Panzer Tactics DS
PC strategy veteran CDV makes the jump to handhelds with the first World War II game for the DS.
No stranger to strategy, CDV is aiming to combine the hexagonal, historical game play of mid-90s addiction-inducer Panzer General with the accessibility of DS gem Advance Wars: Dual Strike.
Panzer Tactics DS features the Axis Powers, the Russians and the Allies as factions, each with 11 campaign missions. The campaigns are mostly based on historical battles, beginning with the German invasion of Poland, and can take over two hours to complete. The battlefield terrain and the current weather, which is determined by the time of year and location, will have a large impact on the effectiveness of certain units. Air and naval units see their usefulness drop sharply in severe weather. Campaign missions include primary, secondary, and special hidden objectives. If completed, secondary and hidden objectives give the player more fame, the in-game currency used to purchase units. Advisors give historical background and useful tactical information between battles. There's also a glossary featuring information on the various units and locales.
Panzer Tactics includes 150 units, evenly divided between ground, naval, and air. Not all of the units are available at the same time: the game automatically updates and replaces units as time progresses with no action from the player. Officers are special units that can be purchased with fame and attached to different groups. Officers gain experience, increase morale, and have one of 25 different special attacks that can be used only once per battle.
Maps are divided into hexagons and vary in size, with some stretching as large as eight screens by eight screens. The entire game can be controlled using the stylus, though the D-pad and buttons can be used. The DS's bottom screen shows the current map while the top screen displays a variety of information that can be toggled by the L and R buttons.
Undoubtedly the most anticipated feature of Panzer Tactics is the online mode, and it seems that CDV has taken steps to ensure a fun, and fair, experience. Up to four players can battle at once on 10 multiplayer maps. Hotseat, LAN or Wi-Fi can be used. There are three game modes with different conditions for victory. The host can choose to limit games based on time or number of turns, and can decide how much starting fame each player will receive. Players are divided into five levels of skill and can pick from a selection of avatars depending on their level of achievement. Interestingly, player profiles will also record the number of disconnections to discourage potential cheaters. Online games can also be saved and continued later.
Panzer Tactics DS is set to release October 17, 2007.