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Thread: Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

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    Spec Op Clergy ADMIN Scott Tortorice's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    So...yeah. I'm still on the hunt for a new wargame (there must be a new game under the tree every Christmas!!!). Don't get me wrong, I really liked Theatre of War 2 and I will be purchasing it at some point (probably the complete pack, featuring Africa, Kursk and Caen. Steam has a bundle for $45). But there was something bothering me about all three...and you know what that is? No winter maps! I can't help it - my region is heading into winter. The last thing I want to do is wargame on the wonderfully verdant and sunny fields of ToW2 (we Catholics are all about ordering our lives according to "feasts and seasons". It's part of our medieval patrimony).

    So I set about looking for yet another game, one with winter maps. I was hoping for a Battle of the Bulge title (why are they so scarce?!? ), but struck out. Instead, I found this gem from Paradox & Graviteam: Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943. Superficially, it has a lot in common with ToW2 - realistic physics and damage with a largely point and click interface (an intuitive UI is essential to me these days) - but this title comes with lots of winter maps.

    This game plays a bit like Total War in that there is a strategic portion of the game, followed by real time battles. I can't comment too much on the strategic portion as I am still getting a hand of how everything works (it does strike me as very basic, though, and just a mechanic for generating some battles with context), but the real time battles are quite fun and feel just right. Like ToW2, this is a slow RT game (slower than ToW2 for that matter). It really is a matter of just positioning your squads/platoons (this is a company focused game) and then reacting to the battlefield as events occur. I think it's simplicity is what makes it work.

    While fooling around with the demo, I had an interesting mission where I actually managed to stop the AI in an interesting way. Here's some screenies:

    In my last battle, I had to defend a sector against a German attack. After looking over the map, I could see that I had a huge defensive advantage as two crucial victory locations were located behind a major river with a single bridge crossing (there was a way around, but it was a mile or so to the far left flank). Naturally, I fortified the crossing with a dug in squad, a heavy MG and an AT gun. Things worked out better than I thought!



    The Germans tried to force a crossing with some mounted infantry. I didn't think we had a chance, but my dug-in squad proved me wrong. The AI made a mistake in that he stopped and tried to gun down my infantry. He did get about half the squad, but then my heavy MG (which was at a safer distance) opened up. I didn't think it would do much damage, but it succeeded in damaging one of the vehicles tracks, stopping it for good. We were still getting hammered good, though, from the mounted MG. But then our MG saved us again by penetrating the engine block, which started a fire (you can see it starting to burn in the photo).

    Here's a close-up:



    This was actually pretty cool. Unlike other games were vehicles are often insta-killed, this one died at a realistic pace. First, there was smoke from the engine. Then, a few minutes later, a fire - at which point the infantry smartly bailed out (and my infantry squad took revenge). Then the fire got more intense and burned for 15 minutes. Lastly, a sudden explosion occurred that threw a German corpse into the river. Awesome.



    Our heroes on the MG. Here's a question for you WWII experts: could this MG really stop a Sdkfz in this manner?



    The Wehrmacht attempted to force a crossing anyway, but we gunned down the infantry as fast as they came (plus hit them with some arty). I'm not sure why the AI didn't bring up some heavier support (It didn't have any? The Sdkfz was blocking the bridge? They were attempting to flank on the far left?).

    The AI did find that way around the left flank, but after capturing a victory flag, stopped. Not sure if it was just a probe or what. Just in case, I moved my reserve infantry to cover the westward approaches:



    It is easy to assume the AI was just stupid, but I have to say this AI is smart. In a previous battle, the AI ran into some heavy fighting when I had two of my squads fortify some homes. Much to my amazement, it pulled its units out and tried again on the right! Then it called in arty and hit us again! Sweet!

    Overall, this battle really put a smile on my face because it felt real. I believed I had a strong defensive position, yet expected the AI to perform one of those all too common Hail Mary plays where it would magically rout my defenders and win the battle. But that didn't happen. Instead, the AI got slaughtered in a way that usually happens to me. In other words, there was no sign of cheating.

    Those are my observations of this game at the moment. I really like what I see here, too. Stay tuned for more (I am planning on a review)!

    Vid:

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    Spec Op Clergy ADMIN Scott Tortorice's Avatar
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    Looks like an expansion is in the works!

    Graviteam Projects Update with CEO Vladimir Zayarniy



    Can't wait for Operation Star!

