Panzer General 3D Assault simulates the horrors of World War II without all the bloodshed. With elements of chess and football, the game teaches you harsh lessons about strategy, strength, and sacrifice. Don't expect to jump into the game and win immediately, as doing so will require practice and a somewhat significant time investment.
While Panzer General 3D Assault falls short of many strategy games, such as the Commandos series, it's still fun to play, especially for those who prefer the look and feel of an animated board game to that of a blood-and-guts action game. Because there are so many units to deploy and place on the board, individual turns can last a very long time. Depending on the commitment of the gamer, this allows time to think about moves or can lead to intense boredom and haphazard troop movement.
Like all good simulations, many variables determine the outcome of each battle. The stronger tank, plane or platoon doesn't necessarily win, making the game extremely tough. A good battle scenario can take an hour or more to complete while an intense campaign can run a full day. Nothing is certain in Panzer General 3D Assault. To be successful, you need to know capabilities of various weapons and vehicles -- learn which tank does the most damage, which plane can absorb the most hits and which ground troops can face down a machine gun nest. The absurdly thick manual is necessary reading for gamers who wish to win the war.
The game contains no graphic violence but there is a real human element evident. When a unit is destroyed, a picture of its commander is displayed with a stamp designating KIA (killed in action) or MIA (missing in action). This might seem hokey but the point is driven home that the game is all about a war where hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives. In terms of graphics, Panzer General 3D Assault is fairly good. The textures of the game maps are remarkable and the men and vehicles quite detailed.
The only complaint is the difficulty in clicking on some icons on the game board due to their small size. However, the miniaturization is necessary due to the wide scope and nature of gameplay but, at times, your units are indiscernible from enemy units, especially when smoke is rising from the battlefield. Bigger graphics might have helped but a different color scheme would be a better fix.
Panzer General 3D Assault is filled with blaring military music. No important audio instructions are heard in the game so the option to silence the trumpets and tubas by lowering the settings is welcome. There are a few sound effects in the game, including planes diving, trucks rolling and machine guns blazing but none are important to the game per se.
Although enjoyable, the game doesn't rank as high as other war simulations for several reasons. There are too many units to place and move during each turn and it seems to take an inordinate amount of time if you're going to do it correctly. Additionally, your enemy has just as many units to place and you're forced to sit through those maneuvers as well. It's possible to left-click a unit to override animations but, unfortunately, there's no "override all animations" feature, requiring you to click on every single unit you want to skip. Obviously, this can result in a clicking-fest after each turn.
Panzer General 3D Assault features dozens of campaign variations as well as good single-battle scenarios leading to a high replay value. Engaging in multiplayer games via the Internet proved to be problematical as the program went through several software updates with the final result being a no-go. Fortunately, the computer AI provides a sufficient challenge.
Among war simulations, the game ranks high intellectually and is fun and fulfilling as well. World War II buffs should love the intricate scenarios and campaigns but gamers who want an easier and simpler title with more action may not have the patience required to get the most out of the game. No matter what your preference, though, Panzer General 3D Assault is definitely worth a look.
Graphics: The battlefield textures are rich but the units could be a bit larger.
Sound: The soundtrack sounds like a never-ending marching band practice. The sound drips patriotism, along with a few sounds of war.
Enjoyment: The game is tough to play and requires an in-depth study of strategy and troop movements. If you're looking for a mental challenge, look no further.
Replay Value: Dozens of campaign variations and battle scenarios ensure a high replay value.
People who downloaded Panzer General 3D Assault have also downloaded:
Panzer General 3: Scorched Earth, Panzer General 2, Panzer General, Pacific General, Panzer General for Windows 95, People's General (a.k.a. Dynasty General), Allied General, Civil War Generals 2
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