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Feature: 2008 - Sim Year in Review

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Land and Armor Combat

by Chuck "Magnum" Ankenbauer

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”  for Land and Armor Combat Simulations in 2008.

It Was the Best of Times

Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942This year, just recently, has brought two WW2 tank games to our community. Both very good games in their own right, but with the typical new smell bugs and issues. Lighthouse Interactive first released WW2 Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger in early November then followed it up with the single player only, WWII armor simulation, Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942. I can only image what both of these rare types of games could become with proper support from the developers and love from the modding community.

Armed Assault continued, despite its many issues, to be the most played tactical shooter here at SimHQ. Mostly due to the excellent work of the SimHQ Armed Assault admin and mission making team. Every Monday night at least a dozen or so play this game. And with some serious mods either out or coming soon for this game, about the only thing to knock it off the pedestal may be Armed Assault 2 in 2009.

We also celebrated ten years of Rainbow Six tactical action/tactical shooter goodness. It all started ten years ago with famed author, Tom Clancy, starting Red Storm Entertainment and releasing the original, Rainbow Six. Then give-or-take 10 games later in the series and after expansion into other platforms, the tactical shooter changes to action shooter. It was a good ten year run, and thanks to Mr. Tom Clancy for that!

Free updates, free in game add-on’s, and a free beta for the next version of the best damn modern armor combat simulation to date, Steel Beasts Professional (Personal Edition) also brought smiles to our faces. It was a great simulation from the start, but the development team hasn’t stopped there, they’ve continued to add more and more to this simulation, and plan on releasing a major update/add-on soon. The modding community and the excellent mission makers for this simulation have also been hard at work, and have released more skins, more sound mods, and more missions then any similar type game/simulation.

Steel Beasts Professional (Personal Edition)

Steel Beasts Professional (Personal Edition)

It was Magnum's Maggots versus Wepp's Worms in Armed Assault WARFAREIn a duel of the titans, it was Magnum's Maggots versus Wepp's Worms in Armed Assault WARFARE. If you haven't read the threads, they provide some of the very best smack-talk humor available. Since the first skirmish didn't result in "exactly" what Magnum expected, they had a rematch... which resulted in the same outcome. Will 2009 see a return to the battle?

It Was the Worst of Times

Ten years of Tom Clancy tactical shooters… unfortunately now Tom Clancy doesn’t have a say or a hand in anything. UbiSoft bought all his rights and now they do release good games but more action shooters then tactical shooters. Ubisoft seems to love the console platforms supporting and release game updates and add-ons for them but have all but abandoned the PC market.

Steel Beasts Pro PE is a damn good simulation, and the developers along with their staff, like Ssnake, are some of the best in the business but still over 100 bucks for the game, another 30 or so for the add on or update keeps this great sim, and the only one of its kind, out of a lot of gamers hands. I’m not blaming or complaining, it is definitely money well spent in my opinion. But what about Steel Beasts 2 for the gaming market? No word on any game platform simulation yet.

Yes, we just got two good WWII tanks sims from publisher, Lighthouse Interactive, but WW2 Battle Tanks shipped with game killing bugs like the multiplayer connection issues. Steel Fury is too new for me to pass judgment on (I’m doing the review right now). It looks like it will be a great game, but the potential for some excellent multiplayer is shot due to Steel Fury being single player only. What games besides Tomb Raider type games are released single player only now-a-days? Get with the times.

Armed Assault is still great, and weekly turn out is fantastic considering the game still has major game play issues, single player is all but a joke, if it wasn’t for the mod makers and mission makers this game would have died long ago. Now in 2009 we have both Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising and Armed Assault 2 coming. Has anyone learned yet? Mainly god-like AI and all seeing and knowing enemies, along with crappy animations and game play issues. Do it right in 2009 folks!

Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising

Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising

Looking forward to 2009

There is some good gaming coming in 2009. Armed Assault 2, Operation Flashpoint 2, America’s Army 3.0, Total War, the Steel Beasts Pro PE update/add-on and many other titles.

The PC games, in my opinion, will be far fewer and a lot of neglected console ports, but my heart is devoted to Steel Beasts, Virtual BattleSpace, and DCS: Black Shark. And I’m looking forward to SimHQ’s own Armed Assault 2 server. I’m also hoping that Lighthouse Interactive and the mod community properly support the two new WWII tank sims.

The Land and Armor Combat Category Winners Are...

Best Armor Sim of the Year
Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942

Best Armor Mod of the Year
Steel Panzers for Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942

Best PC Tactical Shooter of the Year
No titles released!

Best PC Tactical Shooter Mod of the Year
Heroes Unleased for Ghost Recon

Best PC Action Shooter of the Year
Left 4 Dead

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