Panzer Elite review

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
Author and references

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My name is Elite, Panzer Elite.

Let's start by saying that, despite the name, the packaging of the game is quite spartan. In the reduced DVD-BOX we find two CDs (one for the game itself and the other for goodies and expansions) and a small manual. In the approximately 80 pages of the manual we find the first indications to move in the three-dimensional environments of the game and a quick and essential (at least for non-veterans of the genre) summary of the history of the armed infantry, from the first timid attempts of the English models used in the War of ' 15-'18 until the maturity reached during the Second World War. In the original version (later you will find out why this clarification), about two years of armed clashes are retraced through the three game scenarios: from the operations in the African desert of '42 to the landing in Normandy.
The factions that can be selected are only two: Germany and the United States and for once we will be encouraged to fight for the "bad guys" as the German vehicles (the mythical Tiger above all) are certainly more delicious than the Yankee ones.
The game options are many, through the setting of various parameters we will be able to transform Panzer Elite from an easy arcade-like game to a complex and at times nerve-wracking simulator as rigorous as it is full of satisfactions. Don't be fooled though: the transition from one style of play to another is anything but fast and, if you are a novice of the genre, many hours of training will wait for you before being able to master your vehicle without the slightest help from the computer. There are four game modes: quick match (practically the aim is to survive as long as possible), single scenario, campaign and Multiplayer, attention that, at the moment, owners of Windows 2000 / XP will not be able to use the latter mode.
The title certainly does not stop at simulating your deeds on the battlefield: before embarking on each mission in fact you will have to decide which tanks to use, with which armaments (ammunition, gasoline loaded, etc ...) and above all with which crew. The management aspect is certainly not overwhelming, however it gives that extra touch of realism that never hurts.




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Enemy sighted at 12 noon, maybe it's a quarter to twelve.

The control method is innovative (or at least it was at the time of its release) and really effective, practically you will find yourself directing the beast, adjusting the power of the engines, changing the game views, aiming the cannon mouth, communicating with in Wingman and so on, all with the simple help of the MOUSETANK. With such a high-sounding name, nothing more than a graphic representation of our Tank and all its operational components is called. However, curb the enthusiasm: although the use of the mouse is very useful, it will still be necessary to remember the combination of a myriad of keys and buttons without which we would literally find ourselves in need of a breakdown during the most excited combat phases.
To our Wingman (which will be a maximum of four) it will be possible to give simple commands such as the change of formation, the attack of a certain tank, the stop of the engines or the coverage of a certain area.
Also for the control of our vehicle we will be able to decide whether to use the more arcade, but less satisfying, external third-person view or whether to enter the cockpit (is it called that?) Of our wagon and see from time to time what each would actually see. crew member ... and I assure you that the visibility conditions are really adverse.
The tactical positions are essentially four: commander, gunner, radio operator and ammunition officer. Although the graphics are not exactly state of the art and the sound department is even less so, the feeling of "being there" is recreated in an accurate and plausible way.
The sound department is, so to speak, Spartan: for 90% of the time we will hear our lookout inform us about the approach of every possible target (nice the fact that the Nazi soldier will speak in English but with a typical German accent) with lots of distance and location.



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It takes a beastly physique.

The physical model is hailed as the real strength of this game.
Our tanks can be damaged in more than 40 different points of the body and the malfunction of each of these vital points will have a direct impact on the control of our vehicle (engines, aiming section, firepower).
The planimetry of the scenarios has been reproduced with the greatest possible search for realism (they say), while we are in motion it is really difficult to take aim because our vehicle jolts every ten meters due to holes, bumps and bumps. All the objects in the scenario are destructible: from houses to trees to mule tracks. The ballistics has been implemented down to the smallest detail (or at least so we are informed, unfortunately, as well as who knows how many others, I am not so experienced as to be able to notice it) and the trajectory / speed of our shots will be influenced as well as by the type of ammunition used (there are dozens of them, and each with strengths and weaknesses) also by numerous other parameters.
All this is very nice in words but, as already mentioned, we will hardly be able to notice all these subtleties if we persevere to use the game in Easy mode with all the aids activated (where our only purpose will be to select the enemy unit from attack and the direction / speed of travel). To appreciate the title in its entirety, it is therefore essential to dedicate a lot, but a lot of time to learning all the game mechanics.
The artificial intelligence of the enemies does not seem very advanced (we never see them carrying out particular tactics of cover) and replaying the same scenario several times the movements of the opposing troops often become predictable.
The fun of the game is not, however, very influenced by it, in fact most of the time we will be too busy controlling the vehicle and the coverage of all the operating stations.
Multiplayer offers nothing more and nothing less than what one might expect, the types of game that can be selected are not many ... but we are not playing an FPS, the community, even if we are talking about a game of " niche "is quite large and it will always be easy to find some human opponent. As already said, all owners of Windows 2000 / XP will not be able, at least at the moment, to use the Multiplayer mode; however, the developers have assured that they are working to resolve this incompatibility.



