I never even thought of giving Blitzkrieg a second look, because I tend to dislike RTS games, and I thought that Sudden Strike, the earlier iteration of the same basic game, had exhausted my interest in moving hordes of little pixelated Russians and Germans hither and yon. Plus, I had no desire to play through WWII for the umpteenth time. So I don’t know why I picked it up last week – maybe because I had that “need a new game” feeling, and the price was right.
Wow, am I glad I did. For someone like me – always looking for good, campaign-based tactical gameplay, but not groggy enough to finish a single Combat Mission scenario – Blitzkrieg really hits the sweet spot. Nival has refined the Sudden Strike design and worked in just enough realism (armor facings, line of sight, terrain effects) to make it sing. Game speed is variable (so when you get into a hairy tank battle you can slow time to a crawl), orders can be queued, and you can give orders while paused, so my inner turn-based fanatic is suitably mollified. There’s a great mod community too, which has allowed me to improve the sound effects and up the realism of the combat mechanics to my liking.
I mention this here because a forum search turned up nothing on this game that I could find, and I don’t want it to slip through the Qt3 net unnoticed. Also, with Blitzkrieg II due out in July, the price on Blitzkrieg and its expansions will likely be dropping soon, so folks might want to keep an eye out.
The demo gives a little taste of the basic gameplay, but I have to say it does nothing to prepare you for the scale and epic feel of some of the in-game scenarios.
I was sold on the demo but when I bought the game and got several missions into I gave up on it. Some of the missions where some of the most infuriating ones I’ve ever played in an RTS - granted I’m not a hardcore RTS’er but watching my high valued units getting shelled to death or having to rescue a stranded unit that’s protected by various ambushes down the road drove me nuts. It boiled to down to save/reload fests until you figured out the right way to complete the mission.
I finished the Allied campaign and now I’m well into the East Front Chapter of the German Campaign, both on Normal difficulty. The “realism” mod I installed changes the combat mechanics a bit, but it actually makes the game harder by limiting Scout capabilties and altering infantry functions, among other things.
I know what you mean about the difficulty – it was daunting to me at first, too. There are a lot of nuances to the combat that take some getting used to. Once I stopped playing it like an RTS and started dealing with it on its own terms, things got a lot easier. Now I take my time on each mission, and carefully manage my troops once an engagement occurs. Recon, air support, knowing how to deal with artillery (offensive and defensive), tank facing, and coordinated, combined arms are all important. I just started using smoke, which can make assaulting trenches a little easier.
So far in the German Campaign I haven’t reloaded from a save (partly to Iron Man it, and partly to try and keep up my “Art of War” rating), but I only have one unit that’s survived more than three missions. When you go up in rank you get more core units, and being choosy about the bonus unit reward for each mission can be helpful, too.
I like how harsh it feels to lose a veteran unit, because it adds a lot to the tension and drama. It’s hard not to panic when I see one of those monster Russian tanks rear into view, but all the more satisfying when I manage to shut it down.
If you have any specific questions, JMR, I’d be happy to answer them if I can.
The one I’m using is the “Road to Victory Realism Mod,” version 1.3b. You can download it from the Blitzkrieg Portal. I also recommend Edgecrusher’s Sound Mod. The original game’s sound effects are sorely lacking, but this pro-quality mod really pumps them up.
Here’s a list of the R2V modifications:
Improved max direct fire range from 30 to 45 tiles.
Lowered the cover factor of infantry inside buildings and trenches (back to v1.1 level).
Multiplied by 5 the time necessary for a cannon or mechanised unit to entrench itself.
Raised the time a destroyed unit stays on map before disappearing.
Improved the mine search radius for sappers.
Modified the “Follow” command parameters so units follow another from closer up (Units should much less slow down to a crawl).
Improved visual range for binoculars from 50 to 60 tiles.
Raised smokeshell effect duration so it visually matches their actual effect on LOS.
Tank tracks on ground lifetime extended from 1 to 10 times the original, according to weight of tank.
Doubled the time infantry stays down under fire.
Doubled the area size in which infantry will sense danger to go prone.
