Even this time, it will not be an experience that would suit a holiday player. On the contrary, Krapet tightens. Which is probably the only major problem with this almost perfect DLC. The following lines will be more of a hymn with a few coughs over the balance of otherwise very precisely processed scenarios.
Blitzkrieg rolls on the player behind the squeak of metal wheels propelling belt monsters, accompanied by the rumble of howitzers and the menacing howling of sirens of dive Stucco. As the commander-in-chief of the Nazi war machine, you will go to the familiar World War II battlefields in the period 1939-41, a time when German troops generally did not experience the bitterness of defeat.
Only island Britain avoided the claws of the German eagle, and continental Europe was divided between two ideologically incompatible and extremely perverted giants, whose subsequent ruthless clash is, however, another story that Blitzkrieg does not address.
Just as it didn’t bother in Command’s first Unity datadisks, there’s no obvious content. On the contrary, the Blitzkrieg is by far the most powerful and sophisticated addition to the series. A respectable 13 historical scenarios from Poland to Crete are waiting for you, as well as 12 alternative variants, which is a luxury package, considering that the entire original game contains 44 scenarios.
History repeats itself
The 12 ahistorical pieces here are not just in numbers, they are not just additional one-time bonuses, as usual. Here, with a quick victory over the Poles, you can unlock the entire alternative line of the early attack on France and Belgium.
Some scenarios are directly inspired by operations that did not happen in the end – for example, you will try to break the Maginot Line not in the north through the Ardennes, but in the south through the mountainous alpine terrain and local passes. But without the help of the Italians and at the cost of disrupting Swiss neutrality and the clever use of mountain divisions and paragans. Of course, very unpleasant logistical problems await you here, and the Swiss know this very well.
In the north, you may then be able to completely destroy the British Expeditionary Force and the remnants of the scattered and confused French divisions. And this victory, which takes place in an alternative reality about a month earlier than historically, will put Britain in a tight spot and open up the possibility of an invasion of the islands, which, however, will be far from honey.
Tomislav Uzelac and his team did not allow themselves to be seduced by the apparent simplicity of the conquest of Britain in the event of the total destruction of the Commonwealth Army in France. The game will let you experience what a logistical hell the Wehrmacht would have to go through in an attempt to conquer Britain by land against a very determined enemy who is not used to defeat at home.
However, the attack on Britain is completely voluntary even at this stage and the game will give you a choice between this variant and the historic Balkans, the conquest of which will unlock access to Operation Mercury, the ballad and swan song of the German paragon, Pyrrhic victory, which seems to foreshadow that slowly the creeping shadow of doom from the east.
Strategic feast in the Prussian way
The quality of the scenarios is again at a high level. You will find both smart rides of armored wedges, infantry purges and holding your wings against an indomitable enemy and, of course, a constant solution to logistics puzzles, the mastery of which is a key element of your (un) success.
The skill trees of armies are no different from their counterparts from the original game. The only significant deviation is the possibility of forming ad hoc security divisions from the army reserves. This one-time operational support cards are a fous better. One of the key elements of the Blitzkrieg was, of course, the tactical air force, especially in the form of JU-87 dive squadrons.
They have two cards here – direct support in the form of precise attacks on stubbornly fortified targets and an interdict of logistics points, which means an attack on the transshipment depot and bridges. The same role is played by the card of wreckers from the Brandenburg division. The creators did not try to come up with anything fundamentally original, they simply did not change what works, and only added what is really specific to the armed forces.
The same applies to units, which can of course be equipped with support compartments as in the original, only in this case the German counterparts. However, resources are limited, so it is necessary to think carefully about which unit will best deal with the company of howitzers, where to assign engineers, and where it will be best to deploy powerful 88s.
For example, if you try to battle for Paris from that ahistorical perspective, an epic tank battle awaits you. The French will have more time and peace to regroup their armored reserves, so instead of sickly cutting off two army units, you will have to use all the skill and means to crush the enemy with your tactical skill. Wargamer’s feast.
In a flash, or not at all
Blitzkrieg is an almost perfect extension of an already perfect strategy. The mechanics that pedaled in the original also pedal by one hundred and six here, but with a much greater emphasis on the precise execution of each move. Only what I announced at the beginning remains debatable – the relatively rigid difficulty of some scenarios, or rather their imbalance.
While the original on standard difficulty in most of its scenarios still allows, except perhaps the very puzzling Arnhem, a relatively flexible approach to solving tasks, here the loop around the player’s neck tightens much more vigorously and more often, which means that experimentation and creativity may not pay off.
In addition, even here it often happens that your ingenious plan does not survive the roll of the dice, which will frustrate all your efforts. But in the vast majority of cases, the point is that your plan was not entirely brilliant, so you will have no choice but to avoid and try everything nicely from the beginning and a little differently. For some repetitions, you will probably dream of some battles.
Because it is impossible to save positions, the game often resembles a kind of strategist’s variation on Dark Souls. But if you want to reduce the difficulty, you will encounter the opposite problem – the light level is almost no challenge.
We will highly recommend DLC to those who conscientiously completed the original game and are very familiar with all its mechanics, because a real field graduation awaits you in the services of the Wehrmacht. For novices, it may be too cruel a baptism of fire. The opposite of this statement, however, is the fact that you can practice all scenarios individually outside the campaign, not only against the computer, but also against a live opponent, either locally in a hotseat or online.
Delicacy for the hardy
Unity of Command has never been and probably never will be a canapé for holiday strategists, but rather an alternative to hardcore niche titles and more mainstream offerings such as Panzer Corps or Order of Battle. Wonderful audiovisual adaptation accompanied by historical fidelity, brutal difficulty, uncompromising AI, a mixture of historical and “what if” scenarios – these are the attributes that have adorned the series since its inception.
Blitzkrieg attaches tens of hours of war puzzles, and only the over-emphasis on places to hellish difficulty separates him from perfection. But you wouldn’t want to get the victory for free and on the first try, would you?