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Special Edition?

With the Special Edition we will find, as a first gift, the upgrade of the game to version 1.1 (still on the game website you can only download 1.08) which however does not make substantial changes to the gameplay except for the fact that once the wagon is destroyed armed main we will automatically be transferred to the command of one of the support ones. Browsing on the additional CD we will be able to find essentially three types of resources: the MOD (ification), the Tools necessary for the creation of the aforementioned MODs (it will be possible, for example, to import the three-dimensional models from programs such as 3D Studio) and various utilities that improve the graphics aspect of the game (don't expect miracles anyway) and other additional features.
If you are wondering: "Is that all?" it is almost superfluous to answer: “Yes, that's all”.
Do not be so bad, however, the new scenarios introduced (developed directly by fans of the game and not by Wings Simulation) are well done and quite full-bodied. The most welcome surprise will surely be the "Snow & Night" MOD where, as the most discerning of you will have understood, in addition to the possibility of playing in night and snowy environments it will be possible to enter the Russian armored vehicles of the Second World War.
The others, although less "striking", still introduce the use of every tank never used during the Second World War (if I am not mistaken, only the means of the Rising Sun should remain out) and the reproduction of most of the theaters of battle where they clashed. Not that the substantial differences between one tank and another are many (indeed, often the most striking change will be the name and nothing else) and not even the numerous additional scenarios seem very accurate (after all, the graphics engine does not then allows many technical refinements) and diversified, however the wide choice promises, at least, to satisfy all tastes and allows you to focus your interest on the era and the faction that suits you best.

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War, war never changes

What to say? Panzer Elite is most likely the best title of its kind and the years it has on its shoulders make it suffer a lot under the Audio / Visual point of view, on the other hand they have given it an enviable stability and balance; this thanks to the continuous support of the fans who helped the development team to implement as many small as significant changes. Too bad a system of dynamic campaigns has not yet been implemented, moreover our decisions are still at the level of our single platoon and it is not possible (except for the request for reinforcements) to interact with the other allied teams present on the battlefield. Who knows, perhaps for these and other more substantial changes we should wait for version 2.0.
If you want to take a first step to enter the genre of "accurate" simulators and tanks have always fascinated you, Panzer Elite is highly recommended. Don't expect it to be easy from the start and don't complain if the graphics can make you smile: the merits of this title are quite different.
Even fans who missed it the first time shouldn't make the same mistake for the second: Panzer Elite is the most accurate and complete the market offers and is playable virtually indefinitely. If you already have the original version, I don't see what new this new version can actually offer you. Of course 600Mb of Tools and MODs are many but the fact that they are freely downloadable from the Internet makes the purchase not really necessary, especially considering that the purchase price certainly does not place it in the budget range of games. Sin.

Simulators what a passion

Considering the fact that the genre of "hard core" simulators (no, don't think badly) has always been little loved by the general public (the one who "numbers" to be clear) it is easy to see how the niche represented by armored vehicle simulators it is even less so. In fact, if the thrill of flying in the European skies aboard a biplane of the First World War can also tease the average user (after all, a little Icarus is hidden in each of us eager to emulate the Red Baron), the idea of driving a beast of who knows how many tons along narrow paths or arid deserts does not seem to attract that much. To tell the truth, not even many Software Houses tried to reverse this trend and today only a few names arise in my mind: the ARMORED FIST series by Novalogic (a sort of terrestrial re-edition of the mythical Comanche Overkill saga), the archaic M1 Tank Platoon and, of course, Pazer Elite from the German Wing Simulation.
Panzer Elite came out in the now distant 1999 and, thanks to an amazing polygonal graphics (for the period and for the genre) and a realism as accurate as it is customizable, it received numerous acclaim and won by many fans the award of best "Tank Simulator ". Today, after about two years, the game is redistributed by JooWooD without substantial changes but with a fairly high-sounding name: Panzer Elite Special Edition.

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