The bloated WWII genre is getting another one, this time from JoWooD Productions and Zootfly. So far their tank combat game stacks up pretty well, but it requires some definite polish.
I’ll give the good news first. The visuals are genuinely impressive, even in this day and age of bump-mapping and intricate particle engines. It’s the little details that make Panzers: Elite Action stand out from the crowd, like the way a tree topples when you ram into it, or the dents and scratches on your vehicle. Weapon effects, explosions and lighting are all done exceptionally well, and so far the game has a real grungy, lived-in feel to it. I was also pleased to see decent draw distance; there’s not a lot of popup here, so you can peer off into the distance as you scout for the enemy.
The aural experience is also surprisingly high quality, with voice-over briefings and in-game radio chatter. Explosions are suitably visceral, but the machine guns sound a little under-powered. Maybe that’s because your vehicle is already a roving wave of destruction. The music track isn’t anything spectacular, but it sufficiently sets a military mood and keeps in pace with the action.
Now for the not so good points. I know this is a beta, but there was no way to customize or view the control layout, in or out of game. The default setup is effective enough for basic movement and cannon fire, but I had to hunt across my keyboard to call an air strike. Also, I hope the developers put in an option for mouse adjustment, because swinging the tank turret was far too sensitive for so sluggish a vehicle.
The only other minor gripes were some clipping issues; I passed right through a wire fence instead of squashing it flat, but this will probably be remedied.
There was no multiplayer in the beta and only a couple of single player missions, but I liked the small taste I got of Panzers: Elite Action. It’s shaping up to be a competent tank-sim, and it’ll more than likely add some flavor to the monotonous collection of WWII games.
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