Panzer General II

aka: Operation Panzer, Panzer General IIID
Moby ID: 569

Description official descriptions

Panzer General II is a turn-based strategy game set in World War II, with scenarios set in Eastern and Western Europe, North Africa and even an alternate 'what-if' scenario set in the USA.

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Credits (Windows version)

98 People (67 developers, 31 thanks) · View all

Game Design
  • SSI Special Projects Group
Lead Programming
Additional Programming
Music / Sound Programming
Graphics / Artwork
Additional Graphics / Artwork
Music
Bagpipes Music from the Scottish Highlands
Documentation
Executive Producer
Producer
Associate Producer
Data Management
Playtesting
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 16 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 3 reviews)

Unplayable shod

The Good
It's true that the SSI folks indeed fixed any number of problems in the original PG engine with this new release. For instance the support between units is better, and artillery no longer has to be right beside another unit in order to help it defend itself. Units strengths and weaknesses seem to be better balanced out as well, which makes infantry useful once again. They also added a "go to next unmoved unit" button which is very useful.

The Bad
To start with the graphics for PG II are downright horrid. Although the game seems to have been designed for more powerful machines than the original, everything about it is worse.

For one thing the "active" part of the screen (the map you can see as opposed to the entire map) is tiny, meaning you don't really have a good picture of the overall battle without a ton of scrolling. This is a result of making each hex considerably larger so that they could put in larger unit icons that turned to face their attackers and such. But then they got that wrong too, I don't know if it's the color palette or just the images themselves, but the various unit graphics are downright horrid. You simply can't tell one unit from another without selecting it, an issue that simply didn't exist in the original.

But by far the worst problem is the terrain graphics. To start with they are a blend of the very same colors that make up the units, which as you might imagine, makes the units almost invisible against the backgrounds. Without the "next unmoved unit" button you'd forever be overlooking your own units. In addition when you are actually moving units, the "shaded hexes" which show you where you can move to are likewise almost invisible, once again simply because they picked a color you simply can't see. Check out the screen shots for this article, notice how the infantry units are the same color of the trees in the winter artwork? Duh.

Then, not content to leave well enough alone, they went about "fixing" the UI. As a result I find the game practically indecipherable. Trivial tasks like re-enforcing your units after taking combat damage I can no longer find - there's no "re-enforce" button anywhere in the various annoying little sliding menus. None of the button graphics are useful anyway, an open book is the icon you use to buy new units? Who came up with that one?

Worse the game displays considerably less info on the screen than it used to. In the past (and future) a single status bar told you information about the selected item, strength, experience, supplies, name, type, location, terrain, everything. In this version they only give you the name and type. Yes, you can see the strength on the icon itself, but if there's a way to find the supply status, I can't find it. Things like experience are buried two menus deep under a silly screen that takes up the entire window and is largely empty anyway.

Inter-mission settings were cleaned up a little, taking you to a screen where you can upgrade your units before deployment. However they managed to get even this wrong, because the whole upgrading experience is bizare and difficult to use. I was forever trying to figure out what units I did have and what they were like, and I still can't figure out how to upgrade a unit from (say) a truck to a half-track.

Confusing this was the fact that the same information screen would take on any number of very different forms depending on some internal logic. Selecting one of my artillery pieces would bring up a completely different info window than the other, apparently based on their experience level.

And then the campaign mode is equally horrid. You now start in Spain which I liked, on a mission called Madrid. Interesting then that Madrid appears nowhere on the map. Sigh. You then move onto Poland, but unlike the original PG where there were two battles spanning the country, here there is only a single mission, and due to the oversized graphics it appears like it's spanning my back yard.

The biggest problem is that they were willing to sacrifice ANYTHING in order to make the graphics fancier. As a result the missions represent much smaller parts of the world than they used to. No more battle for Norway, no, that would require the rivers to be little blue lines, and where would we put the pretty reflections? Instead we battle for Lillhammer alone, that will leave plenty of room, heck, we can even put in telephone poles! Uhhh, this is a strategic game? Hello?

What a way to ruin a classic game.



The Bottom Line
I simply cannot recommend playing this one. The earlier PG games (PG, AG, PacGen etc.) had largely the same gameplay, but were far far easier to play. And if the 3D graphics really means anything, the later PG III series is far superior in every which way. Stay away from this one!

Windows · by Maury Markowitz (266) · 2001

Greatest War game of All Time

The Good
I was totally In love with PG. And as a grumpy grouchy and generally bad tempered gamer that I am, I came up with all kind of reasons why not to try PG 2. I was afraid that the sequel would be just like so many sequels of other games. "Just ok" Much to my surprise when I tried PG 2 I found a winner. Hands down PG II is one of the greatest games of all time. Excellent options, first-rate graphics, and the classic ease of use that PG provides. It is very rare that a sequel will come close much less surpass its previous offering. However PG2 did just that. It is by far the superior game. Can SSI continue to surprise? I haven’t got the courage yet to try PG III or IV yet.

