PC REVIEW: BLITZKREIG: BURNING HORIZON

From the German perspective, Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon illustrates a different strategy in the theatre of war. This time you're not so much fighting the enemy as you are the enemy - attempting to expand your empire. It's a deep and satisfying game that is challenging enough for any war nerd but packs enough features such as a comprehensive manual and paused commands that makes it accessible for beginners as well.

As the expansion pack to Blitzkrieg, Burning Horizon is a stand-alone game that features 18 single-player campaigns. You'll revisit famous battles such as Ardennes, Tripolis, Tobruk, El Alamein, Sicily, Normandy and D-Day. It features the Rommel's Armored Seventh and Japan has been added as a new nation. There are also more than 50 new units to use and abuse.

You'll control tanks, jeeps, infantry, artillery and aircraft throughout the game. Some of the missions manage to keep things organized for a while but when all hell breaks loose you'll appreciate being able to pause the game to issue orders. More advanced players will be able to play in real time if they choose but if you want to assign waypoints and other commands to individual units at any time you'll appreciate the pause feature. Turn-based players will feel right at home.

Getting started with the manual will take some time but it's about as clear as can be expected. It will also give you pointers on strategies as well as outlines the basic concepts of war. The interface is excellent and you can access all kinds of detailed information on various weapon and vehicles. War historians can use this game as a documentary of sorts. Virtually all of the German's vehicles and artillery are displayed in great detail giving you stats on their strengths and weaknesses as well as when they were invented and during what years they were used. After successful missions you'll be able to upgrade some of your units but the game strives for historical accuracy so you won't be able to have equipment before it debuts at its virtual epoch.

All your related units can be selected at once or you can select individual units just as easily. There are shortcut keys but with so many units at your disposal it's a real daunting task to even attempt to memorize a few of them. All of the commands you select from the interface will display the shortcut which means you will be able to learn the most important commands by sheer exposure to them. You can save the game at any time and any place. There is no auto save so make sure you don't forget to save and save often. Remember, even Jesus saves.

You can't really call this game beautiful but the maps are well done. They show enough detail to alert you to any imposing threat but you can't always make out the individual units and some of the key commands. The sounds of war are as good as any game out there but all of the music sounds like it was taken from the same song.

Burning Horizon has found a way to appeal to a wider audience while not alienating hardcore strategy fans. There's a lot to do and learn. Nobody ever said that war would be easy - but nobody ever said it was fun, either.

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System: PC
Dev: Nival Interactive
Pub: CDV
Release: June 2004
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
2.5
VALUE
3.0