Panzer Corps is a modern version of Panzer General, and I have to say that it's been improved in every way. Although it's new to Steam it was originally released back in 2011 and I've been playing it for over two years, so don't let my Steam game time fool you.
One of the best things about this game is that it uses what I think of as "chess-like" or "rock/paper/stone" mechanics. While there are many hundreds of different units in the game, they're all grouped into specific types (infantry/tank/recon etc.). There are 9 different types of land and air units, each of which has distinct characteristics (just as different chess pieces move differently). Using those characteristics to their best advantage is key to success in the game, especially in combination with other units.
For example, infantry are best for attacking a city, but the city may be defended by an artillery unit behind it which gets a free attack against the infantry. So you could send a tank around the city to take out the artillery, but it's protected by an anti-tank gun. So then you send a tactical bomber in to bomb the artillery, but guess what, it's protected by an anti-aircraft gun! A successful assault against a city therefore, can often be a "chess-like" puzzle to solve. It's not just the strength of the units that counts, but the type of unit. Combined arms warfare is a must.
Although it still uses the classic 2D interface, the unit models are now displayed with a semi-3D look rather than side-on as in the original. They're higher res and detailed enough to make the many different unit types easily recognisable. The map graphics are still pretty basic compared to modern games but are a lot more detailed and pleasing to the eye than the very plain original. There are now two levels of zoom as well as the strategic map.
The game is operational in scale, rather than tactical (individual battles) or strategic (whole war), and the actual scale is variable depending on what's being represented. So a scenario may cover the invasion of the whole of Norway, or just the island of Malta. In spite of the big difference, it works well. Tanks and infantry have to be adjacent to attack, while artillery can typically fire 2 to 3 hexes. Planes have a large movement area and need to be refuelled so can't stay in the air indefinitely.
The 26 scenarios cover the main battles throughout the course of World War Two in Europe. They can be played standalone as either side or as a complete campaign from the German perspective, allowing your core force to gain experience and upgrade throughout the war.
The scenarios themselves cover mostly the same battles as in the original Panzer General but they've been redesigned, often at a different scale, so the maps are not identical.
There are many more unit types available in this version, including some very rare units not often seen in WWII games, giving considerably more tactical diversity. The AI has also been improved. New terrain types have been added, for example railways, which allow quick transportation between cities once you control them, which adds an interesting extra dimension to the transportation possibilities.
The combat mechanics are basically the same as the original, but have been tweaked to be more user-friendly. For example, whereas a unit had to both move and fire before selecting another unit, now movement and firing can be done at different times during the turn. For example, previously if you moved a unit then selected another unit before firing the first one, it would lose the ability to fire. Now it doesn't, so you can move unit 1, then move unit 2, then attack with unit 1. This gives you a lot more flexibility in how you organise your combined attacks.
Also, artillery can now be fired after moving. Perhaps not so realistic, but a lot easier to manage. Previously, when advancing, the artillery was always playing catch-up and often took a long time to get into position before you could actually use it. Now, you can move a melee unit forward, advance an artillery unit into the hex it just vacated, fire with the artillery, then attack with the melee unit once the defenders have been suppressed. Much more convenient! Additionally, many artillery units now have a longer range, 3 hexes instead of 2, making it even more useful.
As a long time wargamer (starting with Panzer Blitz in 1979), I'd have to say that this is possibly the best ALL-ROUND wargame I've ever played. It's a lot more polished and bug free than most other turn based wargames, it has enough depth and strategy to satisfy experienced wargamers, yet it's still accessible enough for newbies to the genre to enjoy, which is quite a brilliant balancing act.
It's definitely not a grognard's game, it doesn't contain complex spreadsheets and have hundreds of units to move every turn, but that's a good thing IMO. I've played overly complex strategy games in the past and quite frankly, the depth of detail can become tedious and take much of the fun out of the game. This game has relatively small numbers of units in each scenario and is quick to play. It has a very high fun factor that more serious games lack, whilst still containing plenty of strategic depth and a lot of detail and accuracy for the history buffs.
CIV V SIMILARITY
It's been admitted by Firaxis that the new combat system in Civilization V was partly based on Panzer General. Therefore all those Civ 5 fans who enjoy the new 1 unit per hex combat system would probably find this game very appealing, since there are a lot of similarities there. The big difference is that Firaxis over-simplified the combat system, whereas in Panzer Corps it's more detailed and realistic (and thus more enjoyable if you're purely in the mood for combat rather than developing an entire civilisation).
I highly recommended this game for all turn based strategy fans, especially those interested in historical recreations of actual battles in World War II.