Codename Panzers: Cold War • Page 2

Now with 100 per cent less Panzers!  

To be fair, foot soldiers are a little smarter than they used to be. Now enemy infantry only rush suicidally towards your tanks about half the time. The other half, they lurk in pretty structures (Stormregion always did architecture well) or take advantage of a new, fairly crude cover system, squatting behind conveniently placed crates and concrete pipes. It's not Men of War or Company of Heroes, but it is progress.

Usually in a review like this, I'd squeeze in the odd war story, the odd battle anecdote illustrating the game at its most dramatic or unique. With Cold War that's going to be tricky. Thinking back over many not-unpleasant hours of play, I'm struggling to pluck even one noteworthy event from the murk. The first time I saw reinforcements fast-roping down from a hovering helo was moderately memorable I suppose. Oh, and my first napalm strike made me smile. Capturing that howitzer bunker then using its artillery piece to pound an enemy base, yes that was good too. What I can't recall are any occasions when the AI or scenario designer wrongfooted me, or the spectacle had me reaching instinctively for the screenshot key. Hmm.

Part of me wishes the Magyars had just let rip with the post-war fantasy tosh. Inclusion of vehicles like the Trojanov heavy tank and the M50A1 Ontos - an AFV mounted with a calliope of recoilless rifles - prove they weren't afraid to mess with the history. An overblown War Front: Turning Point-style approach, complete with absurd units and tongue-in-cheek humour might have distracted us from the tiredness of the engine. Give me a few Caspian Sea Monsters, the odd poison-tipped umbrella wielding Bulgarian assassin, and freshly drafted Elvis Presley hero unit, and I'll give you an enthusiastic review. Probably. The massive comedy potential of the former Eastern bloc is, strangely, something that game makers are only just starting to tap (see Stalin Vs. Martians).

3
Missions begin with unit shopping and upgrading.

Or maybe the developers could have gone the other way and ramped up the realism. After the essentially credible delights of Men of War and Empire, the warfare here feels decidedly bogus. Tanks chip away at each others' hitpoint bars at pointblank range, air support arrives instantaneously, depleted infantry squads magically spawn new manpower when close to aid stations... there's nothing wrong with any of this shorthand, but it does conspire to create characterless combat. Had Innoglow quadruped the size of its maps and forces, and stretched the shrunken LOS bubbles to enable longer engagement ranges, Cold War might have attracted some curiosity from the Close Combat fraternity. Throw in a relatively neglected conflict like Korea and, bingo, you've got yourself a gritty and unusual pop wargame.

As it stands I'm really not sure who this game was intended for. Anyone with RTS sympathies will be able to wring some pleasure from it, but no-one's likely to enjoy it enough to recommend it to a mate, devote a fan-site to it, or have its logo tattooed in a private place. We're fortunate to be awash with fabulous strategy titles at the moment, and unadventurous solidity like this, really doesn't cut it. If you must have fifties flavour with your real-time strategy, try playing World in Conflict on a black-and-white monitor while smoking a pipe, and wearing a knitted tank-top and a worried expression.

5 /10

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Read the Eurogamer.net reviews policy

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (26)

About the author

Oliver Clare

Oliver Clare

Contributor

Related

You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (26)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments
Order
Threading
Eurogamer.net

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store