Blitzkrieg Review


Blitzkrieg is a real-time strategy game set in the Western, Eastern, and African fronts of World War II.  RTS games set in World War II often fail to deliver because they play too much like RTS click-fests with WWII units.  Blitzkrieg attempts to bring some realism into the WW2 RTS genre without sacrificing the inherent playability of RTS games.  For the most part the game succeeds in doing so, but unfortunately it also suffers from a few of the problems common to many RTS games.

Screenshots
Soviet and German armor meet in a Russian town.

In adding an element of realism to the game, Blitzkrieg draws inspiration from war games and does so in a number of ways.  The first is in the sheer number of vehicles appearing in the game.  There are over 200 different vehicles and variants, and each is rated in several areas such as protection on each armor facing and weapon range.  Blitzkrieg also tracks the ammunition level of each unit and you'll need to resupply them in the field with support vehicles if they are to remain effective fighting units through the entire mission. 

In addition to the large number of available vehicles, Blitzkrieg allows you to make use of combined arms attacks by adding artillery, infantry, and air support to your arsenal.  The artillery behaves realistically, requiring a spotter with a line of sight to the target to fire accurately, and then needing to adjust its firing solution until it accurately drops its ordnance on the desired target.  If you can't see the target, you can order the artillery to lay down suppression fire and hope that you hit any targets in the general vicinity. 

Also true to war game style play is Blitzkrieg's lack of production structures.  You begin each mission with a set order of battle, and although you can receive reinforcements in some missions, you can not manufacture more units to bolster your numbers.  And war gamers used to thinking about their next move will appreciate the fact that the game allows you to slow the action down.  It will even let you give orders when the action is paused.

Blitzkrieg is centered on three campaigns that put you in command of Russian, German, or Allied Forces, the last giving you the chance to play as the French, British, and American armies during the course of the campaign.  Each campaign begins with a similar tutorial mission that teaches you how to manage your forces and then the difficulty ramps up quickly from there.  You'll often be attacking entrenched enemy positions and be significantly outgunned.  Even if you're very patient and make use of long artillery barrages and probing actions before committing to the attack, you'll still find yourself needing to restart your fair share of missions.  Your objectives are not always entirely clear, either, which leads to false moves which lead to more restarts.  While war gamers may appreciate the slow and methodical style of play required in Blitzkrieg, the average strategy gamer will probably find it slow and frustrating.