Panzer Tactics DS - hands-on

Now, we’re not all history buffs, but we’re sure this is a game that -aside from three fantasy missions - never wavers from historical accuracy. Luckily, Panzer Tactics DS isn't just for the WWII fan boys. It makes an effort to give the rest of us a chance to bungle our way through the game.

The game begins with the Axis campaign, moves through the Soviets and concludes with the Allied campaign. You'll receive orders before each battle and maybe learn a bit of history before you're done. Your forces consist of a "core" force that gains experience and can be carried over from battle to battle and auxiliary units that change from battle to battle. We lost a few core units but were told not to worry about it too much, because the game will adapt by dolling out more auxiliary units to use in the next fight.

Later we asked if there was any way that the game could make up for our lack of tactics, and we were surprised to hear that the AI will adapt to our level of play. It never lets things get too hard or too easy… butwe'd probably still lose this battle, anyway.

The soldiers, tanks, planes, ships and artillery, as well as the battles, are all based on real counterparts - which means that there are over a hundred individual units. To sort things out, you'll only have to deal with three levels (light, medium and heavy) of any type of unit per battle. When you have three levels of bombers and you gain access to a stronger plane, it replaces your heavy bombers and bumps the other bombers down a notch. Of course, your opponents will have access to just as many troops, but the level system makes it easier to manage.

For the serious strategy junkies, there are more in-depth statistics available. Units have a rating for how well they fight against every enemy type, what landscape they fight best on, how far they can move, how entrenched into the land they are. Each can gain a special attack through experience or have a hero deployed to give them (and surrounding units) extra power. To just jump in for a quick skirmish, like us, you can do fine skipping the details; but if you want to, there's deeper strategy available for those who want to really show that Axis what's up.