    (Still no Battle of the Bulge scenario, though. )
    Burke's Joystick: Because Edmund Burke would have been a gamer!
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    Forum Guardian kawaiku's Avatar
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    How about the AI in control of your own units? Did you have to micro the infantry and tanks all the time or were you able to just tell an infantry unit to "go here" and they would go there and take cover, not expose themselves on the way there, and other stuff? Same for tanks a vehicles?

    I'm currently watching this video and the maps look great! Really surprised I haven't heard of this game.
    "No one said it was gonna be easy! If it was, everyone would do it..that's who you know who really wants it."
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    I'm gonna have to get back to you on the friendly AI as I really don't have a feel for it yet. For the most part, my infantry went where I told them, albeit once or twice I had to micro to get them to do it. But I've only played two battles so far (and the first I didn't know what the heck I was doing), so I need more time to really get a feel for it. And I haven't even had a chance to use armor yet. I'll get back to you on this stuff.
    Burke's Joystick: Because Edmund Burke would have been a gamer!
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    Re: Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    That was a really good vid, btw. Also, the game is a budget title at only $20!
    Burke's Joystick: Because Edmund Burke would have been a gamer!
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    Re: Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    Another vid:

    Part 1



    Part 2
    Burke's Joystick: Because Edmund Burke would have been a gamer!
    Latest Entry: The Not-So-Secret Secret World

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    Forum Guardian kawaiku's Avatar
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    Ah no problem.
    "No one said it was gonna be easy! If it was, everyone would do it..that's who you know who really wants it."
    Good Tunes

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    Spec Op Clergy ADMIN Scott Tortorice's Avatar
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    BTW: here is the demo.

    Main Features:

    High replayability and flexible AI: "smart" AI analyzes the players’ tactical movements and chooses the best strategy based on behavior rather than a script. Scenarios can be replayed using different tactics, as though playing against a human opponent

    Painstaking reconstruction of Kharko in scope and size

    Detailed recreation of weapons, artillery, and vehicles: all battle characteristics, including missile trajectories and crew numbers, have been modelled according to archived military records and WW2 chronicles

    Dynamic day, night and weather effects, all of which affect combat through terrain traversability, battlefield visibility, hidden force capabilities, and more

    Destructible environment: nearly everything can be blasted and destroyed, from ground terrain to houses and enemy defenses. All traces of previous battles (shell holes, broken vehicles, corpses, etc.) remain on the battlefield

    Realistic ballistics: bullets and projectiles follow accurate trajectories. Proper shot longitude, number of frags, and their range are calculated

    Comprehensive vehicle damage system: engine, suspension, weapons, and aiming mechanisms can all be damaged separately, affecting the combat capabilities of the vehicle

    Real soldier behavior: every soldier has several basic parameters, such as experience level, fatigue, and morale, which affect their behavior and effectiveness
    Military encyclopedia with 3D model viewer and detailed data on all units, describing their historical and in-game characteristics
    Fast Facts:
    6 scenarios taking place in 1943 during the operation to defend Kharkov
    2 playable opposing forces: the USSR Red Army and German Wehrmacht
    Up to 250 soldiers and officers and up to 40 vehicles in each tactical battle
    Detailed global map: 36 square kilometers in size
    87 unit types: infantry, artillery, support vehicles, battle tanks, and aviation
    More than 40 accurately and carefully reconstructed weapons and vehicles
    2 control modes: turn-based strategic mode and real-time tactical mode
    Burke's Joystick: Because Edmund Burke would have been a gamer!
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    Ah! Almost forgot one more question! What commands were you able to give the infantry (since it seems you've only been able to play with the infantry so far?) And yes, it's a good video. That person has uploaded several other gameplay videos and the only thing bothering me is that the mg's seem to be really loud, drowning out much of the natural sound of the game itself (I.e. louder than a tank's main gun going off for example).

    Here's what I mean by loud mg's:
    "No one said it was gonna be easy! If it was, everyone would do it..that's who you know who really wants it."
    Good Tunes

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    Spec Op Clergy ADMIN Scott Tortorice's Avatar
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    Re: Actung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

    Infantry commands seems suitably robust. I mostly relied on the basic "move" "attack" and "defend" commands, but there are also buttons for setting formation, dispersion, loading/unloading, firing arc, sneaking, fast move, and road march. It appears that the player has everything he needs in that regard.

    As for MGs, didn't really notice anything in the game, but I see you point in the vid (and those ricochets). Maybe there is a sound mod (the game is moddable).
    Burke's Joystick: Because Edmund Burke would have been a gamer!
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