The Bad
Not a whole heck of a lot. I thought that some of the American missions on the German side were a little lame.

The Bottom Line
Everyone who considers themselves a War gamer or Strategy gamer should be forced to buy this game.

Windows · by William Shawn McDonie (1131) · 2001

Panzer General, version 2.0.

The Good
- New graphic engine.

  • Campaigns for all sides, hovewer it was already implemented in Allied General.

  • Atmospheric soundtrack(!). Yes, in wargame.

    The Bad
    - Some maps are too blurry and it's become difficult to quickly orientate on the terrain and monitor all your forces.

  • Overall difficulty is too high and, most likely, game will push off non-experienced player.

    The Bottom Line
    Wargames is one of the most conservative genres. Since early 80s when the first adaptations of board games were released by the SSI company few things have changed. Not only gameplay basis, but also interface and even graphics stay the same. In 1994 Panzer General stepped away from a series of preceding wargames, popularized the genre and won plenty of prizes and awards. And now three years since the original PG, a swarm of games on its engine and various re-releases he is right here. Panzer General 2, once again giving us the opportunity to take control over fate in the biggest war conflict in mankind's history.

Modified graphics engine is the first thing that catches the eye - ascetic tile graphics were replaced with hand-drawn maps, while small unit icons gave way to the scanned pictures. Animated battle sequences were abandoned, too. The interface remained generally the same, just a few buttons for multiplayer were added and the outlook for several windows was revised. He, who played the first Panzer General will find himself comfortable playing the second one.

PG 2 features separate campaigns for Germans, Russians and English with Americans. In fact, the operations start not from the canonic invasion into Poland, but earlier, in the period of the civil war in Spain, where the player will have to lead Francisco Franko's joined Italian and German troops into Madrid. Each side's missions encompass a wide time period, so the battles are not just copied from one campaign into another. Unlike in PG, the victory may be achieved in several ways. The player could go for either «Brilliant victory», «Normal Victory» or «Tactical Victory», each one of them has its own time limit. Should you fail to meet the limit – you will lose the game. But should you crush the enemy and achieve the Brilliant Victory – there is a small chance of laying your hands on a prototype unit that would otherwise grace the battlefield much later.

Literally crushing the enemy, however, is not necessary, since the only thing you need to do is capture the key points on the battlefield – the blitzkrieg tactics means everything here, while at the same time rendering stationary anti-tank or anti-air units virtually useless.

The battlefield has shrunk since PG, every hex equals approximately a square mile, so the planes do not need to return to the airfield for refuelling as much, and some advanced tanks will be able to shoot across the hex.

Every unit has a number of characteristics that describe it's quality: attack/defence rate versus infantry, armour, aerial and naval units, initiative, firing and movement range, visibility radius, ammo and fuel. However, plenty of other facts influence the outcome of the battle. Well-done logistics shorten the movement time – crossing the mountains might be perilous for both the vehicles and infantry, vehicles will find travelling along the roads easier, while infantry in the forest will have higher chance to survive in the battle with armoured tank divisions. Entrenchment ability will also influence their chance to survive – the gained bonus defence points will vary depending on the type of terrain. Thus a town siege may turn out a slaughter for the attacker.

Among other things, PG 2 introduced commanders. Every time a unit levels up there is a small chance that a leader will appear that will give it two special abilities. For example, an airplane will be able to act under any weather conditions or artillery will increase it's firing range.

PG 2 offers us a wide variety of vehicles. On the way from Pz. I to IS-3 we'll use hundreds of units, both famous, like Tiger or Sherman or T-34, and more obscure models of tanks and self-propelled vehicles. There's also a wide variety of planes and artillery – buy anything if you've got the money.

Prestige Points is the official currency of PG, awarded for capturing key cities and exceptional speed and which can be spent on new equipment, fuel, ammo and repairs.

That is pretty much everything that can be said about PG 2. What we have here is an expanded and revised edition of the original wargame with multiplayer support and increased difficulty, but not a new game.

Windows · by Virgil (8564) · 2007

Trivia

German version

The German version of the game was named Panzer General IIID, but someone at SSI forgot to change the ending trailer accordingly (see this picture in the screenshot section).

Awards

  • PC Gamer Magazine
    • April 2000 issue - voted #44 overall in Readers All-Time Top 50 Games Poll
  • PC Player
    • 01/1998 issue - Best Round Based Strategy Game in 1997

Information also contributed by Patrick Bregger and PCGamer77.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by faceless.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Daywalker, Alaka, Cantillon.

Game added December 14, 1999. Last modified January 22, 2024.