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Blitzkrieg 3 hands-on preview: An asynchronous war of your own making

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 27, 2015
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the asynchronous multiplayer maps!"

Blitzkrieg 3

If I were a World War II officer, I would apparently be the equivalent of that character that Ross from Friends played in Band of Brothers a.k.a. Sergeant Completely Incompetent.

I come to this realization pretty early in my demo of Blitzkrieg 3. I've got three routes for infiltrating the enemy base--two bridges and then a long, forested lakeshore that's needlessly circuitous. After sending a few troops to scout the long way, I get cold feet. "We'll just go across the main bridge," I say, ordering my troops to cross.

Oh wow, who could have predicted it was a trap? My tanks are stuck halfway across, thanks to a row of tank traps at the other end. Anti-tank rounds rain down on the bridge, wiping out most of my platoon in seconds. A few straggling infantry try to take over the base, but machine gun fire rains down from multiple pill boxes. They're massacred.

"Well, that was short," I say. I think the developers watching me almost cried. Hell, I almost cried.

Taking some time away

Old franchises never die. They just sort of wait around in the shadows until someone says, "Hey, maybe we should make another of those." Case in point: Nival is making Blitzkrieg 3, a follow-up to the studio's 2005 real-time strategy game Blitzkrieg 2.

Blitzkrieg 3 has its work cut out for it, though. The landscape's quite a bit different in 2015 than it was a decade ago, with both Company of Heroes 2 and Men of War vying for control of the "World War II RTS" market. Not to mention the fact that there are fewer RTS games than ever, as the genre is seemingly in a lull.

With both those facts in mind, I went hands-on with Blitzkrieg 3 recently at a demo event and then went even more hands-on with the game at home, courtesy of a pre-release build. I can pretty much only discuss the multiplayer, as the singleplayer wasn't shown off. The sum total of facts I know about the singleplayer? There are three campaigns, representing three different "blitzkriegs"--the actual German Blitzkrieg, the 1943 American push in Italy, and the 1945 Soviet push for Berlin.

Moving on to multiplayer.

Nival branded this an MMORTS when I first arrived, which is sort of an odd way to put it. When I hear MMORTS, I think of something like Total War: Arena where we'd have massive battles consisting of thousands of troops, all directed by different players.

That's not Blitzkrieg 3. Instead, it's surprisingly similar to Jason Rohrer's indie game Castle Doctrine. Or like an RTS version of Forza's "Drivatar" concept (without the stupid Drivatar name).


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