Corrected the time units see after dying back to original value.
Raised health points for all civilian buildings by 50% up to 200%.
Doubled health points for bridges.
Revised all flora so trees and bushes block LOS more consistently in all seasons.
Trenches now cost more and take longer to build.
Fences take a bit longer to build.
Supply trucks can reinforce a squad with a max of 7 soldiers instead of 10 previously.
Repairing vehicles and buildings, except bridges, now costs 2 times more ressources.
Limited loading capacity for all trucks and half-tracks to 10 soldiers. (2 squads can still be loaded in one vehicle in the editor)
Corrected the bug preventing to repair damaged tank tracks.
Doubled dispersion factor of small arms.
Raised camo value for all infantry except snipers by 20%.
Improved cover while lying down by 10%.
Added PIAT infantry for British squads.
Reorganized most squads so they deploy efficiently between formations.
Modified standard late war squads so they don’t carry automatic rifles exclusively.
Modified specialized AT and MG squads to 7 soldiers to compensate for their increased firepower.
Added German PzB and British PIAT specialist squads.
Toned down the lethality of PIAT, bazooka and Panzerschrek rockets.
Improved direct fire range from 30 to 33 for infantry machineguns.
Improved direct fire range from 30 to 36 for tripod-mounted machineguns.
Tripled health points.
Raised camo value by 20%.
Doubled dispersion factor of all machineguns.
Raised ceiling range to 700 m for tripod-mounted machineguns. They can now engage diving ground attack aircraft.
Corrected ceiling range issue for the Vickers mg.
Lowered slightly accuracy of MG 42.
Deleted the “Use Spyglass” command.
Lowered the sniper’s ability to detect ambushed units.
Lowered the sniper’s camo value by 20%.
Raised the risk of being detected after opening fire.
Lowered rifle penetration power, so they can’t damage half-tracks vehicles anymore.
Raised snipers’ health points by 50%.
Notes: In the original game, the snipers look too much of superheros by their abilities to scout, spot targets for artillery, kill cannon crews and all infantry in general with little to no risk to themselves. The aim of this mod is to bring the snipers back down to earth, their actions now giving them a definite chance to be detected, esp. after firing a few shots. You still can kill the entire crew of a cannon, but may die in the process if too close to an enemy, and it’s a good idea to let them rest afterward in a quiet corner so they can rebuild their stealth capital. Those “nerfs” are compensated by the increased ability of officers and light mechanized units to scout ahead.
Lowered their odds to detect ambushed units.
Improved their field of vision from 30 to 35 tiles.
Raised officers’ health points by 50%.
Notes: Officers, either alone or in a squad, become one of the most important units as far as scouting and spotting the enemy is concerned.
LIGHT MECHANIZED UNITS
Improved field of view from 30 to 38-40 depending on the model. This concerns the M8 Greyhound, Humber Mk1, Sdkfz 222 to 234, BA 10 to 64, and the BMW 75 motorbike.
Raised by 10% their odds to detect ambushed units.
Improved speed by 20%, 30% for the BMW 75.
Improved rotation rate from 50% to 100%.
Notes: Those units become now more efficient at scouting ahead of your armies. However, be advised they’ll try to automatically engage spotted units. In order to avoid that you need to order them to Ambush or Entrench themselves immediately.
Note on unit revealing power: All units except light mechanized units now have minimized odds to reveal hidden units, allowing the enemy to take advantage of the “Ambush” mode with more chances of success.
Improved field of view from 30 to 33-35 depending on the model. This concerns the M3 and M5 Stuart, Pz II, T 70, BT 5 and 7.
Raised armor ratings for the Stuart M5.
Notes: Same notes as for light mechanized units.
MEDIUM AND HEAVY TANKS
Lowered field of vision of Pz VI Tiger and Kingtiger from 35 to 30 tiles.
Improved direct fire range from 30 to 32-45 tiles depending on the model.
Improved direct fire range by about 1 tile for german tanks.
Lowered slightly speed of King Tiger and Jagdtiger.
Lowered number of rounds carried by King Tiger, Jagdtiger, and Jagdpanther.
