Codename Panzers: Phase 2 Review

Developer: StormRegion Publisher: CDV
Release Date: July 25, 2005 Also On: None

Is the realtime strategy genre becoming a washed-out flavorless type like the now-numb WWII shooter genre? With the slew of RTS’s coming out lately, you might think so. However, Codename Panzers: Phase 2 brings a fresh new take on the RTS game.

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First of all, unlike most games in this genre, this game is made to seem realistic. No nuclear warheads, weaponized weather or aliens. This game has things like rifle infantry, grenadiers, flamethrower units, medics, (etc.), and of course tanks and… Panzers! This game really feels like a WWII FPS graphics-wise, because, like I mentioned, it really is set to be more realistic. Speaking of graphics, it really is a top-notch game in the visuals department. The textures are sharp and the animations fit, plus you can zoom in using the scroll wheel, without losing any graphic quality. The cutscenes are rendered in real time, and feature nice, unique models for each character and the voices seem to match.

My only real, REAL gripe about this game is the audio. The music is fine, (very good actually), but the sound effects are easily some of the most repetitive I have heard in a video game since the early days of Madden commentators on the PS1. For instance, if you have a tank, and the enemy has a tank, and you attack them, obviously both tanks will be firing at each other. Well, for some reason every time you are shot it plays one of two sound effects (depending on your team of course). So you’ll have to get used to hearing “Mammamia they hit us hard!� OVER AND OVER. You’ll feel like screaming “I know, you can stop telling me! I’m watching the damn game!!�

Gameplay wise, it feels more like a squad game than an RTS sometimes. Your units come in small groups, like in Battle for Middle Earth. Rather than just having soldiers which have a single weapon, one cool feature of Panzers is the fact that if you have a group of machine-gunners, you can equip grenades to them to allow them to attack artillery. It’s the little things like that which make Panzers fun to play. It’s also the little things like that which separate Phase 2 from… well… Phase 1. There really isn’t a lot of difference in the gameplay or engine, so this game would be more accurately as an expansion pack which doesn’t require the original to play.

This really takes a game like Command and Conquer and adds tons of little features like headlights on tanks that you would assume would only make it more complicated, but surprisingly enough, it doesn’t make it much more complicated at all, and really adds a lot of fun. They take the standards of RTS games and make it more detailed. For instance, in most RTS’s, if there is a tank shooting at you, you would consider running away. But in Panzers, tanks have different amounts of armor depending on where you shoot them, so if you run, your chances of dying are higher because the armor on the back of the tanks is significantly weaker than that on the front.

This game seems like more time went into each level than most other games lately, and if you have some patience, like if you look around an area before raiding it, you may find a path to a better vantage point on the base.

Codename Panzers: Phase 2 is really the RTS for everyone. Casual players will enjoy it’s simple, intuitive gameplay and clever level design and hardcore players will like it’s new take on the RTS genre.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.1
Written by Dave Review Guide

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