Isn't Cross of Iron the rerelease of CC3, or is another game altogether
"WHAT'S NEW, WHAT'S BEEN TWEAKED, AND WHAT YOU'LL GET FOR YOUR MONEY
Close Combat - Cross of Iron isn't a cheap game, nor is it an entirely new and major evolutionary advancement from its predecessors. (This is where all you veteran players can rejoin us; I hope I've explained the basic game and touted its virtues enough for the new-comers to learn what all the excitement is about). At the start of this critique, though, I did assure veteran players that it's worth their time and money, so now it's time to tell them why. Here's a bulleted list of the salient attractions:
Close Combat - Cross of Iron comes with all the Battles, Operations, and Campaigns found in Close Combat III, plus battles, ops and campaigns built around 26 new maps and six modified carry-over maps. The new scenarios are set during the period 1943-1944, which means they generally present the German player with a somewhat greater degree of challenge than the battles that occurred during the first years of "Barbarossa". "Major" victories are often not easily won; "Decisive" victories come only to the commander who's mastered the art of playing and knows how to handle his assets with considerable finesse. Jawohl, the tide now runneth against the Wehrmacht, but that only means that victories wrested from difficult situations will bring you more glory! Overall, I found the new battles extremely fulfilling.
All compatibility issues (at least all that have been encountered so far…with Windows XP, it is rash to make predictions); virtually no lock-ups or crashes have been reported and I experienced no anomalies whatever in the fifty or so games I've played thus far;
Team, Unit, Weapon, and Terrain features have received a multitude of graphic enhancements, some obvious, most fairly subtle; but in the aggregate…a lot of good work has been done. Don't get me wrong: this game does show its age, especially in the chunkiness of the close-up Spyglass views, but at the normal viewing level the artwork still pulls the plow - I'm not sure what sort of refinements could or should be made at that scale, unless some programming whiz figures out how to implement a 3D mode, and I personally think that would be about as useful, in this particular game, as tits on a banjo.
There's a new and decidedly idiosyncratic Grand Campaign entitled Fuger's Ostliche Wut, '43-'44, and I, for one, am hooked on it; it's very dynamic, chock-full of challenging and varied tactical situations, and has a rewarding sense of cumulative momentum. I expect to play this one to the bitter end.
Among the main gripes leveled at Close Combat III was the sometimes overwhelming prevalence of Soviet armor. True, the Red Army burned up tanks at a prodigious rate, and after Kursk the Russian side always enjoyed numerical superiority, sometimes to a grotesque degree; but not always or even very often in battles of this limited scale. That imbalance has been corrected - in fact, all the battles I've fought so far have been very nicely balanced, on the average, although of course the odds may be heavily against you from time to time, in individual encounters (but you wouldn't have it any other way, now, would you, Sergeant Steiner?)
A plethora of new and exceedingly puissant sound effects have been either created or imported from successful mods with woofer-rattling decibel levels (such as Close Combat -IV, Battle of the Bulge). In compensation, you can now slide-adjust the volume level (so you won't get un-nerved when that deranged gut-shot guy starts screaming "The blood! The blood!"
There's a host of other minor tweaks, both technical and game-play-oriented, and all of them were suggested, and driven, by user feedback. Considering that the last commercial edition of Close Combat appeared nine years ago, the loyalty and depth of passion evidenced by the fan-base is quite phenomenal; at last count, there were almost 5,000 custom maps, skins, battle-and-campaign mods posted on-line, many of superlative quality. If you're in the mood for some head-to-head fun, you won't have to wait in line or search very hard for someone compatible to match wits with. These guys are serious students of the military arts, but they're also on-line to have fun, and the incidence of misbehavior is practically nil, due to the fact that the community at large has elected not to tolerate any fan-boy shenanigans. There is, dare I say it, a prevailing sense of honor amongst these digital warriors - one's enemy deserves respect, as long as he has fought hard and to the best extent of his skills; of course, if he's a complete bone-head, you might encounter a slight Prussian sneer in the inter-personal dialogues, but rarely any snot-nosed gloating. "
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