this has happened to you, too. While playing Battlefield Vietnam or
Dangerous Waters, you found it necessary to refer to the manual for a
certain feature. Manuals have a habit of escaping to a shelf or drawer
so a little searching is required. And there amid the dust and cobwebs
lies your old copy of Steel Beasts or Armored Fist. Ah, the memories of
the glory days of tanksims, when game companies were releasing new
titles several times a year. Has it really been nearly six years since
Steel Beasts and Panzer Elite were new sims? What a dry spell!
Fortunately, Battlefront is preparing to unleash a successor that should
ease your pain.
T-72 takes place during the Yugoslavian civil wars
from 1991 to 1995.You, the player, are a Russian volunteer tank
commander, supplied with Russian built tanks; the T-34/85,T-55A and the
T-72B.Your opponents include the M50 "Super Sherman", Leopard 1A4,
SU-100 assault gun and the BRDM-2 APC, and just for fun, the Mi-8
assault Helicopter. During game play I had to navigate and fight in
forests, river crossings, hills and valleys plus urban areas. The beta
provided a campaign of 18 linked missions, 5 single missions plus 2
training missions which are detailed and informative.
can play as the driver, gunner or commander and the AI crew handles
whatever station you are not managing. In any role you can pass on
orders and instructions to the other two AI crew. For example, as the
gunner you can tell the driver to go to a waypoint, instruct the
commander to scan for targets. If he finds one, he will tell you. You
can order the driver to stop and face the target or find a hull-down
position. It makes playing as any one role very easy and fun.
Damage modeling is extensive. All types of gear can be
knocked out and you can suffer losing a track, immobilizing your tank.
Under some conditions, you may be able to repair the track. Trees in
forests can be knocked down but recklessly ramming trees can tear up
your tank and have your Russian crew swearing at you.
while not up to Half-Life 2 standards, are sufficient for a tanksim. The
terrain is varied; hilly mountainous regions strewn with rock
gorges and rolling open spaces, rolling plains, and moderately dense
forests. From the driver's position you can see individual flowers and
grass sway with the breeze. The weather and day and night are
represented in good detail, complete with rain drops on the vision
The AI is smart, able to adapt to your tactics or lack of
of them. Your AI crew is good without having to be told what to do. With
all settings maxed out on both my systems I had no visible frame rate
loss or stuttering of sounds. After three weeks of play I did not have
one crash to desktop or lock up, although a few times the menu load up
took awhile after extended play .
One of the first missions in the campaign is to go from point A to point
B...simple. I hit the starter, and after much grinding and whirring the
T-34/85 came to life, releasing the brakes and goosing the throttle we
proceeded down the road and up the mountain. The T-34/85 shifts nice but
steers like a real lateral system...all over the road till I got used to
it. Gauges reflect my speed and RPM's, and the sounds from the tank lull
me into pure enjoyment of a nice ride in the country side. That
is, until I topped the crest and a "Super Sherman" ended my joyride!
nice feature is when you're KIA, the outside view shows who killed
you...so back to the motor pool and a change of tactics. The next time I
tried to climb the hill from a different side which I found was too
steep. While in low gear ants walk faster. Cutting across the slope I
find myself looking far down the valley. APC with troops running
around!! Jumping to the gunners seat I zero in and miss....and a well
hidden RPG team sent me back to get a new tank. After several more tries
I finally toasted the M-50, co-ax'd the troops and made a nice bonfire
of the APC. Later on I got a rebuilt T-55a. The T-55 is a real monster
to ride in, big and robust but surprisingly fast on the road. Having
been in a T-55 I can honestly say it looks like one inside and out, no
flashy paint or unnecessary things to look at.
the rest of the missions I played I found if you go too fast down a
hill, your crew jumps to safety. Big rocks will turn you over. Always
remember to turn on all electrical systems and never get tunnel vision
while engaging the enemy, someone will flank you. Tank gunnery is very
realistic, complete with a great main gun sound with all the clanking
and banging of a turret in combat mode. The Russian style sights take
time to get used to but later on in the T-72 you get to really do some
pinpoint first shot killing of tanks...if you live long enough to marvel
at your handy work. In the "Kill the arms dealer" mission, it took a few
hours of rethinking tactics to get to the objective, let alone counter
the tank assault that always seemed to happen right when I knew I had
out maneuvered them. Finally, it's worth commenting that the ingame
voices of your crew are genuine Russian and funny as hell. If your tank
takes a hit, you can hear the driver curse and exclaim, "I've had it
with this tank!"
three weeks I'm still playing it and getting ambushed by large caliber
AT-guns or forgetting to hang out with my infantry support. When
BATTLEFRONT release this baby later this summer, turn up the volume and
get ready to ride in a first class tank simulation.
for more info.
I used a home system for most of the evaluation: AMD
Athlon 2200 XP clocked to 2.4; 512 DDR; ATI 5700,256meg; SB Live 32
DX-9c; XP Pro
For Laptop usage: HP Pavilion z5000; AMD Athlon "64" 3000; 512 DDR @798
nVidia mobile 64meg; DX-9c; Sound Max,Harman/Kardon onboard sound; XP