Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon Review
I stand alone as I rush into war with this new strategy game expansion.
Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 21st July 2004
Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon
- Developer: Nival Interactive
- Publisher: CDV
- Release Date: 4th June 2004
Releasing standalone expansion packs seems to becoming increasingly popular and this is something CDV choose to do when they announced Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon the expansion for their 2003 World War II based real-time strategy title Blitzkrieg.
Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon follows in the footsteps of the original game and focuses heavily on battlefield tactics, there’s no base building or resource management and in each mission you only have a select number of troops at your disposal.
Burning Horizon features a single German campaign that features 18 missions in total, all centred on General Rommel, the game gives you the opportunity to play some of his most famous battles all around the globe including battles such as Ardennes, Tripolis, Tobruk, El Alamein, Sicily and Normandy. In addition to the 18 mission campaign Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon also features 8 one off missions, these missions introduce a host of new units and nations to Blitzkrieg and gives you access to the Asian theatre.
In total Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon introduces 56 new units and while some are only different variations to those found in the original game some are completely new to this add-on, such as the Afrika Korps, US marines and Australian infantry.
Enemy AI in Burning Horizon has been slightly modified over that found in the original game and as a result should provide even the most competent real-time strategy gamer with a challenge with its highly realistic gameplay. As mentioned earlier in each mission in the game you start off with a limited number of troops to take part in each mission with reinforcements arriving in only a few select missions, this will often force you to manage what you’ve got carefully and you will think twice before sending your units into a tricky situation.
Sending in one type of unit to get the job done also doesn’t really work in the game, for instance sending in just infantry will often result in all your units being wiped out while tanks also can’t get the job done on their own, sending them in at the deep end will see them come under heavy fire from enemy artillery before being finished off by grenade wielding infantry. The game forces you to use all the resources at your disposal to get the job done, for instance sending a scout that can move unnoticed ahead will give you the opportunity to take out dangerous targets from afar using your artillery units, you can then send in a combination of armoured vehicles and infantry to clean up the rest of the enemy forces without too many losses.
As well as the usual ground units, Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon also gives access to a number of air support options, this ranges from the humble recon plane to bombers, fighters and paratrooper support. However, having this support maybe all well and good but due to the games ever changing weather and enemy anti aircraft guns it’s not always available but when it is it can provide some invaluable support to your ground units.
If you’re looking to expand on the multiplayer options that were available in the original Blitzkrieg with this latest offering, sadly you’ll be disappointed. Burning Horizon features no multiplayer options whatsoever; this isn’t the games only weakness either. Path finding is some what questionable as units will often take a very strange route to the destination you ordered them to, this can leave your carefully laid plans in chaos as they can sometimes get stranded near the enemy line and be quickly taken out of the picture.
When it came to the graphics in Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon, developer Nival must have thought why fix something that isn’t broken as the game looks exactly the same as the original. Units still feature a good level of detail and are animated well whilst the mission maps feature a good level of detail and destructibility. The only downside to the two games looking identical is that the command interface is still made up of small buttons cramped into the bottom left corner of the screen.
Sound is probably the biggest weakness of the game, the game features a large portion of German dialogue that helps add to the authenticity of the game however it is let down by the sometimes absence of sound. Considering the intensity of some of the battles sound can be a little on the quiet side and not really represent the chaos on screen.
Blitzkrieg: Burning Horizon is a good add-on to the original game even though you don’t need the original Blitzkrieg to play it, it does a lot to build on the tactics focused gameplay found in the original game with improvements in the enemy AI, this bundled with the difficulty and size of the missions should provide plenty of intense strategy action despite the complete absence of a multiplayer mode.
Review Score: 7.4/10
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