The well-known classics' sequel which is even a tad better than the original. Overall, this sequel only differs in very few areas, so sharp tongues could claim that it basically just consists of new scenarios. This is, however, not the same – more about that later.
As in the first part, the battle fields of the second world war form the background of this game. So you will usually re-enact a couple of significant battles of that time. You can select either the Axis or the Allies. Also, you have the choice of playing just individual scenarios or go straight to the whole campaign to change history. Because whereas at the beginning of the campaign, the scenarios still reflect the actual, historic battles, if you're very good, you can also conquer London, Moscow or Washington.
The game board is divided in hexagons exactly as in History Line or Civilization V (for the younger readers). In campaign mode, the player starts out with a certain number of units. They are split into air and ground/water units. Both can interact with one another (bombing infantry, flak fire). It is the goal of every battle to gain control over a certain number of strategic places. The quicker you achieve this, the better your performance will be rated and the more prestige you gain. The underlying principles are simple; you have different units and you have to defeat the enemy ones. Though it isn't quite as simple, because even though the mega tank may not be easily defeated by the enemy's infantry, it will be taken apart quickly by the enemy's anti tank guns. Charging forward without watching your back will quickly lead you right into a deadly ambush. If you lose air superiority, you will suffer destructive bombings and afterwards the enemy will just run over you with his track vehicles.
The variety of options doesn't end with the unit types and each unit has its own strengths and weaknesses. There are tanks, infantry, cavallery, artillery, bombers, level bombers, flak, anti-tank etc. Each type also has sub-categories. For example, for infantry, you have the choice to create pioneers, garrison defenders, to carry regular weapons or strong ones, equip them with horses etc. For tanks, you have the choice between those effective against 'hard targets' (e.g. other tanks) or 'soft' ones (e.g. infantry).
Even without a large manual, you can understand the game pretty quickly and using a couple of controls, you can increase the difficulty level and make it more realistic. So you can play in a beginner mode in which you always have full view, it will never rain, ammunition and fuel will never run out and per defeated opponent, you will receive an above average amount of prestige…
Prestige? What is this for? Prestige represents the influence you command. The higher it is, the more units you can 'buy' or upgrade. Prestige is basically Panzer General's currency. You get it by a) defeating enemy units, b) capturing cities or c) finishing the missions quickly.
So far, Panzer General II may not be different from its predecessor, so here is a list of differences which occured to me:
- New maps
- New/different units
- Units can acquire special abilities (multiple attacks per turn)
- Units can be overrun (no attack costs)
Conclusion: I therefore believe that Panzer General 2 has a couple of nuances which make it superior to its predecessor, because some, even if only few new ideas have been included to make the game more interesting. The game convinces through its sophisticated unit management and offers its players a varied and vivid playing experience. On top of that, the multiplayer functions offer the opportunity to test your skills against (at most) one partner, while the fine-tunable difficulty level makes bunker busting against computer-controlled opponents last for days.
Panzer General II, by the way, got re-titled in the German speaking world. There, the earlier Allied General was called Panzer General 2, so that SSI now ran into the issue of not being able to publish another Panzer General 2. So they had to find another name for this game in Germany. They chose Panzr General 3D. This later lead to further issues, because Panzer General 3D Assault could have easily been confused with that, so that one had to be re-titled again. Funny how many problems you can have just because of publishing two different titles – I wouldn't want to work for their marketing department .
Rule of thumb:
- Panzer General (German: Panzer General) was published in 1994, the cover is predominantly grey
- Allied General (German: Panzer General II was published in 1995, the cover is predominantly green
- Panzer General 2 (German: Panzer General 3D) was published in 1997, the cover is again grey
- Panzer General 3D Assault (German: Panzer General IV: Western Assault) was published in 1999, the cover is very colourful
Translated by Mr Creosote