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T72: A Solid Tank Simulation
game: T-72: Balkans on Fire
four star
posted by: Tristan Mayshark
publisher: Battlefront.com
developer: Crazy House
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date posted: 08:54 AM Fri Aug 26th, 2005
last revision: 01:26 PM Fri Aug 26th, 2005

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Click to read.To call this game a first person shooter would certainly be a mistake, since it\'s a military combat simulation that revolves around tanks. That being said, when it\'s at its best, T72 feels more like a first person shooter than anything else ? an FPS where the \"person\" is several tons of hulking metal.

As with any successful wargame, T72 focuses on aspects of realism, and this starts right with the setting. As you play this game, you will find yourself rolling through a somewhat modified version of recent events in the area formerly known as Yugoslavia. Partially modified? Well, while the actual Yugoslavian events did involve a good spattering of whatever technology was available at the time, this game seems to have gone out of its way to include as diverse an arsenal as possible. Realism addicts may be distressed by this, as I am sure some of the tanks that were used in the game were never to be found in Yugoslavia. However, I personally am not a \'reality gamer\', and I was pleased with the large selection of tanks. There are two tanks besides the T72 that are playable, and numerous other models will rear their ugly heads (or, more properly, turrets) on the battlefield.

I found the graphics in T72 to be quite impressive. That\'s not to say by any means that T72 has the same luster as Doom 3, but that\'s an apples-to-oranges comparison, since normal FPS games do not need to display, in general, nearly as much terrain as a ground-based combat simulation. The trade off is that while this game ran perfectly on my beefiest system (a 1.8 gHZ Athlon 64 with a gig of RAM and a Radeon 9800 pro), it was choked to the point of being virtually unplayable on my mid-level system (a 1ghz Pentium 3 with 768 mb of RAM and an older Radeon).

The audio is equally impressive. I recommend that anyone who is going to play T72 invest in an audio system with a decent subwoofer, as the bass-heavy sounds of treads crushing grass and dirt really bring the game to life. Alternately, I found that playing with headphones on delivered the same level of immersion, and more than a little alarming, especially when my tank was fired upon.

As with any wargame I\'ve ever played, gamers should expect to spend a good amount of time getting comfortable with the considerable amount of controls. If you\'re a better wargamer than I, you might be able to jump right into the heat of combat with little guidance, but I found that for once I was referring to the manual on a regular basis. There are three full pages dedicated to the default control mapping, and another three that follow that proved to be an invaluable read for me, in terms of getting into the single player mode without immediately feeling powerless and frustrated.

The multiplayer options look interesting, especially the co-op mode. Unfortunately, the manual states clearly that only LAN play is supported, so unless you\'re on a local network with other wargame addicts, you\'re going to be out of luck.

T72: Balkans on Fire is an excellent wargame. The only thing that saddens me about it is that it\'s not perfect, and this is problematic in a genre that sees so few new releases. NovaLogic has traditionally been my one-stop shop for tank and helicopter games, and their last effort in either of these venues was 2001\'s Comanche 4.

If there\'s one area where T72 really needs to improve, it is in terms of its cockpit modeling. Indeed, reading through forums and comments about this game, I realize that this is a common criticism. Battlefront put a lot of effort into making the things on the outside of the tank you drive look great, but the inside looks fabricated, low resolution, and shoddy overall. I didn\'t find this to cause any serious problems in terms of playability, but it defiantly decreased sense of \'being there\'.

All that being said, if you\'re in the market for a new tank simulation, go ahead and buy T72, it won\'t disappoint ? and, sadly, it\'s not as if you\'d have many other options.

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