Matrix Games recently put out a call for beta testers for this upcoming title, and now The Wargamer has got its hands on a preview version of the game.
Germany at War – Barbarossa 1941 (GaW:B) is a classic turn based game in the mould of Panzer General, however, Matrix claim that the game is more historically based than the latter title. Based around the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 the campaign game covers the initial Barbarossa campaign and the fighting into 1942 as well. Additional one off scenarios extend this to 1943 to cover some of the famous battles of the mid-war period, and a single scenario from 1945 entitled “Saving Berlin” representing a final desperate German attempt to halt the victorious Soviets in their push for Berlin.
A brief examination during this preview playing of the game does suggest that Matrix have indeed succeeded in making this a soundly historically based game. In campaign mode your success or failure in each battle will affect how you progress through the campaign – either along the historical path if you are victorious, or along a harder path if you perform worse than the Germans did historically.
Game play is easy to pick up and is fairly conventional for this style of game – there is a brief, but useful, tutorial for newer players.
The game plays smoothly and I found no nasty hidden surprises in the interface. The AI plays sensibly even on the easier settings and make moves that are logical in the light of the scenario and the objectives of the AI side. Although I have not had a chance to experiment I anticipate that the harder, and customisable, settings will provide a stiff challenge to the player, especially in scenarios where the Soviet defence stiffens and significant numbers of T-34s are fielded. Scenarios have different levels of victory depending on how quickly you achieve objectives, so you can play the same scenario a number of times and try and better your performance should you so desire.
Graphics are, again, what you’d expect of a turn based strategy game – perfectly good and informative, but not getting in the way of game play. Depending on the level of zoon into the battlefield you either get a board game style tile view of each unit (zoomed out) or an image of the relevant tank, infantry, plane, etc. (zoomed in).
Overall this looks to be a good addition to the Matrix Games line up and a game worth putting some time into playing.