Total Tank Generals — Review
Total Tank Generals — Review

We rarely encounter war strategies on hexagonal fields these days. One of the most well-known examples is Panzer General, and the similarity in the name of the new Polish game is certainly not accidental. We decided to test our skills and fight on the battlefields of World War II, where Total Tank Generals takes place.

It's not surprising to find campaigns featuring Field Marshal Rommel, and not just one, but two of them. Two additional campaigns are dedicated to equally famous commanders – Soviet Marshal Zhukov and American General Patton – and their most significant battles. It's pleasing to see the addition of campaigns with numerous period films, accompanied by information and facts about the mentioned officers. While the quality of the videos might not be top-notch, it's understandable since they are authentic footage from World War II.

Each campaign consists of a series of maps, usually with a similar objective – to capture key strategic points. New maps unlock after conquering the previous ones, with success reflected in one to three stars. Typically, this indicates how quickly you can achieve victory, whether it's in eight or fourteen rounds, but this limit is very strict, and reaching the goal in such a short time is very challenging. You're often fighting against overwhelming odds, and you're often glad just to hold onto your own positions, let alone make a breakthrough in the enemy's defense and move to the other side of the map. While it's not a large gaming area, it's not easy to maneuver between opponents without serious losses.

Fortunately, you're not limited to the initially assigned or mission-transferred units, but you can purchase additional ones as well as call in air support. However, you need enough prestige, which accumulates for military successes. If you have enough of it, essentially at any time, you can call in and deploy infantry, support units, artillery, and tanks onto the battlefield. Of course, units have various parameters and effectiveness against light and heavy targets. The air force includes aerial reconnaissance, bombers, and paratroopers, with the basic condition being to control some airfield. Each commander has some bonuses for their army, such as Rommel's increased maximum tank capacity and their slightly enhanced properties.

On the hexagonal fields, a regular unit can move and usually execute one or two attacks in each round if there's a target within range. This can be hindered by a barrier, typically wooded terrain or a detour across a bridge over a river. Morale plays a role, decreasing the effectiveness of troops and potentially driving them to retreat or surrender. Each unit has an information card with a nice illustration, basic data, and icons with possible advanced commands. This could be a command for an aggressive attack, which if successful, pushes the enemy out of their position. Infantry can create trenches, while vehicles need ammunition replenishment. Any remaining points not spent on other actions can be exchanged for a patrol overwatch mode with automatic attack on the enemy during their turn. It's interesting to note that you can have multiple of your units stationed on one hexagonal field, which helps with defense while also allowing for coordination.

When targeting, both the attacker and the target fire at each other, reducing their overall life value if hits are made. It usually takes several accurate hits to eliminate the enemy. Sacrificing a turn for resupplying allows the unit to regenerate, so you can save it this way and continue to use it effectively. Armies gain experience and levels, and you'll surely appreciate the associated upgrades. At each level, you have two to three options to upgrade the unit. This could be a bonus when attacking heavy or light targets, increased defense, ignoring rivers when moving, and so on, along with a few permanent extra health points.

In principle, it wouldn't be bothersome if levels and upgrade selections occur directly during battles, but the problem lies in the fact that the unit automatically heals to full health at that moment. Of course, when it comes to your tanks, artillery, infantry, or cavalry, it's something that pleases you. However, when you've been slowly and painstakingly reducing the life of a strong enemy unit to just one point, and all it takes is to finish it off, but suddenly it levels up and fully heals, it's very unpleasant. Sometimes downright depressing, as it frustrates your efforts and can fundamentally alter the course of the battle. There are often absurd situations where you fire at a target with several units, and not only do you fail to destroy it, but each time, maybe even six or seven times, it retaliates (in typical strategies, it's usually just one counterattack), destroys three or four of your armies, and still heals itself. That can be quite infuriating. This aspect is a very unfortunate decision by the developers and one of the factors that make the game poorly balanced and unbalanced. Even though there's an option to adjust the difficulty before selecting a map, the campaigns are still very demanding and even frustrating.

Certainly, more enjoyable and less stressful are the standalone scenarios. Partly because you can adjust parameters at the start, create complete custom scenarios, and mods have also been introduced. So, you can play very simple maps or complex missions with optimal difficulty and parameters. It would be nice if multiplayer were included as well.

The graphics are good for this type of game. Naturally, don't expect any grandiose effects or graphical extravaganzas. They're relatively simply rendered battlefields in the form of tables with hexagonal fields and a straightforward depiction of the terrain. However, there's a zoom option, making it look nicer, and the units in motion and during firing are quite decent. Graphic and, in fact, other settings in the game are very modest, but at least the resolution is high, and hardly anyone expects deeper adjustments and options here. The music is uplifting, heroic, in an orchestral style reminiscent of military marches. Thus, it's suitable for wartime campaigns, and besides that, you hear voiceovers during period videos and gunfire during battles.

In the final analysis, Total Tank Generals is a strategy game with decent potential that is hampered by several elements that detract from the fun and discourage many players. There are several factors whose combination is very unfortunate for the game, especially in the campaigns. The very strict time limit for battles against overwhelming odds, levels with immediate healing of units, which make almost destroyed units even stronger than before, and the constant retaliation every time you attack a target, which usually only you end up paying for. To some extent, standalone scenarios can save the day, as you can balance them yourself, and in campaigns, at least the period films about famous commanders provide some interest. However, overall, the game didn't fare very well.

Login or create account to leave comments