Sunday, 7 December 2008

Review - Lighthouse Interactive - WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger

Lighthouse Interactive - WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger

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7 out of 10

I'll get the techie issue out of the way first - Vista did not want to know this game. It refused to install the Direct X bits and bobs, claiming that, as it was Vista, it didn't need them. Upon completion of the install and initial launch of the game, error messages abounded. Apparently Direct X wasn't installed, or something. Luckily, XP did the business.

This is not an arcade-style modern-day 'Battletank' (for those of you who remember that far). It is a full-on sim, attempting to place you as one of the crew in what was, at the time, the last word in land-based mobile destruction. Attention to detail is quite frightening - if your computer is high-spec, you're in for a treat - from sweeping landscapes to garbled radio messages as fellow tank crew are blown to bits. Controls take some getting used to, but then they would if you were driving / shooting / commanding the real thing. And that's the game's downfall - in concentrating on historical accuracy, the developers have foregone a great deal of gameplay. There's no 'boot camp' or 'training mode'. You choose your side, kick off your campaign and that's it - it's just you, your crew and the tank from then on (plus other tanks, of course). It took me a few minutes to work out how to start my tank's engine.

Not a game for quick blasts, this is one which demands time to really appreciate it. You even need to memorise the keyboard controls properly, as there's no neat summary in the manual. When things get dangerous (as they almost constantly do) the stress for the player is quite palpable - one moment you can be merrily bearing down on your objective and then suddenly your driver is machine-gunned, or a hidden anti-tank gun knocks your tracks off. You take over the gun sight and fluff the calculations you need to make to hit the enemy war machine roaring towards you . . . but thankfully it's only a game. Maybe that's why a training mode was missed out - it'd be a whole game itself.



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