Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 PC DVD
Published by: Lighthouse Interactive
Developed by: Discus Games
Release Date: Out Now
Attempting to create a tank simulation to please the masses is a risky business. As soon as you move away from being a pure simulation you upset the majority of the people who would normally be interested in the game and the chances of actually attracting those who are used to a more forgiving experience still remains pretty slim. Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 is a game that certainly tries to appeal to both the simulation enthusiast and those looking for a more forgiving experience but it's a game that will probably end up pleasing very few.
Set in 1942 and based on events that took place between the twelfth and twenty-eighth of May 1942, Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 is a game that gives you access to three tanks (T.34/76 MOD. 1941, MK.II Matilda III, and the PZ. IV AUSF.F2), three campaigns (Soviet Army Group South, Soviet Army Group North and German Army Fridericus 1), six single missions and ten user-made missions. To get you up and running there are three tutorial missions. Steel Fury allows you to tailor the level of realism and take on different tank crew roles. You can choose to play from a realistic view point if you wish or you can opt to use the external camera for a more arcade-type experience. The game also comes with a collection of editors which should please those who like to create their own missions.
Certainly in terms of options the game seems quite promising. The same can be said of the controls too. I played the game simply using the keyboard and mouse and had absolutely no complaints at all. The game even allows you to play in the various roles of the tank crew which is certainly welcome. The main problem is that the game just isn't that interesting. I found myself wandering through the campaigns without ever really getting excited by anything in the game. The default difficulty level is just far too easy and even when you turn the realism settings up to the maximum it still feels as though you aren't being given much of a challenge. Turning up the difficulty level to its most challenging does give you more enemies to contend with but it still feels much easier than you would expect a simulation to be.
Graphically, Steel Fury is a little behind the times. Even when running the game on maximum settings. That said, the internal views of the tanks are certainly good enough. When using the external view you'll realise how dated the game looks in regards to the landscapes and buildings etc. Despite the lack of detail though, the frame rate can really plummet when playing with the external view which is surprising to say the least. The game boasts different weather conditions and deformable landscapes but whilst this is true it's far from impressive. The deformable landscapes in particular are especially disappointing because of how unrealistic it looks. Buildings seem to break up exactly the same way regardless of how you hit them and everything looks far too angular. The physics in general seem to have been exaggerated and are over the top.
Steel Fury isn't too bad for deaf gamers. The campaign cutscenes are subtitled. The mission briefings are all in text. Your objectives are shown in text too and can be recalled at any time. Comments from your tank crew are subtitled, which is important, but other comments aren't. You are warned in text if you come close to leaving the battle area. Pressing the F8 key brings up the map and this can be done anytime during a mission. The tutorial missions are subtitled so you'll have no problems in getting to grips with the game. There aren't any captions for any of the sound effects however which is disappointing.
Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 is for all intents and purposes a mediocre tank simulation that won't please either the simulation enthusiast or those looking for an arcade-style experience. The campaigns are dull and are lacking in memorable moments. Those who are looking for a simulation will most likely find this unsatisfying and too forgiving to be worth their time whilst those who were looking for a tank flavoured FPS will find the game to be lacking when it comes to adrenaline pumping action. In fairness to the developers, they have done a good job with the control system. Support is provided for joystick setups so if you are a tank simulation aficionado you're covered but if you aren't then you're going to want a more satisfying experience than what Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 has to offer.