but no tanks. by
24, 2006 - If
you took all the WWII-based videogames that have been
released in the last 20 years I'm sure the combined
gameplay hours would last longer than the actual war.
I've served in that war so many times via videogames
that I'm sure I qualify for a vet's pension. Don't
believe me? Just get me drunk and let me regale you
with my war stories. One story in particular seems
to fascinate listeners. It's the story of a man and
his tank. It doesn't have a happy ending, but come
to think of it, it doesn't have a happy middle or
ending either. It's a rather sad tale but one that's
worth telling if just to caution those that might
attempt such an undertaking.
begin with the disclaimer. WWII Tank Commander is
a budget title and that should explain everything.
I know that may be an ignorant statement to make since
there are some very good budget titles available and
that we shouldn't judge the quality of a game by its
price. If we did that, WWII Tank Commander should
a Sherman tank in General Patton's Fourth Armored
Division, you are saddled with the responsibility
of turning the tide of war as you chase the Nazi's
out of France and back to their homeland. Travelling
over fields and through burned-out towns you will
hunt the enemy down and destroy them where they stand.
Unfortunately that's one of the game's biggest problems
as the AI just stands out in the open taking shots
at you while leaving themselves open to your cannon
and machine guns. To make things more challenging,
and less realistic, these infantry soldiers can actually
damage your tank with their handheld rifles and machine
case you can't already surmise, WWII Tank Commander
is not a sim. This is an arcade-style game with very
little arcade-style fun. It's unchallenging and uninteresting.
Driving the tank and shooting at things is the meat
of the gameplay - and there are no vegetables or desserts
served with this meal. There are 10 missions in all,
which include escort, rescue, defense and assault.
Because events are scripted there's no reason to play
through them again as nothing will change. This is
actually unavoidable since there are no save or checkpoint
areas in the game. If your tank gets destroyed, you
have to start the mission from the very beginning.
the tank takes on damage from infantry soldiers, it's
pretty easy to keep yourself alive. There is a damage
meter that lets you see how much more punishment you
can endure but all you have to do is destroy an enemy
tank and they will drop a health pack for you to drive
over and increase your health on the meter. The AI
is typically out in full view and the only way you're
likely to get blown up is if you're not paying attention
- which is easy to do considering how boring this
game can be.
will encounter the odd ambush and nest of enemy tanks
that can do some quick damage to your tank. To counter
this you can hide behind the fog of war and take pot
shots at the enemy with your long-range tank gun and
machine guns. Tanks in your division can take unlimited
hits so it's advisable to hide behind them under such
circumstances. Not that you have much of a choice
because if you try to take the lead they will just
jostle you back into position.
anyone can pick-up-and-play this game and for those
that enjoy simple pleasures, this game will be a feast.
There's no learning curve. Control-wise it's basically
a first-person shooter. All you have to do is move,
aim and shoot at enemy tanks, soldiers and installations.
In some instances you can run over soldiers but other
obstacles such as small wooden fences are impassible.
Enemy tanks are destroyed in three hits while you
can take a lot more damage. The machine gun has unlimited
ammo and the cannon reloads itself in about three
seconds. This would all be great if you had these
features in real life, but in a game I need more of
is nothing offered beyond the 10 missions. Nothing
to unlock, no alternate objectives, no difficulty
levels and no multi-player. My entire take on the
game might have been totally different had a multi-player
mode been included. I would even settle for a two-player,
though not a co-op. What this game needs is an intelligent
opponent and therefore a head-to-head mode would be
of the textures are blurry and the tank models leave
a lot to be desired but at least the game is able
to convey a sense of depth to the environment. It's
too bad that it becomes obscured by the fog of war,
but when you're traveling to the next region it's
really nice to see the authentically-rendered European
countryside with its gentle rolling hills. The sound
effects are decent but they aren't varied. You'll
hear the same cannon blast and machine gun fire over
and over again.
a beginning gamer, WWII Tank Commander may not be
a terrible choice. It's certainly cheap enough. A
beginner may tolerate some of the game's shortcomings
and may not mind having to replay through a scripted
mission to learn where they went wrong. This extends
the playing time, though artificially. An experienced
gamer would find this under-stimulating and be able
to blow through it in a matter of hours. I've certainly
spend more money, in less time, on worse things, but
it doesn't take an accounting genius to tell me that
I've got to stop wasting my money on games like this.
in multiple mission styles with objectives such
as Assault, Escort, Defense, and Rescue
on 30 objectives over 10 levels
in detailed WWII-era environments
well-known campaigns of "Patton's Best"
AMD64-optimization for better gameplay, visuals,
and overall gaming experience
Electronic chapter from the book "Patton's
Vanguard: The United States Army Fourth Armored