WWII Battletanks: T34 v Tiger

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Just completed WWII Battletanks: T34 v Tiger :thumbsup:

I am not really a simulator person, but the tank action in Call Of Duty and Brotherhood In Arms series wetted my appetite and so I went on the look for a tank game. The market seemed quite split between pure arcade and simulation - so cautiously I thought I would try the latter.

Gameplay is what you would expect from a simulator, i.e. somewhat deep. It took me awhile to get the tank moving let alone fighting. The instructions on ranging and firing the cannon, complete with formulas and associated maths, tells it's own story. And when you do get going some of the missions are slow to start - one mission requires you to drive some distance before you see any action - and even then only if you overtake your own forces to move to the front of the column. Clearly the players this game is suited for will relish such features though.

The pure simulation is made a little easier by the ability to put the Tank positions into auto - you can choose to select upto two of the three tank positions (Commander, Gunner and Driver) to be controlled by AI. As I just wanted a tank shooter, I found the game played well with me as the Commander and the other two positions, both of which are the simulator heavy elements, in auto. This meant I could just con the tank to the location I wanted and direct fire. This had mixed results, it took a while to get used to the specifics of the tanks - the Tiger for example is better shooting when stationary - but it soon becomes fairly clear how your tank and crew will respond in a given situation. However the issue with using auto does raise the 'where is the game'? As Commander the action does sort of go into auto - the Gunner will shoot targets in his sights, auto select ammo and so forth. So the non-AI positions are left with little to do.

The simulation theme is re-enforced by the damage your tank can take, i.e. not much. If you're unaware of traditional German/Russian tank strategies then you will suffer - TvsT is a game for enthusiasts. Your tank can withstand a few hits but if the engine goes, if a track is damaged or a crew member dies - it becomes a frustrating experience. This is compounded by the game's lack of an 'in mission' save game ability. This means you can spend ages getting into position only to suffer some bad luck in the initial firefights and have to restart. Arggh! Whilst mitigated by an 'invulnerable' setting in the menu, this merely adds to the issues with regards to the playability. Where's the fun if there is no risk?

The game is let down a little by the AI. The 'auto' positions are fine - but when you are working with friendly units things can be a nightmare. On one of the German missions, half a dozen tanks splinter into two teams to commence a pincer movement on some Russians. Whilst if you join one of the teams everything works fine and dandy, if you join the other then the first team decides just to sit there and not attack! Very annoying! The enemy AI is also a little suspect. Enemy tanks are fine - the game has obviously been carefully crafted to ensure their tactics are accurate - but the enemy infantry is awful. I am fairly certain that Soviet troops would did not stand still at attention as a Tiger tank drove into their defensive position and systematically machine gunned them down.

Graphics wise TvsT isn't bad. The tanks are very well modelled and accurrately represented down to the finest detail. The tanks leave enduring tracks as they roll on and trees and other obstacles fall in the path of the mighty vehicles. The environments are functional - perhaps a little to spartan but then once you've seen the likes of Crysis what isn't? Some of the animations, for example the tank crew and infantry, are a little primative though - they are nowhere near as well animated as you would expect.

All in all I wouldn't recommend this game if you are just after an easy tank shooter - it can be made playable as such by using the auto positions but there isn't much of a game left once you do. But if your after a simulator, that goes into great depth and detail, this is it. Overall I would rate this game as 5 / 10 - I suspect WWII tank buffs would rate it much higher though.
 

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