Codename: Panzers - Phase One Review

You have to stop the Panzers! I tackle more WWII tanksin this strategy game from CDV

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 16th August 2004

Codename: Panzers - Phase One

  • Developer: StormRegion
  • Publisher: CDV
  • Release Date: 3rd September 2004

After been impressed by an early build of Codename: Panzers – Phase One, I was expecting big things from CDV’s latest World War II themed real-time strategy title and I’m happy to say I haven’t been disappointed by the finished version.

Like many of the real-time strategy games released nowadays Codename: Panzers focuses on tactics rather then the more traditional Command & Conquer base building and resource collecting style while this tactical approach can sometimes be daunting to the more casual gamer developers Stormregion have made efforts to make the game instantly accessible for all and not just future general.

The story behind Codename: Panzers is told from three different viewpoints, the German, Russian and British and American allied forces, each story follows a specific squadron commander through a series of missions, the story progresses through a series of diary entries before missions and in game cut-scenes that use the game graphics engine.

Missions in Codename: Panzers usually consist of a main objective accompanied by several side objectives with some missions even having secret objectives. Successfully completing each mission’s objectives will earn you prestige points which can be spent on new units, prestige points are also earned by keeping the units you are issued with alive, also as unit’s progress through missions with you their experience level increases making them more effective in subsequent missions. That said however the most important objective in each mission is to keep the commander alive as his death means instant failure.

Codename: Panzers features an impressive number of units available, these range from all kinds of infantry, trucks, tanks and artillery. Infantry obviously make up the core of your squad with units ranging from the basic riflemen to the more specialist anti-tank riflemen and the deadly flamethrowers that can heat up enemy tanks so that the crew evacuate leaving the tank for you to use. Artillery units come in a few forms and are used to inflict large amount of damage on enemy locations from afar, however it’s unwise to use these units in the thick of things as they are extremely vulnerable against infantry up close.

Trucks play a fairly important part in missions despite seemingly appearing pretty useless, they can be used to quickly move artillery and infantry units around the map plus repair and supply ammo to tanks and other vehicles. Each vehicle has their strengths and weakness with each rated with a point’s value, for instance tanks have stronger armour at the front then at the side making them more vulnerable to damage if they are attacked from the sides. During some missions a number of air support units are available to you although you can’t directly control them, these include reconnaissance planes, fighter and bomber support.

Stormregion have added a lot of nice touches to Codename: Panzers that really help enhance the gameplay, for instance your units have the ability to locate roughly where enemies are on a map, if a unit hears an enemy moving around a small icon will appear in the area where it came from enabling you to attack that area with your artillery units. You will also get a rough idea of what enemy lies ahead, for instance if it’s a tank the icon will display a picture of a tank.

As well as the three single player campaigns Codename: Panzers also features a couple of scenarios to play through including a Normandy style beach landing map, there’s also a skirmish mode and several multiplayer options for up to 8 players. There’s also a Training Camp mode that lets you take units from each nation into small battles.

Graphics wise Codename: Panzers looks fantastic, units feature an excellent amount of detail and have been animated well. Vehicles bounce round on their suspensions and kick up clouds of dust when they move. Maps are pretty varied and fully destructible. Trees, telegraph polls and buildings can all be destroyed, also when units enter a building the roof fades away to reveal the interior complete with furniture. The only slight problem is that it can be a little difficult to distinguish infantry units from one another. Explosions and weapons fire look absolutely fantastic. Vehicles explode into huge balls of fire with debris and smoke shooting upwards.

Sound in the game has been done well. The sound track is extremely fitting and compliments the on screen action. Voice acting has generally been done well although in some cut scenes it can be a little unconvincing, that said explosions and weapons fire are all pretty believable.

Codename: Panzers is in no way a revolutionary real-time strategy title, but it is solid. Unlike many tactical focused titles the game doesn’t bog you down with unnecessary commands, the interface has been kept simple and this accessibility only adds to the enjoyment of an action packed strategy title that’s packed with loads of missions that should keep you occupied for quite a while.

Review Score: 8.8/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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