Codename: Panzers Cold War is not a benchmark real-time strategy game. With the massive amounts of RTS titles that have recently been released for the PC it seems like it will have a hard time reaching gaming audiences due to a somewhat overbearing obscurity. It also does not help that the game has not been properly coded – proof of this is in the numerous bugs and performance issues within the game. Ladies and gentlemen, please strap yourselves in for a generally negative but justified review.
The game is based around a fictional war between NATO forces and the eastern powers of Russia and China. The time period appears to be reminiscent of World War II, yet many years down the line, due to the stark differences in vehicles and units. Infantry squads and land vehicles appear as if they were constructed for a WWII game yet jet fighters and helicopters are also utilized. The game follows yourself and a small handful of heroes in an all-out war against the ‘Red Army’. Players take the role of a NATO commander with the task of advancing through Eastern Europe then up to Stalin’s doorstep.
Codename: Panzers Cold War (CPCW) starts out surprisingly well for a strategy game. One captivating moment is the sheer beauty of the ‘Gepard 3’ engine and its ability to render units and environments in the most attractive manner possible. Effects such as weather and explosions make a definitive impact on the battlefield as craters are left in the ground from artillery bombardment and rain soaks the roads in a noticeable manner. However the engine can perform some strange acts occasionally and will run smoothly through an intense battle at one moment then slow down to a grinding halt during inactive periods. Also, the developers have not fully utilized any graphical prowess in constructing the cinematics for the game – they just look shabby and boring.
CPCW utilizes a fresh system for getting units into the battle, but unfortunately this can lead to some frustrating experiences. In the game the main objective is to capture certain points of interest within the map, which include simple flag posts which generate ‘Prestige’. Prestige is the main currency in the game and is used to call in special abilities such as air strikes and also to purchase units during the level. The downside to this system is that players must capture helipads or factories in order to produce additional units, quite hard when all your troops are dead except for a pathetic SMG infantry squad.
It pains a reviewer to have to sift through negative points to find the positive ones. Codename: Panzers Cold War has some good things going for it but it feels like the developers were rushed to get the game completed. An example of this is highlighting a garrisonable building and having the text “_#MISSING# Tooltip of underground_bunker_mirror” flashing up. A finishing good point would be the length of the game as there is about 15+ hours of campaign as well as the ability to play in skirmish mode…. But don’t expect to find many people to battle against in online multiplayer. All-in-all a decent game in terms of game play and graphics but it needs much more refinement in order to be considered decent by any RTS fan.