REVIEW / Panzer Tactics HD (PC)


Tired of video games that are built around the battles of World War II?  No?  Tired of games that tell the tales of the most important battles that took place during that conflict?  Still no?  Then fall in line soldier and gear up to relive the tide-turning offensives of the German troops, the Soviet counter-attacks and the liberation of Europe by Allied Forces across three intense battlefield campaigns in bitComposer Games and Sproing Interactive Media’s Panzer Tactics HD.

The year is 1939 and German troops set the stage for the greatest battles that the world would ever see by attacking Poland and plunging the whole of Europe into the Second World War.  If you were calling the shots for any of the armies involved, how would you fare in intensive battles covering three extensive campaigns?  Offering more than 150 units and countless tactical options at your disposal, Panzer Tactics HD will give you the means to answer this question.   Prove yourself against your opponents in more than 30 missions and additional scenarios that have been designed to give you the feeling of what it was like to experience the events firsthand.


The battlefield looks a lot like a table top game.


In Panzer Tactics HD, having to deal with obstacles such as adverse weather, varying terrain and the all-important morale of your troops makes each battle the ultimate battlefield challenge.  But beware, you can’t make any mistakes because the enemy will mercilessly exploit any tactical errors in order to grind your troops into dust.  Battles take place on a hexagonal battlefield that consists of the terrain that was present during that specific battle.  To work your way to victory, you must recruit and place you troops and equipment onto the battlefield and attempt to capture towns, small airfields and cities.  Your army can be increased in size and amount of equipment by taking these objectives and earning Fame points.  These points can then in turn be used to recruit more soldiers and equipment.  Troop units and equipment such as tanks and howitzers can only move certain distances at a time so it is imperative that you strategize how you want to approach a target using the terrain to your advantage to defeat them.  Gameplay happens over a certain number of rounds that equate to days of the campaign.  The faster you can defeat the enemy and capture their towns, the more Fame and bonuses you will earn.


All that's missing is the eyes and teeth on the nose of the plane.


The graphics in Panzer Tactics HD are one of the highlights of this game.  Although there is a hexagonal grid placed over the top of the battlefield map, the different elements that you would find in the landscape of Europe are very detailed.  Water can be seen flowing down rivers, trees in the forests are perfectly rendered, buildings look old and savaged by war, and clouds billow across the topography as cold rain showers pelt the ground.   The player only has a top down view from way up in the sky, but it allows you to see the expanse of hundreds of miles so that you can plan out your strategies in the quickest time without having to lose precious resources such as fuel, food and ammunition.  You can focus in on a particular area of the map but you can only get so close so if you have a smaller screen, you may have problems seeing just where your assets are on the grid when you are taking on enemy forces at a particular objective.


Anyone up for a swim?


The music in Panzer Tactics HD is spot on.  The score is comprised of music that helps to set the tone of the various battles.  From uptempo marching themes to brooding and intense battlefield tunes, the music is varied enough that you will not get tired of hearing the same tunes over and over.  This is important as some of the later missions are pretty tricky and you may find yourself restarting a campaign to get a better attack run going to the maps final objective.  The sound effects are equally impressive as bullets ricochet off of tank armor, grenades explode taking out enemy troops and large attack aircraft swoop in and save your bacon by providing much needed air support.  The musical score and the sound effects both combine to create an experience that is satisfying and highly entertaining.

The era of World War II seems to be a time that video game creators just can’t seem to get away from.  So many games have been made about the battles of this war that some may be tired of playing the same old stories albeit in new video game formats.  If that doesn’t bother you then Panzer Tactics HD is a good way to spend your time.  This game basically just boils down to a table top game that was made into a video game.  The pacing is very slow as you can take your time to think out your moves and thus have a better chance at victory.  If the slow pace isn’t for your then Brothers in Arms or some of the early Call of Duty games might be a better use of your available gaming time.