Blitzkrieg II Updated Impressions - What's New

Take an updated look at this World War II strategy sequel from the creator of Silent Storm and Etherlords.

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Real-time strategy games have gone beyond chopping wood, building a base, and churning out an army. In fact, thanks to advances from European developers over the past five years or so, we've seen a completely separate kind of real-time strategy that focuses on tactics and cuts out resource management. In plain English, this means that there are plenty of strategy games that simply start you out with sizable armies and let you run roughshod over your enemies, occasionally getting reinforcements along the way. One such game will be Blitzkrieg II, the follow-up to the original World War II strategy game from developer Nival Interactive and publisher CDV Software, which will model almost the entire conflict, except for some operations involving the United Kingdom. Otherwise, you can expect to do battle on the western front, in Russia, in North Africa, and even in the Pacific Rim in this sequel.

Blitzkrieg II will attempt to be one of the most accurate World War II real-time strategy games to date.
Blitzkrieg II will attempt to be one of the most accurate World War II real-time strategy games to date.

The developer's goal is apparently to make Blitzkrieg II one of the most, if not the most, historically accurate World War II real-time strategy games ever. As such, the game's missions will actually be based around historical conflict. You can expect to encounter the same challenges in the game as the generals in the war did. Blitzkrieg II will offer some 68 different missions (which will be much larger in scale and scope than those of the original game) that you can play from the perspective of the Germans, the Americans, the British, and the Russians. The game's single-player campaigns will be based around each of the nations, and there will be four chapters for each one. There will be five missions in each chapter, including a climactic fifth mission that can be reached after playing through only two other missions--though you'll be better off fighting your way through all five, since you'll earn better armies and more-experienced soldiers.

You'll be able to coordinate your next operation from a strategic map that shows all available missions, and you won't be required to take on your next mission in any particular order (though there usually will be at least one mission that will start you out with an advantage, and the game will clearly indicate this advantage so that newer players can take the easy way out). From this map, you'll also be able to choose your available forces, referencing each of the game's approximately 250 different military units (including about 60 infantry units) from an in-game encyclopedia. You'll also be able to use this map to swap in new units or upgrade existing ones (such as making medium tanks into heavy tanks). In addition, you'll be able to commission the services of various commander units that specialize in leading one of 17 specific types of units (including both vehicles and infantry). These exceptional leaders will gain experience across missions (so the more missions you undertake, the more experience you'll gain) and will grant special abilities to the troops they lead. Commanders will even have additional skills that can be unlocked with further experience gained over time, similar to role-playing-game characters. For example, a field general might later grant all infantry units in his company the ability to dig their own trenches in battle.

The game's new 3D engine makes for some very scenic vistas, and some very vicious carnage.
The game's new 3D engine makes for some very scenic vistas, and some very vicious carnage.

Blitzkrieg II will also be powered by an all-new 3D engine that looks really good in action. In fact, everything in the game's missions will be 3D--vehicles, soldiers, scenery, and buildings--and nearly all of it will be destructible. So, while approaching a mission in France and hiding your infantry in a nearby copse might seem like a good idea, you may have to readjust your strategy when enemy tanks come smashing through the trees and level all the nearby buildings. The game will also model realistic weapon penetration (so those infantry soldiers will be wasting their time and ammo by plinking away at a heavy Tiger tank with submachine guns). Like with the original game, you'll be able to call in air strikes, but you'll actually have limited control over fighter/bomber planes in the sequel, so you'll be making more-surgical strikes. You'll even be able to participate in missions with full day/night cycles, as well as fixed night missions in which your limited visibility can work both for and against you as you creep through the brush, hoping you don't get ambushed.

Blitzkrieg II seems like it has kept everything that made the original game so solid and added a few new things to make it even better, including all-new graphics, lots more vehicles, and lots of historical accuracy in the form of missions modeled after actual operations. Plus, there's an expanded encyclopedia for the game's huge roster of vehicles and soldiers. The game is scheduled for release this September.

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