Reviews - Updated on April 7, 2022

The first Panzer Corps was released at the beginning of the last decade and was aimed primarily at fans of the famous wargame Panzer General – the classic turn-based strategy of 1994, which became the starting point for many similar games. With the release of the continuation, the developers from Flashback Games were in no hurry, preferring to develop the franchise in a horizontal plane due to DLC and marked the release of Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon, where the basic principles of the wargame remained the same, but the world was replaced by the gloomy universe of “Warhammer”.

The years go by. Panzer Corps will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary, and with the phrase “turn-based wargame about World War II”, Order of Battle is increasingly remembered – competition, no matter how conditional it may be, given the same publisher (Slitherine Ltd. produces the lion’s share of all wargames) , is present even in such a niche genre. It’s time for the release of Panzer Corps 2, which, according to its creators, should be “the best strategy game about World War II.”

Art of War

The sequel is not far from the first part in terms of the basics of the gameplay. The rules, which at first glance are no different from the classic systems of most turn-based strategies, are simple even for those who are just trying their hand at this genre. It seems that everything is on the surface – know for yourself, move units in turn, beat the enemy with numerical superiority, and do not forget to make up for losses in time. But it is unlikely that the first part, like the original Panzer General, would have become so popular if everything here was so simple and primitive.

Each unit, in addition to such obvious properties as attack power and squad size, has almost two dozen more parameters – movement type, range, fuel and ammunition supply, viewing radius, initiative, the effect of experience on the effectiveness of actions …

One of the key indicators is depression, which is responsible for the combat capability of the unit. The higher the suppression, the fewer units in each squad are able to fire at the enemy. Suppressed units are more likely to retreat or surrender during an enemy attack, so suppressive fire is of great importance – it is not as deadly, but is indispensable when storming fortifications and attacking strong enemy units. The influence of terrain and weather on combat operations, encirclement, airfield captures, landings behind enemy lines, ambushes – all this will find a place in the game. Behind the external simplicity lies a rather deep mechanic, the knowledge of which is indispensable for victory in any battle.

Panzer Corps 2 game review

September 1 – back to Poland. It is a pity that in the game the campaign is only for Germany.

The harder the more interesting

The game is quite difficult, especially in the campaign mode, where in addition to winning in the scenario, the need to plan your actions in advance is added. It is not enough to defeat the enemy in one mission – if you throw the enemy with “meat”, then the bloodless units will be completely helpless in the next task. The prestige points that are given for capturing key hexes have to be spent wisely. Which is better – to replenish the forces of a squad battered in battle, to bring fresh but inexperienced forces into battle, or to try to cope with what we have in order to gain prestige for the next mission? The choice forces you to approach the planning of each move more thoughtfully, because the wrong distribution of resources can lead to the fact that the campaign will have to end in the middle, left without pumped units.

It seems that the difficulty settings should help here, but they seem to only work in one direction. With the exception of a couple of items, like free elite replenishment between missions, almost every option makes the enemy even stronger or adds new challenges for the player. Still, Panzer Corps 2 is for those who continue, among whom you can meet those who claim that the new strategy is too simple!

There is only one campaign so far – for Germany. A little more life in the dry world of numbers and calculations, without which Panzer Corps 2 is nowhere, the developers are trying to make forks in the passage – sometimes the player is given a choice of which theater of war to go to next time. This also includes personalization of the commander – although in fact this is another set of difficulty settings, disguised as a choice of the strengths and weaknesses of your general.

There are more than two dozen scenarios in the full walkthrough, and you can start not with the invasion of Poland in 1939, but, for example, with the defense of Italy or with battles in North Africa, if the battles with early models of equipment are not so interesting to you. Yes, don’t expect any “tigers” on June 22 – the developers have observed the minimum historical realism.

Panzer Corps 2 game review

Strategic map mode. It could have been better.

For those who want more freedom, there is a random scenario generator and a full-fledged editor – there you can at least pit the Americans and the British somewhere in the snowy mountains. Multiplayer is not forgotten, and even such exotics as hotseat and PBEM (the classic game mode by correspondence through the Slitherine Ltd. server) are available.

The military got the map, now they will ask for directions

The first Panzer Corps outwardly strongly resembled its mastermind, the Panzer General. Uncomplicated two-dimensional graphics, a minimum of animations and sound – all this looked rather ascetic even by the standards of 2011.

The continuation, on the contrary, tries to use the possibilities of modern technologies to the maximum. Each unit is a full-fledged 3D model, which can be viewed in detail if desired, and different units of the same type are easy to distinguish from each other. How much this is necessary in such wargames is a debatable question. Good graphics are always nice, but still, such strategies clearly do not imply admiring your own and enemy soldiers or tanks – much more important is the convenient display of units for full control of the battle.

Panzer Corps 2 game review

The active turn and attack icons are false – I have already moved and fought with this unit this turn. This bug adds a lot of confusion to planning, especially in large-scale battles.

Just with this, Panzer Corps 2 has tangible problems. The color indication is confusing: the color of the icon for each unit depends on the faction affiliation, and not on whether this unit is friendly or enemy. In the campaign for the Germans, all our units will have a gray color “epaulettes”, while the enemy ones will have green or red. It seems to be a trifle, but how much inconvenience such a strange indication causes at first.

It’s good that the size of these icons can be increased in the settings – so they become at least more noticeable against the background of the map, even if they overlap each other at a great distance in places where troops are concentrated. Forgetting to make a move with a unit that “hid” behind the tactical badge of a neighbor or an air unit is in the order of things. You have to master the sidebar, which lists all the available units, and put up with its bulkiness – the pictures there, of course, are beautiful, and the data about your troops is now at hand, but it takes up a good quarter of the screen.

There is a strategic mode, but it is also not very convenient – only the type of unit is visible on it, you can not see the exact number of troops in each squad (instead of a specific number, a bar above the icon is shown, decreasing as losses occur). As for the vaunted three-dimensionality … And why is it here? To see the model of each combat unit in all its details, you have to zoom in a lot – beautiful, but absolutely useless for the gameplay, given the huge size of the locations and the need to keep the whole picture of the battle in front of your eyes. Was it worth sacrificing convenience for these dubious graphical advantages? It is unlikely – personally, a convenient and informative interface would have helped me much more than fashionable three-dimensional models.

“Thousands of units of military equipment”! No kidding, the set of units here is very, very rich.

***

Panzer Corps 2 cannot be called the “best strategy game about World War II” – there are too few fresh ideas in it, noticeable not only to veterans who started with the same Panzer General, and even modern graphics do not make the weather.

However, it is precisely as a turn-based strategy in a narrow subgenre of wargames that continue the work of the “general”, the work of Flashback Games is very good and can really be considered one of the best at the moment. The only thing missing is the variety in the single player campaign – the scenarios for the Germans are already fed up. But judging by the first part, the elimination of this shortcoming is only a matter of time.

Pros: complex but addictive gameplay; big campaign; scenario generator and mission editor; many types of units and military equipment, each of which has its own role on the battlefield.

Cons: not the best implementation of the interface; Campaign only for Germany.

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