A combat sim featuring two of the finest war machines ever to churn turf, sling shells, or shrug off bullets? What could possibly go wrong? Rather a lot, it turns out. T-34 vs Tiger deserves a modicum of praise for helping end a nine-year WWII tank sim famine, but a heap of scorn for being shrunken, shoddy and shot through with historical inaccuracies.
Set during Operation Bagration – the 1944 Soviet push that drove the Germans out of Belorussia and Eastern Poland – the campaign is shorter than Hitler’s moustache. Twelve moribund missions (six Axis, six Allied) huddle together, uncorrupted by frivolous Western luxuries like inter-sortie strat maps and squad management screens. Other bourgeois fripperies like training scenarios, a skirmish mode and single sortie selection are also absent. If you want more than a weekend’s worth of fun, you’re expected to try the multiplayer mode or join the horny-handed proletariat, building extra missions with the bundled editor.
It’s a shame the tools don’t also enable the tweaking of vehicle stats. Call us a luftwhiner, but the titular tanks seem to have been modeled with the Russian market in mind. Armour experts will scoff as their mighty Panzerkampfwagen VIs get taken out at long, long ranges by titanium-plated T-34s. Improbable infantry behaviour, sparsely populated battlefields and poor audio further erode plausibility. If it wasn’t for some intricate interiors and an unexpectedly authentic driving model, the sim would offer little more realism than a Panzer Elite: Action or a WWII: Tank Commander.
Mar 11, 2009