Though the modern-day tank warfare game has been pretty much sewn up neatly at the seams by Wargaming’s sublime World of Tanks MMO, there was a time when tank warfare games were nowhere near as omnipresent as it is today. It was back in 2005 that Blitzkrieg 2 was released, showing the world that the WWII real-time tactics series still had some zing. It never reached the level of critical or commercial success that befell the original, but the release of Blitzkrieg 2: Anthology is worth a review in itself, if only for the sheer quantity of content that you’re getting for your money.
If you buy this game, you receive the original Blitzkrieg II game as well as its subsequently-released expansion packs: Fall of the Reich and Liberation. The gameplay on offer here isn’t anything new. In fact, the mechanics are all based on those of the original Blitzkrieg 2. You’ll play as either Soviet, American, or German battlefield commanders tasked with leading various charges in some of the most pivotal battles of the WWII era.
One of the main draws of the original Blitzkrieg was its mixture of tactical opportunities as well as the selection of historically-accurate units available. This is expanded upon heavily by Blitzkrieg 2, topping up the total number of unit types to more than 250 and improving the tactical aspects of the gameplay. Though the gameplay is real-time in nature, you won’t get bogged down with resource production/management and the constant hassle of having to build various structures as you play. Instead, Blitzkrieg 2’s gameplay is similar to that of Sudden Strike in that it focuses more on the strategy and tactics of combined ground and aerial warfare, allowing you to focus on developing effective command strategy rather than worrying about pure resource collection and other such distractions.
In addition to the core Blitzkrieg 2 framework, the two included expansions exist to augment the experience even further. The Liberation expansion introduces new levels of strategy and opportunities on the ground, as well as pulling the focus out a little wider by introducing tactical considerations that must be carried out on a global scale. This expansion focuses only on the US Army and the German Wehrmacht perspectives as you plan and execute large-scale operations for your choice of army.
The Fall of the Reich expansion pack shifts the focus of Blitzkriegs 2’s impressive tactical warfare mechanics to the eastern front in the closing days of the conflict here. Soviet and German forces are both represented here, and it’s up to you which you decide to take charge of.
Tanks and Units
It’s obvious that Blitzkrieg 2: Anthology has the content that many WWI warfare tacticians may be looking for, but there’s more to speak of. Compared to the original Blitzkrieg’s 200 units, Blitzkrieg 2 has over 250, and this includes well over 50 types of ground unit. The range of tanks on offer is also extremely impressive, though as history has demonstrated, these war machines weren’t necessarily the lightning fast panacea for all warfare troubles they were initially marketed as.
In fact, it may be speaking kindly of some of the tank units when they are described as clunky and cumbersome. They can occasionally slow down the pace of a battle if one hasn’t employed the necessary ground troops in the most strategic fashion possible; this ensures that the slower-moving tanks (which is a large proportion of the tanks available in the game) are covered in the event of slowing down/problems with terrain.
A Fine Game from a Past Era
When the original Blitzkrieg was first released, it was met with a positive reception. The sequel also garnered positive reviews, but never the momentum of its predecessor however. Blitzkrieg 2: Anthology is, above all else, a great collection of content for the money, It’s effectively the core mechanics and content of Blitzkrieg 2 with the benefit of the added strategic scenarios and physical content of its subsequent expansions.
The graphics and sound are unchanged from the original versions of these respective titles, but they remain fairly impressive to this day with nicely-represented open environments and battlegrounds that look gritty and at times intimidating. The core mechanics are also solid, though clunky is a fine description for the kind of warfare that the game often descends into, particularly with the heavier tanks on offer. Nival Interactive’s Anthology is still a great buy however, even compared with today’s real-time tactics behemoths.