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Atari 50
Written by  :  Virgil (8604)
Written on  :  Jun 13, 2007
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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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.

Atari Fossil