World War II strategy titles continue to gradually crawl into the market year after year without much resistance. It’s the perfect war scenario — a historically accurate setting with fairly relevant technology and tactics. However, players cannot be solely won over by a proven theme, as silky-smooth gameplay, up-to-date graphics, and balanced strategy design are essential pieces of a complete RTS. Blitzkrieg 3 enters the fray as a brand new entry in an already established franchise. While its two predecessors arguably redefined the RTS genre, Blitzkrieg 3 does little to change any major landscapes.
The game plays around the full length of World War II, including three different eras of the six-year global conflict. You’re allowed to choose your faction from either the United States, USSR, or Germany. Campaign details and aesthetics are somewhat different depending on the nation of your choice. I personally focused on the U.S. playthrough, which provided some solid historical facts and accuracy in each and every battle. Although I don’t care much for historical preciseness in games, you have to give Blitzkrieg 3 credit for being committed to it. The problem here is that hardly any of this effort and dedication was given to the rest of the game’s central features.
Within each campaign journey you are thrown into random war scenarios that vaguely follow the general timeline of WWII. There aren’t any memorable characters present, or any that you’ll consistently meet for that matter. Before each mission, you’re briefed with 30 seconds of audio, possibly a short cutscene, and sent on your way without any other information. Without any plot to follow, the full campaign feels like a collection of isolated war simulations where you are given little motivation to play through them.
Campaign missions consist of little strategy or decision-making. It’s often most efficient to gather a massive army of low-mobility tanks and use brute force in order to mow down your opponent. When it comes down to it, you really only get to choose from either infantry or tank units. Although Blitzkrieg 3 offers several modifications to these core types, changing up your squad doesn’t do much to alter any outcomes. Special air attacks and anti-aircraft/tank measures do exist, but they are scarcely needed when considering the full picture. Due to the lack of dynamic flexibility and control over your troops, battles soon begin to all feel the same. Slowly rolling 10-15 tanks around the map is a chore, and attempting to mix anything up will inevitably end in a loss. I definitely tried to give infantry a shot, but would immediately get obliterated by a plethora of high-powered enemies. In Blitzkrieg 3, tanks are the only way to go, and that’s not necessarily something to celebrate.
Transitioning through different eras of the war is the only thing keeping Blitzkrieg 3 from becoming an absolute bore. Being able to use increasingly advanced tiers of military technology adds something to look forward to in the game. Battles become more intense and vehicles become quicker, less prone to maintenance issues, and more destructive as the war develops. I feel like Blitzkrieg 3 actually gets better as you progress, as mission objectives become a bit more strategic and some of the later maps contain environmental obstacles. For this reason, I do not think the game should force you into a linear progression. Instead, players should be able to pick the era they wish to fight in from the start, and unlock different time periods through a point system or something similar.
Multiplayer mode seems to be a fan favorite, but I couldn’t really see what all the hype is about. Most of my opponents were simple trolls and weren’t trying to win, while those who played seriously just felt like the AI from the campaign missions. Just as in the story mode, there’s not much strategy involved in multiplayer either. The tank barrage plan worked just as well for both me and my opponents in every case. Since your multiplayer objective is to hold control points, the key to victory is to spread out your forces and simultaneously manage a couple different squads. Once you’re able to do this with success, multiplayer becomes stale as well.
The graphics in Blitzkrieg 3 are decent at max settings, but nothing to drool over. I’ve seen better looking RTS titles in the past couple years, so the visuals don’t strike me as breathtaking. I didn’t have a single “wow” moment, even with large-scale destruction occurring on a regular basis, as trees, buildings, and enemies tend to melt away into the environment. The game’s soundtrack is similar — above average, but not a deal-clincher. The musical tracks all blend together into one stereotypical war-themed orchestral arrangement. Also, a supposedly “amazing” base-building mode does exist in the game, but didn’t grab me in any way whatsoever. Overall, nothing about the game reaches out to the player and pulls them into an immersive WWII experience.
To recap, deploying troops in Blitzkrieg 3 is flat and repetitive. I felt zero emotion commanding my troops, and didn’t even feel intelligent after a victorious crusade. Although you’re given a solid level of control over individual squads, you have little control over the game as a whole. The game boasts intriguing numbers with 60+ historical missions, 200+ unique combat units, and 20+ “legendary” commanders, but what does this really mean when everything being offered is essentially butterless toast? In the end, Blitzkrieg 3 will likely become nothing more than one of the bargain strategy games you find at your local office supplies store.
Blitzkrieg 3 (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Although you’re given a solid level of control over individual squads, you have little control over the game as a whole. Nothing about the game reaches out to the player and pulls them into an immersive WWII experience.