Panzer Corps - a Panzer General remake
"In 1994 Strategic Simulations Inc. (SSI) released a title that would change the face of strategy gaming forever. Panzer General delivered an exceptionally easy to learn gameplay system and was such a captivating game that it became a benchmark for future designers for years to come."
- says Marketing & I agree.
Panzer General and Allied General are my favorite games of the so-called "Five Star Series" from SSI. With Windows 7-64 Panzer General for Windows stopped working and I had to boot Windows XP just to play it. Very annoying!
PANZER CORPS is a remake - more in spirit of Panzer General I than II. In fact it is almost a 100% copy, they changed some mechanics a little but that was it already.
I was quite sceptical. It's easy to look like a 14 years old game, but would it also be the nice not too hardcore Beer & Pretzels wargame? I was positively surprised. The tutorial campaign is very nice designed, though some advanced concepts are not explained in my opinion.
My first benchmark was the Norway scenario. Everyone who played Panzer General knows that it is an invasion scenario that combines air power, naval warfare, paratroopers and muddy terrain if the weather goes ugly. In short, it was one of more interesting Panzer General scenarios and early on it was quite easy for junior Generals to lose core troops or fail a major victory. I immediately had the old Panzer General feeling back and tried the scenario several times with different tactics.
I played the campaign from Poland to Norway over the Low Countries to France, and it has been a blast. Very much like Panzer General, the scenarios are basically 1:1 copies and do not only look like that, they also retain the high quality of the original. Some changes include a less dominant Panzer IVD and a better Ju88. The 8.8 Flak can be switched between AT and Flak modus. Infantry plays a much more important role. Recon units got the special movement modus of Panzer General II. Air combat in general is less binary and it takes longer to completely destroy squadrons.
Also very interesting: Units don't get automatically repaired before the next scenario of the campaign starts. But you can replace losses for free before you deploy with normal reinforcements. Later normal reinforcements are rather cheap Elite reinforcements that don't reduce XP/Stars cost a lot more, IIRC 4x. This is a lot better than in the original Panzer General where it was a common tactic to save a 1-2 strength unit and wait for the next scenario instead of fixing it with expensive elite reinforcements. This also prevents too many units becoming just too good and getting too many stars, you probably won't have enough "Prestige" to always use elite reinforcements in Panzer Corps, unlike Panzer General.
You can zoom out the map with the mouse wheel, there is also a new strategic map. The campaign path is identical to that of Panzer General except that there are 3 more "America" scenarios. Unfortunately all Africa scenarios of Panzer General are notably absent. I am quite sure they are saved for a standalone expansion or an "Allied General" remake or something like that.
Probably the best for Panzer General enthusiasts: The annoying PBEM (Play By E-Mail) Prestige Bug of Panzer General is fixed in Panzer Corps.
Even if you have never heard of this games studio before, I can only recommend the game if you ever liked Panzer General. Reviews are very positive and the rather high price shouldn't scare Panzer General afficionados.