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WWII Tank Commander PC CD-ROM

Published by Reef Entertainment
Developed by Sylum Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

WWII Tank Commander, an introduction.

Over the years I have reviewed a variety of games but I've never reviewed a tank simulation. When WWII Tank Commander arrived for review I was a little anxious. Surely the game must be a tank simulation? Aren't tank simulations notorious for being very difficult to learn? I needn't have worried though as the game is as far from a simulation as it could possibly be.

What's the game about?

WWII Tank Commander is a single player only game that puts you in the shoes of a commander of an M4 Sherman tank in Patton's elite division. The game is set in France, 1944, and you'll have to tackle assault, escort, defence and rescue missions as you smash your way through various locations. The game begins on the outskirts of Coutance but before the end of the game, you'll have travelled to various French locations as you attempt to push the Germans out of the country.

What's good about the game?

WWII Tank Commander plays very much like an FPS game. Whether this is a positive or negative point really depends on your point of view. Whilst FPS controls have been adopted you still have a tank style restriction of movement which might prove irritating to some FPS gamers. You have a health bar for your tank and to replenish your tank's lost health and ammo, you'll have to drive over the health and ammo icons that are sometimes left from destroyed enemies. The control system uses the ever popular 'WASD' FPS controls for movement and the left and right buttons control the cannons and machine guns respectively.

What's not so good about the game?

Assuming you wanted a tank simulation, WWII Tank Commander will come as a very nasty shock. The game is nothing of the sort and requires no experience of tank simulations in order to play the game. You may be disappointed to find the damage modelling is actually quite poor. Firing at a building causes no damage at all, which seems silly. You might also be irritated with not being able to save the game mid-mission. To begin with this isn't a problem but later missions are quite difficult and having no quicksave (or save) feature will leave you feeling like throwing your mouse up the wall. There's only one difficulty level too, which means if you do find it difficult you'll have no way of making the game easier and likewise once you've finished the game it will have no replay value at all.

How does it look?

When you read about the game being AMD 64 optimised you kind of expect the whole thing to look something special. Sadly, whilst the graphics look OK, they are far from special. As we said earlier you can fire at the buildings as much as you like but you're not going to cause any damage which may have been excusable 5 years ago but in 2005 it's inexcusable. The tank models don't look too bad at all but the environments you battle in are distinctly average. Despite the lack of visual quality the frame rate can dip a little from time to time which is baffling given that the game is not visually impressive.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

WWII Tank Commander does offer subtitles and by default, the subtitles are enabled. The mission briefings and objectives are shown in text and the objectives can be recalled at any time. Orders that are given also appear in text, although the text is placed at the bottom of the screen and it's quite easy to miss when you're in the thick of the action. It also wouldn't have hurt to have had the text placed in a darkened dialogue box to make it easier to see.

Final thoughts.

WWII Tank Commander is one of those games that should have been a simulation and compromises have been made to make it appeal to FPS gamers. The result is that both the enthusiasts and FPS players will not be impressed with how the game has turned out. As a FPS it feels awkward because of the movement restrictions that go with driving a tank and will be irritating because of the absence of a quicksave feature. There are no difficulty levels and with the game being a single player only experience (that's completely linear) the replay value is zero. Of course the low asking price may be seen as some kind of compensation but even at this price, a certain quality is expected.


Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

WWII Tank Commander is basically a FPS on caterpillar tracks. As a FPS it feels awkward because of the movement restriction and coupled with a lack of mid-mission save feature it can become quite frustrating. A proper tank simulation would have been the much better choice.