WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 VS. Tiger PC DVD
Published by: Lighthouse Interactive
Developed by: G5 Software
Release Date: Out Now
After not seeing a tank simulation for years we now have two in the space of a few days. We've already looked at the slightly disappointing Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942, which wasn't a bad game but could have been better, and now it's time for us to look at WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 VS. Tiger. In some respects the game is a better simulation than Steel Fury but in others it comes up short. You get the feeling that it could have been better and that the developers didn't put as much effort into making it a memorable single-player experience as they could have.
WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 VS. Tiger is a World War II tank simulation set during Operation Bagration, otherwise known as the Soviet Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, in 1944. The game offers two campaigns allowing you to represent both the Russian and German forces. Multiplayer gaming is catered for with Skirmish and Team Mode, for up to 16 players (via DirectPlay or GameSpy Arcade) being supported. The Russian T-34/85 and the German PzKpfw VI Ausf. E Tiger are the two playable/drivable tanks in the game and they can be controlled from the driver's, gunner's and commander's positions.
T-34 VS. Tiger manages to disappoint with its campaigns. There are only two on offer with just six missions in each. It's quite possible to complete the campaigns within a week and if you're not interested in the multiplayer modes (or creating or downloading user created missions) then you're pretty much finished with the game. If the developers didn't want to create any more campaigns or missions they could have at least included a random mission generator to increase the replay value of the game.
Another problem I found with T-34 VS. Tiger was that it does not come with a tutorial. It's disappointing when any game lacks a tutorial but it's unforgivable when a simulation doesn't come with one. The game manual does come with a section on hints and tips and this will get you up and running with the game but it's not a real substitute for having an interactive tutorial built into the game. The AI is another problem. Thankfully the AI of the other tanks is quite good but it's rather comical to see the behaviour of the infantry who are just about as unrealistic as they could possibly be.
Graphically the game looks quite good although it's not up to the standard of most recent FPS games, although simulations rarely seem to be up to date in this respect. You'll need a decent PC specification to have the graphical settings turned up to their fullest though. The inside of both of the tanks does look really good and you really do get a feel for the claustrophobic nature of the inside of a tank. Oddly enough though, there are no character models inside the tank (although you can see the driver when viewed from an external camera angle) which does take away from the experience somewhat and it gives you the impression that the tank is operating on some kind of autopilot.
The mission briefings are exclusively in text so deaf gamers will get the background information on each of the game's twelve missions in the two campaigns. The objectives are shown in text too. The mission reports are also shown in text so you'll get an idea of how well you performed. There are no subtitles for communications between the tank crew which is disappointing. You do get text feedback of which enemies are firing on you and what ammunition is being loaded which is useful but personally I would have rather had the tank crew conversations subtitled if I had to choose between the two. The mini-map does help you to get your bearings but it's not as detailed as the map screen in Steel Fury. In short then it's a mixed bag for deaf gamers.
WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 VS. Tiger is a good tank simulation but you can't help but feel a little short-changed by the lack of single-player content in the game. There are just twelve missions on offer, spread over two campaigns, and you'll be finished with these in less than a week which is simply not good enough. The inclusion of a mission editor will mean that there will be user-created missions to download at some point but that's not much compensation for the game being short on missions in the first place. Those who intend to play online probably won't be quite so bothered about the lack of single-player content but online play is not something that interests everyone. The lack of a tutorial is also disappointing, even if the manual does cover the basics. Disappointments aside, WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 VS. Tiger is a solid tank simulation that should please fans of the genre but it's just too light on content.