Released February 2007, Rated: Teen (T), Genre: Real-Time Strategy, Publisher: CDV Software Entertainment, Developer: Nival Interactive, MSRP: $39.99, Format: PC/Windows Modes: Single player, online multiplayer
Set in the final conflicts of the Eastern Front, Blitzkrieg II: Fall of the Reich lets you take command of the Soviet forces making their way toward Poland or the German forces desperately attempting to fend off the Red Army’s advance. The game covers three major offensives: Operation Bagration, Fortress Kurland and the Siege of Budapest.
Fall of the Reich is all about planning, strategy and effective use of resources rather than simply charging the enemy and pummeling him into submission. Tanks and armor must be taken out with tank destroyers and antitank weapons, aircraft must be countered with antiaircraft guns or fighter jets, and enemy infantry must be countered using entrenched artillery or by capturing enemy artillery. You can also equip your armor units with antipersonnel weapons such as machine guns or landmines.
As easy as all this sounds, this game is anything but easy to beat. Whichever side you choose to command, you will find yourself up against a vastly superior foe. It seems as though every time you’ve assembled a solid formation of armor and troops, half your column is suddenly taken out by hidden enemy artillery. (This is admittedly contrary to history as far as German capabilities are concerned: At this point in the war, the Germans were heavily outnumbered in both troops and weapons.) The game also features simple, repetitive assignments consisting of an initial capture of certain strategic locations then progressing to a larger-scale brawl around a centralized location against an entrenched enemy force.
Despite its contrived difficulty and historically inaccurate German opposition force, Blitzkrieg II: Fall of the Reich does feature an impressive variety of historically modeled units including tanks, aircraft, gunboats, artillery weapons and infantry divisions as well as a variety of tactical options such as flanking, sniping and camouflage. Weather will even impact the effectiveness of your attacks and maneuvers. Overall, it isn’t the best Eastern Front strategy game available, but it handles itself well.
Originally published in the June 2007 issue of World War II Magazine. To subscribe, click here.