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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

CDV Software

 

Developer

Nival Interactive

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 2, 2005

 

 

- Lots much nicer than the original

- Tidy interface

- "Micro strategy" actually helps in bigger picture

- No resource collection

- Tank rush has been neutered

 

 

- Steep learning curve for those new to the genre

- Just plain bad music

- Camera can't zoom out quite far enough

 

 

Review: Codename Panzers, Phase One (PC)

Review: Call of Duty (PC)

Review: Blitzkrieg (PC)

Review: Soldiers: Heroes of World War II (PC)

 

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Blitzkrieg 2

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Blitzkrieg, roughly translated into English as "lighting war" and it was a tactic used to some success by Germany at the start of World War II.  It involved masses of armored divisions cutting through (or just going around) enemy defenses toward a specific objective.  Strangely enough employing a blitzkrieg tactic in Blitzkrieg 2 will almost always result in failure -- your units blowing up real good in the face of entrenched armor and/or infantry.

 

blitzkrieg 2          blitzkrieg 2

 

While Blitzkreig 2 only offers a general nod to the history of WWII, Nival Interactive has paid careful attention to the different units (about 250) which helps to take up the slack in the historical accuracy department.  Four infantry units cannot bring down a tank and a tank's weak point -- it's flank -- can be exploited to your advantage and will actually affect your tactics, which basically means Nival has managed to almost eliminate the tank rush.

 

In fact, Nival seems to have gone out of their way to limit the tank rush.  There's no gathering resources.  Instead, as you complete missions you collect points and earn commanders, which can be used to "up" your reinforcements and level-up your units.  So instead of amassing a huge army then pushing through strategy actually needs to be used, in particular because there are some pathfinding issues.  While a certain level of weird jostling is almost an accepted part of the real-time strategy genre, I'm a little tired watching units wander off into danger zones.  That said, Blitzkrieg 2 doesn't have any more or less bizarre instances of pathfinding quirks that every other real-time strategy game out there.  But this time I'm prepared to let it slide a bit because Nival did neuter the tank rush.

 

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The most notable upgrade for Blitzkrieg 2 over its predecessor is the graphics engine.  This is literally a "wow" upgrade over the original.  The only downside is that the camera can't be pulled out quite far enough.  The distance is great during ground assaults but when planes are thrown into the mix it's almost overwhelming trying to see where everything is.  Still, the details are there -- buildings crumble, explosions are satisfying -- and it's fun to watch.

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Also improved from the original is a great variety of mission types.  The standard "blow up everything" is put alongside protection and assist type missions.  Together these missions form part of a larger campaign that ends with an historical battle.  Most of the historical battles make the rest of the operation before it seem like a cakewalk.  The historical battles are epic in size and scope and depending on how the skirmishes leading up to the battle were approached you may find yourself with an almost hopeless cause.  Using up reinforcement points in a haphazard way to call in costly airstrikes to decimate enemy fortifications is fine, if you're willing to accept the fact that you won't have those reinforcements when you might really need them later on.  It's an extra level of strategy that Nival has laid over the "micro strategy" conducted throughout each operation and at the successful conclusion of each massive historical battle there's a high level of satisfaction for a job will done.

 

blitzkrieg 2          blitzkrieg 2

 

Through the game features three distinct campaigns -- U.S., Germany, and Soviet Union -- and a moderate to good level of replayability, Nival has also included multiplayer support, which permits up to eight players to mix it up.  The only difference between the single-player and multiplayer is that there's no cap on reinforcements.  While this means an unbridled show of force, there's also a time restriction between uses of reinforcements. (There is a patch available to address some technical bugs and its recommended to apply it first as it makes the multiplayer more stable.)

 

The real downside, other than a relatively steep learning curve for newcomers to the genre, to Blitzkrieg 2 is the poor choice of music.  Techno-muzak may be a good description.  Nival would have done well to left a page from most World War II shooters released in the last few years and incorporated music themes and styles from the 1940s.

 

With an emphasis on realism (tempered by fun), actual strategy and a healthy-looking graphics engine, Blitzkrieg 2 would be a great addition to any strategy fans game library.

 

- D.D. Nunavut

(October 27, 2005)

 

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