Fixed a bug preventing from loading infantry on PzIV G in the editor.
Lowered PzV D frontal armor random spread factor so it’s less vulnerable.
Added squad loading option for most medium to heavy tanks and SPGs.
Added a low camouflage factor to SU 76 and the Stug III series SPGs.
Lowered slightly the top armor rating of the JS-2.
Notes: As a general rule, tanks’ direct fire range now increases along the years as newer models appear. To give you an idea of the scale, Pz IVG will have a range of 37, Panther V 39, Tiger I 40, Kingtiger 44, and so on. Furthermore, german tanks have slightly better range than their allied, or russian, “equivalents”. Since tanks keep a limited field of vision of 30 tiles, you’ll have to use them in combination with other units to take advantage of their improved firing range.
Improved direct fire range from 30 to 33-45 tiles depending on the model.
Improved fire range of Katyusha BM 31-12 and 8-48.
Lowered rate of fire for german AA Flak 88, 105mm, and russian AA 85mm guns.
Raised camo value for light AT guns by 20%.
Lowered rate of fire for 2cm Kwk 30 AT gun. This affects the Pz II, Sdkfz 222 and 231.
Corrected ammo reload cost values for several artillery guns & mortars.
Notes: Antitank cannons now follow the same rule of thumb as tanks, but have a slightly higher range compared to a tank-mounted gun of equivalent caliber. You’ll notice that the german flak 88 becomes particularly deadly, with its new 45 improved range! Heavy AA guns from other nations are granted the same extreme range, but the lower penetration factor of their shells makes it so they’re less effective against medium to heavy tanks.
Lowered slightly the rate of fire of light mortars.
Doubled the rate of fire of heavy mortars.
Raised the range of light mortars.
Doubled health points of all aircrafts. Tripled for the Stuka.
Halved accuracy (raising dispersion factor) of aircraft-mounted guns.
Halved reveal power of ground attack and bomber planes so they can’t see hidden/small units so easily.
Raised speed of Bf 109 F, G and Fw 190 to match real performances.
Lowered speed of Gloster Meteor to match real performance.
Raised min cruise altitude for all aircraft to 750m.
Corrected cruise altitude of the Russian Tb-3 to 750m.
Halved accuracy (raising dispersion factor) of all AA guns.
Lowered slightly range of heavy AA guns and a few vehicle-mounted ones.
Lowered significantly rate of fire of Wirbelwind and Crusader AA.
Notes: Aircraft now have a much more significant role to play on the battlefield, while not being much more lethal than before, and the changes also make AA batteries much more vulnerable to “death from above”. You may have to adjust your tactics accordingly.
I just finished the first Kharkov scenario of the German Campaign, which I believe is Chapter 6(?) I had to reload from a save for the first time, after my initial attempt ended in utter decimation. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they get way, way, worse.
Only three of my nine core units survived. I’ve noticed that the loss of core units is mitigated somewhat by the fact that they get replaced with identical units of -1 experience level, so a rank 3 unit that’s killed will be replaced by a rank 2 for the next scenario.
It’s pretty freaking satisfying to complete one of the epic battles successfully. So much stuff going on, waves of attackers on multiple fronts, the scramble to supply and reinforce depleted units – I can’t remember the last time a game made me this tense!
If you play with the Road to Victory mod, beware of the enemy using bombers or ground attack planes – they are devastating. If they’re not countered immediately with a lot of AA or fighter planes, tragedy is sure to ensue.
Well I downloaded the Road to Victory and that sound patch but how do I install them? I hate it when modders don’t include readme’s with their files!
Edit: Ok I guess you just drop the .pak files into the data directory.
Getting back into the and it is quite fun but still, some missions can be quite difficult but pausing when issuing orders helps tremendously. My experience from playing WW2OL has come in quite handy as many of the early war tanks are modeled in both games. Early war Panzers have paper thin armor and so taking them out with S35’s and Matilda’s, both of which are nicely armored, is like a turkey shoot. OTOH, going up agaisnt German 88’s is something else. Those things are monsters :O