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PC Game Review

Theatre of War 2
Kursk 1943


Format: PC
Excalibur Publishing
RRP: £29.99
5 060020 474330
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 20 August 2010

The battle of Kursk represented a pivotal battle between soviet Russia and Nazi Germany on the eastern front during World War Two. July and August 1943 saw these two giant war machines going head to head in what was doomed to be the last German offensive in the east, a failed offensive which handed the war initiative to the Soviet army...

Theatre of War: Kursk 1943 sets out to recreate this struggle for domination. To say that this is a game would be doing it a disservice, the detail found in the game means that this is a simulation for hardcore gamers who are willing to put in a lot of work to win. A massed tank rush might seem fun but it is also pretty much a guarantee of failure, as the impressive AI crushes you while barely breaking a sweat.

Visually the game is pretty impressive. Its default view is birds eye, but you can zoom in and out, useful for controlling multiple units, as well as scroll around the battle field to get an overall strategic feel for the battle. Each of your units has certain attributes which need to be balanced to win a given scenario. One nice aspect of the game is that following and during an engagement your infantry will automatically reequip itself with ammo and even better weapons from fallen foes, giving you a potential increase in combat efficiency.

There is authenticity and then there is taking an idea to an illogical conclusion. Given that you play either the Germans or the Russians, your chosen army will reply in its native language, great if you speak either, if like me you don’t speak either they may as well be speaking recipes.

The game allows you to choose sides, following which you can embark on a campaign, each of which consists of nine major engagements. This may seem a small amount but each one is pretty big and you can even create your own with the built in Mission Generator. Further variability is added by the sheer number of unit available to the player, numbering over sixty which all have their own distinct characteristics.

The music and game play are above average and the game has the option for team multiplayer for up to 8 players (control of key points or assault/defence) with reinforcements, artillery barrages and air strikes.

This is not going to be a game for everybody, as it is a pretty hardcore RTS, but if you’re willing to put in the time there's a lot of fun to be had.


Charles Packer

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