In WWII Tank Commander players join the battle as the commander of an M4 Sherman Tank in the Fourth Armored Division, under the legendary General Patton. The game features 30 missions in five levels, which follow the Allied advance from France into Germany and challenge players with assault, escort, defense, and rescue objectives. The budget-minded title is designed to appeal to a range of home computer gamers by blending historically accurate maps, equipment, and missions with fast action and a forgiving control scheme.
Commanding a Sherman tank in General Patton's Fourth Armored Division, you are saddled with the responsibility of turning the tide of war as you chase the Nazi's out of France and back to their homeland. Traveling over fields and through burned-out towns you will hunt the enemy down and destroy them where they stand. Unfortunately that's one of the game's biggest problems as the AI just stands out in the open taking shots at you while leaving themselves open to your cannon and machine guns. To make things more challenging, and less realistic, these infantry soldiers can actually damage your tank with their handheld rifles and machine guns.
In case you can't already surmise, WWII Tank Commander is not a sim. This is an arcade-style game with very little arcade-style fun. It's unchallenging and uninteresting. Driving the tank and shooting at things is the meat of the gameplay - and there are no vegetables or desserts served with this meal. There are 10 missions in all, which include escort, rescue, defense and assault. Because events are scripted there's no reason to play through them again as nothing will change. This is actually unavoidable since there are no save or checkpoint areas in the game. If your tank gets destroyed, you have to start the mission from the very beginning.
Although the tank takes on damage from infantry soldiers, it's pretty easy to keep yourself alive. There is a damage meter that lets you see how much more punishment you can endure but all you have to do is destroy an enemy tank and they will drop a health pack for you to drive over and increase your health on the meter. The AI is typically out in full view and the only way you're likely to get blown up is if you're not paying attention - which is easy to do considering how boring this game can be.
You will encounter the odd ambush and nest of enemy tanks that can do some quick damage to your tank. To counter this you can hide behind the fog of war and take pot shots at the enemy with your long-range tank gun and machine guns. Tanks in your division can take unlimited hits so it's advisable to hide behind them under such circumstances. Not that you have much of a choice because if you try to take the lead they will just jostle you back into position.
Virtually anyone can pick-up-and-play this game and for those that enjoy simple pleasures, this game will be a feast. There's no learning curve. Control-wise it's basically a first-person shooter. All you have to do is move, aim and shoot at enemy tanks, soldiers and installations. In some instances you can run over soldiers but other obstacles such as small wooden fences are impassible. Enemy tanks are destroyed in three hits while you can take a lot more damage. The machine gun has unlimited ammo and the cannon reloads itself in about three seconds. This would all be great if you had these features in real life, but in a game I need more of a challenge.
There is nothing offered beyond the 10 missions. Nothing to unlock, no alternate objectives, no difficulty levels and no multi-player. My entire take on the game might have been totally different had a multi-player mode been included. I would even settle for a two-player, though not a co-op. What this game needs is an intelligent opponent and therefore a head-to-head mode would be perfect.
Some of the textures are blurry and the tank models leave a lot to be desired but at least the game is able to convey a sense of depth to the environment. It's too bad that it becomes obscured by the fog of war, but when you're traveling to the next region it's really nice to see the authentically-rendered European countryside with its gentle rolling hills. The sound effects are decent but they aren't varied. You'll hear the same cannon blast and machine gun fire over and over again.
For a beginning gamer, WWII Tank Commander may not be a terrible choice. It's certainly cheap enough. A beginner may tolerate some of the game's shortcomings and may not mind having to replay through a scripted mission to learn where they went wrong. This extends the playing time, though artificially. An experienced gamer would find this under-stimulating and be able to blow through it in a matter of hours.
It's World War II and you are a commander of an M4 Sherman tank in the 4 th Armored Division, Patton's best and most elite division. From France to Germany, you will destroy opposition from the war's most fearsome tanks such as Panthers, Tigers and Hummels. Land on Utah Beach, cut off enemy forces at the Brittany Peninsula, smash Germans forces across the Moselle, relieve the besieged 101 st Airborne at Bastogne, cross the Rhine and chase the German forces into Czechoslovakia. Engage in non-stop military arcade action with authentic weapons. Multiple mission styles are included with objectives such as Assault, Escort, Defense, and Rescue.
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Wings over Europe: Cold War Gone Hot, Wings over Vietnam, WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger, Whirlwind over Vietnam, M1 Tank Platoon 2, Panzer Elite: Special Edition, Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater, Pacific Fighters
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