Blitzkrieg: Rolling Thunder


Blitzkrieg: Rolling Thunder

Developer: Nival Interactive
Publisher: CDV Ent USA

Release Date: 12/01/2004

ESRB: T

Genre: strategy
Setting: WWII

Lately, my theme seems to be nothing but war games. Not that there’s nothing wrong with them, as long as they are done well. Blitzkrieg: Rolling Thunder is one of those war games that puts forth the effort. Over the years we have seen the advent of war games go from paper and cardboard figures, to computer maps and symbols, to realistic looking soldiers, vehicles, and weapons.

What this game brings to life is General George Patton and his campaigns during WWII. We have him invading Casablanca to fighting at the Battle of the Bulge in Europa. There are 18 different missions to wet the appetite of any armchair general. The one thing that stands out with General Patton, in my opinion, is his innate ability at commanding an army. His abilities would be comparable to such others as Wellington, Napoleon, Robert E. Lee, and other great generals through the history of time.

Onward to the game mechanics we shall march. This is not a game for one of those simple afternoon, play for an hour, and win in three moves type games. This game is for hard core players who have the stamina to make complex moves, and the patience to pause and start their turns at a given moment. In a sense this is a continuous real time simulation since there are no turns. Things happen based upon your choices, or lack there of. This means pausing the game a lot to issue commands that can mean failure or success.



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As I have always harped on, start with the tutorial to give yourself a feel for the game. Read the instruction book if your not sure about what something does or doesn’t do. I have gotten my virtual rear end whipped so many times, because I forgot this or didn’t remember to do that, which means failure down the road. In some cases I’ve had a major portion of my combat troops wiped out because I wasn’t paying attention to the axis bombers making their way in my direction. I’ve wiped out two thirds of my combat ready tanks because I wasn’t paying attention. Mistakes come a plenty when you forget to use that pause key liberally.

One fun part is having your artillery blowing up things. I’ve blown away whole buildings. Creating holes that weren’t there before is always fun in my opinion. Let’s get serious though, you have the ability to change the landscape, including having bombers drop pay loads on suspected areas. You are given anti-aircraft weapons, anti-tank guns, soldiers, troop carriers, snipers, tanks, etc. Each of these have sub commands to move and fight with. Support vehicles are engineers to create trenches and mine fields among a few other things. Supply vehicles will resupply your artillery or tanks, even repairs are possible.

As your campaigns progress, units from the previous scenario will join you in the next. These can also gain experience, and show this with little icons above them. This means protecting them is essential, as well using them to increase their experience. If you think the scenarios are pushovers you can increase the difficulty of these. You can even play both sides giving you more of a strategic feel for what if games.

Does this all come with draw backs? Yes it does, because you have to micro manage everything. It can become a monster when the opposing side is constantly moving and the fog of war makes decisions and plans fluid. All the sub commands are another factor such as movement of your soldiers. Do you disband them or keep them grouped? March in formation or spread them out so they won’t be easy pickings? How about having them crawl toward their objective, or be aggressive and march into withering fire? Does your artillery pop off a few rounds of smoke shells or use suppression fire to lay down a barrage?

As you can see, this is all for one of many units you must make decisions on. I’ve had to reset my scenarios a multitude of times, because what I thought was a piece of cake, turned into a blazing disaster. All because I forgot to keep my eye on the entire battle scene and zeroed in on just one part of it. For those whose patience comes in short supply this won’t be your cup of tea, not by a long shot shall we say.

Last on my list is details, graphics and realism are very high on my list for this game. I’ve watched artillery crews move their pieces, trucks hitching and unhitching, planes dropping their munitions. Even the engineers laying individual mines is amazing, again we have a visual overload here at times. A.I. pathing leaves a bit to the imagination as we can get vehicles stuck in places, or against other troops you control. At the opposite end, your troops will move out of the way when a vehicle moves through them on the way to the battle. Again the detail is amazing to behold, and the realism is mind blowing for this game. The developers went all out to make this visually pleasing as well as playable.

As with anything, I can say I like this type of war game since it brings the card board pieces to life. We can watch the results of our decisions and depending on the out come cheer or despair. For you war game collectors who want this sort of micro managed game, you won’t regret your decision to buy this one.

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About the Author, Edward Rank (A.K.A Scorpogee)

Father of two, now grown children.What are my kind of games? Strategy, RTS, RPG, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and online games such as Dark Age of Camelot and Asheron's Call. Of my dislikes I would say puzzle games such as Myth, FPS type games such as Doom. Also simulation type games, and games that are just plain bad.

My knowledge of the industry mostly evolves around beta testing games, such as Earth & Beyond from EA, Saga of Ryzom, and companies like MSN and Acolade. Self taught web design is another interest I have. Family life is entertaining at times. It also can get weird as well, after you have been married 31 years.