So as you can see from the screenshot below, you use the campaign map to move your troops and inspect their unit statistics. The map is turn based and gives you the basic options of moving, attacking or defending. Once one of your troops encounters enemy troops there will be a battle indication and once you select that it will pull you into the real time combat.
The real time battles allow you to position your troops through a wide area of deployment, that is if you are defending. When you attack you get a smaller area of deployment but it is still pretty large. The combat maps in general are pretty huge, allowing for some pretty interesting strategies that require you to spread out forces and try to predicate where they are going to attack or predicate where they have bundled their defenses. For instance on the last battle I did the Germans only had two of the objectives, out of maybe five or six, but their area of operation was a good 25% of the map of open ground and forests.After deploying my forces I waited patiently to see where they would attack and they actually ended up at my weakest point of defense. You can see the map a little here and how the lines were separated ( blue is German, Red is Soviet). You can see how it said they were probably going to attack up at the top there, but if you can see it there is a blue unit on the very bottom moving in on my guys.
All the different icons represent different types of units. On the top right of that screenshot you can see different companies, each of which have different platoons symbols that represent specific unit types. The demo doesn't really give you any armor to command or put you against any as far as I can tell, but infantry battles play out pretty well. You generally use basic ideas like flanking, cover, building and gun support. You get to use AT guns and machine guns in the demo, both of which tear infantry apart, but obviously the machine guns do a better job. Like many other tactical WWII games your units have a variety of factors that affect them, like fatigue, distance from leaders, moral and quite a few other factors. Each company generally has one main commander and if they are taken out it you will lose a lot of bonuses to all the platoons in that company along with any other nearby units.
I wish those were in the demo
There are planes, artillery, tanks and plenty of other units I didn't get to try, mainly because they don't present themselves in the one demo scenario, but the game has some really good things going for it. I must say that I love the idea of the scenario map, but it is unclear how it will work out in the long run. It just seems as if it's mixing a boardgame map with real time strategy in a splendid way. The graphics, if you can't tell from the screenshots, is kind of all over the place. Sometimes the game seems to look pretty good but then other times it seems fairly dated and rough, although that shouldn't be too much of a problem for people who would like this type of game. Achtung Panzer Operation Star is really only for hardcore strategy/tactical gamers, the kind that love games like Hearts of Iron, Combat Mission or Close Combat. It seems to have a pretty tough learning curve but once you get past the initial hump there is quite a bit to enjoy. Check out this trailer below and also check out the demo from the location below if you want to check out the game yourself. It is available at Gamersgate for $30.
Demo Download: http://www.graviteam.com/games/149.html?action=downloads
Main Website: http://graviteam.com/games/149.html
-Written by Sean Cargle