Sunday, 7 February 2016

Steel Fury Kharkov 1942 Operation Fridericus

I have a confession to make. I missed out on Steel Fury when it was released. As I remember it there were a few tank titles released at the same time, and they all seemed to blend into one homogenous blob for me, with all their perceived faults and failings blending together. But it is so much better than I imagined.

I go back to Panzer Elite, which was the best PC tank game, at least of World War Two vintage, out there. It had some huge failings of its own, but when it worked as it could it did provide some fantastic moments. I will never forget rolling along the route of train tracks exiting a village in North Africa and squinting through binoculars into the distance, trying to establish what on earth the blocks were that I could see. Of course those blocks turned out to be advancing Shermans, and a tank battle quickly ensued.

Steel Fury will give you those same moments. That's not to say it's perfect, because it's far from it. It's not quite the tank sim that I have had in mind for the last ten years. But the very fact that the developers have made it so awkward, so interface heavy, that shows that when they developed the title they wanted to create a vehicle for that sort of internal storytelling.

And when battle is joined, the sense of being blind inside the tank, the dependence on not just other tanks, but crucially the infantry, which is quite well developed, to close with and defeat the enemy, that tension, the uncertainty, all of those things contribute to simulate the basics of what it must have been like to have been inside one of those steel boxes with orders to go forward, seize objectives and win the battle.

In this opening campaign I'm taking part in Operation Fridericus, under the famed General von Paulus.



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