuses from combat experience would not be lost. Even better, if a unit was destroyed, you might re-capture the commander, and would then be able to assign them to a new unit. It was an excellent upgrade.
And I love the system for moving from one battle to the next. While even the earliest games had a minor amount of branching, the system used in PGIII of picking your movements on the strategic map strikes me as a huge change for the better. And this worked hand-in-hand with the map sizes, which seemed well suited to the new campaign system. Although you still only saw combat on little patches of ground spread out over the enormity of Russia, it still "worked" in my head.
And finally the unit strengths and abilities seem fairly well matched. They got this right in Pacific General, but in most of the other games in the series certain units were way too powerful or too weak - most games degenerated into waves of A-26's for the US, or Tiger II's for the Germans. In PGIII, as well as PacGen, the need for a balanced group including artillery and troops is important. Even in the end-game stages I found myself with a balanced mix of forces.
Actually I pretty much liked everything that was new. My only complaints were the same as for all previous versions (except PGII, which I simply hated): the rear areas are poorly controlled in terms of supply lines and communications.
In all of the PG games the units draw a basic amount of supplies, which are used up in movement and combat. Running out of either is bad news, although it seems that running out of fuel didn't effect combat, which strikes me as an obvious problem.
The real problem here is that there is an unlimited amount of supplies in the rear, and you can receive them anywhere on the map. So basically if you send that Tiger II racing across the map, he'll run out of fuel as you'd expect. But a simple click of the supplies button, and he's full up again - 50 miles behind enemy lines! And if you consider that supplies of gas were the #1 problem for the Germans from '44 on, it's a mystery why they didn't try SOMETHING to simulate this.
Now that might sound like I'm splitting hairs... supplies? Trust me, supplies are the #1 most important part of combat. An army runs on its stomach, remember? In the last 200 years the only change is that it also needs gas and ammo, and wants a lot more of all of them. In typical combat 6 out of 7 people involved are in the rear supporting the 1 guy at the front.
A similar situation faces commands being sent to the units. If a unit is 5 miles behind the lines, fine, use a radio. But when they're 150 miles it's another matter entirely, ever see A Bridge Too Far? In these situations those units that lose contact should automatically go into some sort of defensive mode, or at least try to regain the lines in a retreat or breakout. They shouldn't be able to continue on as if nothing had happened.
In fact, it's that very point that is what the Blitzkrieg is all about. By punching a small hole in the enemy's lines with a highly mobile force, you can run into their rear and cut off their supplies. Do it right and you can destroy a huge army's supplies and command, and they're done for at that point. You don't even have to shoot them, just wait until they run out of ammo and spend so long out of contact they just give up. Like in Barbarossa, or Stalingrad.
So considering this game is called Panzer General, perhaps the two most important points of the Blitzkrieg should be included, huh? And yet, they're not.
What does this lead to? Well the one thing that I've seen over and over is that a single computer controlled unit will get left behind while I'm executing a rush. At that point they'll run around and around behind your lines, grabbing cities for points. In some scenarios, new units are spawned during the game, behind your lines, with the same outcomes.
But then to rub salt in the wound, the computer is able to spawn new units at any city. So basically they run into the rear, grab a town, and start making new units miles behind you! So in PGIII, like the earlier games, you are forced to kill each and every unit on the map, dead. No hurting either - dead.
I find it particularly frustrating because it seems so easy to fix. Have a front line that you maintain in real time. Allow supplies to travel only xxx number of hexes off a road, coming from a dump with a fixed supply in the rear. Now it suddenly becomes WAY more realistic. And don't start, this would not make it harder to play!
The Bottom Line
The best of one of the best.
by Maury Markowitz (266) on Feb 21st, 2012 · Windows
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by Patrick Bregger, Xoleras, Cantillon, Jeanne, vedder, Plok, CalaisianMindthief, Klaster_1, ti00rki, Cavalary, Scaryfun.