Now before you glance at the title and think "Uh oh, wargame"
and turn away in disgust, don’t, because this wargame is actually
quite good. Ah yes, well good or not, it’s still a war game you
might think. Then I would have to tell you that this wargame is
actually quite different from the usual. Which I have to tell you
anyway, so you might as well read on.
Panzer General 3D Assault is a wargame (gasp!). Indeed, and I as
mentioned before, it differs greatly from the old style hexagons
proudly bearing their little "tank" and "tank munching" icons. Now,
looking at some of the screenshots (to your right), you can see the
obvious major difference in that Panzer General is now equipped
with a very capable 3D engine. The terrain generated by this
engine mainly consists of an awful lot of flat land, but also
contains some rolling hills and mountains that are stretched over
by the appropriate land textures. The textures are brightly colored
to keep the good looks of the game up, because over the terrain
there are the 3D modeled tanks and planes. These little models
are scattered about and generally look pretty good when driving
around from place to place, but the animations soon get irritating
and lose their interest. Then you quickly skip them to hurry it up a
bit. The animations still retain their value for attracting new
gamers to the genre. That’s is basically what the graphics do, any
gamer who has contemplated playing a wargame but just didn’t
get there for some reason, here’s their chance now, since PG3D is
looking to cater to those new to the genre.
Now I must admit that I myself have never played any real war
games before, so any wargame religious factions that might be
following me up to here should take note of that. Call me a fool
(no don’t actually), but I was allured to this title by the pretty
graphics, as I was also looking for a good game to enter the
strategy game genre with. The game’s setting is on the Western
Front, completely ignoring history it also sets foot on some
American soil at times. It would be infinitely frustrating to
complete your German campaign only to receive the message that
even though you did a jolly good job of it; you’re screwed anyway
because you lost. So if your German campaign goes well you’ll be
invading England and the US to settle the score. There are four
grand campaigns to choose from with about 18 missions each, two
German, an English and a US campaign. Then there are 4 much
smaller campaigns, and for all you people who wanted to play the
*cough*, wonderful French in the Second World War, here’s your
chance. With the revered LeClerc starring in a 7 mission campaign
of getting slaughtered by the Nazi’s, though luckily with this title,
you can turn the tide and do some winning on the African Front.
So campaign wise you’ll be set for the next half year.
Now as with all war games, this is a turn-based affair. The game is
sufficiently well detailed and has enough options to confuse some
in the beginning. Luckily for the average inexperienced war
gamer, a right click on most buttons with unfamiliar icons brings
up a little box explaining exactly what the button means in a short
paragraph. Though this is simply a pop-up help system, I must still
say its brilliant. Never have I been able to find out what certain
things did so simply before, and it shouldn’t be long before you are
fully aware of what every little option does exactly and how to use
it. The best aspect of PG3D, and what makes mainly keeps you
glued to the screen to continue just one more battle, is the ranking
system where all your commanders (tank commanders, anti-air,
artillery, reckon, etc.) gain experience as they are promoted. The
higher their rank, the more action points they have, and after a
few increases in rank they will gain new abilities and orders. The
other major driving point is the addition of new weapons to your
deadly arsenal. As the war progresses you will still be peddling
along with Panzer IIIG’s, and lousy little fighters who keep getting
shot to many little bits you start to receive the new weapons of war
from the arms factories back home. Then Panzer V’s and the Tiger
get added to your arsenal along with the first jet engine
Messerschmit, which simply blows every other fighter plane to
pieces. The only disappointing thing here is that I would really like
to have seen a few dozen pages of meaningless statistics and
some sort of end-score to brag about as the game seems to lack
any sort of summary.
Well even though the music can get mind-bogglingly repetitive at
times, the marching war theme played for the nation you choose
gets strangely hypnotic and atmospheric. When turning the music
of the battle suddenly becomes strangely dull with the little "pows"
and "booms" of your little war toys going at it. With the big proud
orchestrated marching music on it gives it all a sense of power,
your little toys are no longer toy tanks "pow-powing" at each other.
But are instead great big lumbering war machines of death,
destruction and mayhem out to slaughter those irritating
ammunition munching cannon fodder (infantry).
Multiplayer is done as well as it could have been I suppose. You
can play over a network or over the Internet via TCP/IP or Mplayer.
A Play-By-Email mode is curiously missing, which would be well
received since honestly it’s a rather boring affair over a network.
Apart from the frantic bloody mayhem, which ensues after a little
while of Half-Life on the network, Panzer General 3D is
depressingly dull when played over a network. It only managed to
keep me occupied for two games before my mind was filled with
images of people running around screaming and getting their
heads blown off. I decided it would be safest if I were to continue
playing Half-Life instead. Though if two people are wargame
fanatics I don’t doubt that they could occupy themselves for a very
long time. But really this game is more created for the single
player campaigns. To be fair to Pg3D though, every war game with
multiplayer would be boring in the same way, it is in no way
Well there isn’t much to winch about at this title, although it would
have been really nice if there had been the tiniest hint of variation
in mission objectives (instead of always capture such and such).
For the rest, the commander ranking system and the progressively
huge arsenal at your disposal, along with the huge gratification of
annihilating hordes of enemy battalions in sweeping blitzkrieg
motions whilst not taking a scratch of return fire and just generally
kicking some ass, makes Panzer General 3D a wonderful war
game to play when you have a lot of free time on your hands.
HighsGraphics are rather nice
Can get wonderfully addictive
Perfect for anybody wishing to enter the war gaming genre
LowsMission objectives don’t vary…at all…ever.
Needs wads of incomprehensibly endless piles of statistics at
Multiplayer is awfully boring (though that’s the genre’s fault