Each unit, platoon, or company has a dizzying array of command options, the nuances of which I can’t even begin to comprehend. Units can directly attack, lay cover fire, emit smoke to cover retreats or obstacle-breaching attempts, plant mines, remove mines, and much more. Timing is critical, and tricky, as each unit requires a different amount of time to react to orders at a different rate of movement. I still can’t even seem to coordinate an airstrike with my ground troops in any effective manner. In a given scenario units can come into contact with all manner of obstacles, not just enemy units. Concertina wire, mine fields, enemy entrenchments, walls, buildings and chemical weapon clouds all play a role in the battlefield, and each has very specific and detailed interactions with the units.
The look of Raging Tiger is…well…dated. The map, while detailed, is rather crude, and the units are nothing more than simplistic 2D icons. I found it difficult to easily differentiate these units from each other at a glance, which led to a bit of frustration. I also ran into the problem of my units getting hung up on various terrain, even though it looked clear at the lower magnification levels. The interface is robust, but far from intuitive. It takes quite a while to get the hang of things, and I was often forced to head back to the manual to figure out how, exactly, to perform a particular maneuver. Since this is such a complex game, the interface complexity is understandable. The audio was particularly lacking, nothing more than some sound clips of explosions or engines when something happened. While these audio cues are important, they certainly aren’t impressive. However, this isn’t a game about flashy graphics or sounds, and it doesn’t really pretend to be.
While there are only 14 missions available, there is a great deal of replayablity, due to the ability to place units just about anywhere on the map and thus change the feel of a given scenario. In addition, a multiplayer venue is available, but I was unable to spend time there. As seems to be tradition with Shrapnel games, Raging Tiger also comes with a rather nice editor, meaning that fan-made extra content will undoubtedly be available.
Admittedly, I didn’t like Raging Tiger all that much. It was frustrating, it was overwhelming, and it never managed to draw me in. I’m by no means a military enthusiast or a wargamer, so I’m probably a bit biased against this sort of title. While it lacks the ability to reach outside of genre and grab the casual gamer, Raging Tiger is a solid title which will likely appeal to the wargaming community.
While Raging Tiger will undoubtedly lack widespread appeal, hardcore wargamers will find a very complex, detailed, and challenging undertaking.
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