As the main stream FPS move away from World War 2 and into Modern Warfare here is something to keep the Nazi vs Allies crowd calm. The latest game in the ‘General’ series comes to the Xbox Live Arcade and as a fan of the original Panzer/Fantasy General games on the PC I was hoping for more of the same. But with a release timed to coincide with the release of the Panzer General: Allied Assault board game I began to wonder what would be in store for me.
Unfortunately my fears were well founded. Not saying that Panzer General: Allied Assault is a bad game, in fact it is quite enjoyable. With both the Allied Campaign and a skirmish mode in which you can play either side there is plenty to satisfy most World War 2 buffs. The disappointment came with finding that the game is based on the board game and not the originals as much. This means all missions take place on a set of 6 x 5 grids and cards are used each turn a la Magic: The Gathering. Like I said this isn’t all bad, it’s just a move away from the originals.
Forgetting about the originals, lets look at Panzer General: Allied Assault on it’s own merits. Gameplay is turn based and consists of several different phases for placement and movement through to combat. Placement of artillery act as support and will add to the attack score of any allies in range, while digging in and using the terrain will add to your defence score. You also have access to bombing runs and air attacks to soften up enemies before carrying out ground assaults. Every move you make costs you Prestige Points which are allocated each turn in line with how much territory you have. All this means the gameplay is quite slow and the target is to complete the early missions in under 4 turns.
The graphics and sound are all passable for the XBLA with some nice battle animations, troop movement, and the dice roll. Being based on a board game doesn’t really give you much scope for anything flash but this really plays out, and looks like Battle Chess, in some ways. The sound is basically the expected combat and vehicle noises, nothing out of the ordinary. Over all the presentation is nice and represents the game well but in this day and age you just have to do better to stand above all the choices we, as gamers, have.
Panzer General: Allied Assault is a good rendition of a board game I have never played but will suffer from being pushed, deservedly, into the ‘nothing special’ pile. Again like many of the XBLA titles multiplayer will be almost non-existent unless you have a group of friends who have also purchased it. To be honest, I wonder if this is anything more than a good way to market the board game. It’s ok, if a bit tedious with all the fluffing about with the cards and drawn out turn process. In the age of ‘twitch’ gaming Panzer General: Allied Assault will only appeal to a select few.
Released on 21/10/2009 for 800 MS Points.