Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star is a sequel to Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943. It’s an Eastern Front war game with solid graphics and sprawling battlefields that really emphasizes the scope of WWII tank combat. Want to step into the role of a commander in the very heart of Kharkov’s defense?
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (239 reviews) - 85% of the 239 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Mar 22, 2012

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Reviews

“...“Why can’t more games have campaign systems like Achtung Panzer Operation Star?”. Where most wargames blindfold you, bundle you into the back of truck and drive you miles to a new unfamiliar battlefield, after every victory or defeat, this one forces you to push on, and confront the sometimes-grim consequences of previous actions...”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Achtung Panzer: Operation Star really is a gem, especially for the addicted wargamer.”
The Wargamer

About This Game

Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star is a sequel to Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943. It’s an Eastern Front war game with solid graphics and sprawling battlefields that really emphasizes the scope of WWII tank combat.
Want to step into the role of a commander in the very heart of Kharkov’s defense? You'll have everything the officers had back then: tanks, guns, and fearless soldiers. The success of each opposing force hangs in the balance every day. Your decisions will determine who wins the Battle of Kharkov.

  • 8 operations for the Red Army and Wehrmacht.
  • More than 60 detailed units of the Soviet Union, Germany and UK, including Pz IV "Tiger", MkII "Matilda" and KV-1 with various modifications.
  • Huge realistic landscapes (over 260 sq km), reconstructed by the topographic maps and photo.
  • Quick battle anywhere in the operation areas.
  • Mod utility set and campaign editor.

Features:
  • High replayability and flexible AI. It chooses the best strategy based on behavior rather than a script. Scenarios can be replayed using different tactics, as though playing against a human opponent.
  • Real soldier behavior: every soldier has several basic parameters, such as experience level, fatigue, and morale, which affect their behavior and effectiveness.
  • Detailed recreation of weapons and realistic ballistics: bullets and projectiles follow accurate trajectories.
  • Comprehensive vehicle damage system: engine, suspension, weapons, and aiming mechanisms can all be damaged separately, affecting the combat capabilities of the vehicle.
  • Destructible environment: nearly everything can be blasted and destroyed, from ground terrain to houses and enemy defenses. All traces of previous battles remain on the battlefield.
  • Dynamic day, night and weather effects, all of which affect combat through terrain traversability, battlefield visibility, hidden force capabilities, and more, smoke screens, light flares e.t.c.
  • Military encyclopedia with 3D model viewer and detailed data on all units, describing their historical and in-game characteristics.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 / Vista
    • Processor: AMD Athlon x2 4200+ / Intel Pentium D 3GHz or Better
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon x1600 256MB / Vidia GeForce 7600 256 MB video card or better
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 8 compatible sound card
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Very Positive (239 reviews)
Recently Posted
Alex ☭
( 7.0 hrs on record )
Posted: July 8
I liked some parts of the game despite it having a steep learning curve. Technically, what killed it for me was that if I changed literally any options it would crash and not make a difference the next time I launched the game, and since it was lagging with the settings it was on I was frustrated enough to eventually just get a refund. This frustration stems from speaking with either just one of the moderators or admins of the game or one of the developers about it, which sadly didn't do much despite a really great try from this guy!

Anyways, onto what I did play of it with my ♥♥♥♥♥ FPS.

Like I said, the game has a steep learning curve. Other than that it seems that shrubbery dotted around the landscape stops your line of sight really fast (I don't remember if it was just a couple 100 meters with a Halftrack. I imagine that it simulates the field of view from mister machine gunner on top of it, but like I wrote, couple 100 meters of line of sight. Other than that I drove a convoy of tanks and halftracks into a russian ambush where suddenly a tank was on my left flank, and then a bunch more came, along with infantry from all over the place except for behind me, 70 meters from me. This is an overreaction about the amount of units they had, I just got rekt really hard. The part about them being 70 meters from me is right though. This is all like 40 minutes of gameplay out of the about 8 Steam said I had.

I wrote this review at first with a dislike in mind but now I actually miss the game. Weird, right? I get the feeling that I missed out on a lot of the game by getting a refund... But it didn't work. It still gets a recommendation for what it is when it works, as I do like it in practice but there were technical problems.
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MightyOwl
( 13.7 hrs on record )
Posted: July 3
Really like this game alreay. Picked it up in sale with DLC and just starting to get to grips with the basics. It has a learning curve - partly from a slightly non-intuitive UI and partly due to complexity/options involved - but underneath, the actual mechanics of playing are faily simple. Similar to Total War games in that you play a strategic layer and then resolve battles yourself. The battles are at a slightly abstract level compared to say combat mission, but much more realistic and (I think) more interesting than say a Wargame: game such as European Escalation.

It's obviously going to depend on your interests and game play style, but I've been looking for a game like this for a while.. and great to find this one. After a couple of early crashes (one solved in support forum) I've found it pretty stable so far (early days but some play sessions of several hours with no issues)..

Visually it is not cutting edge by any means, but somehow puts in enough authentic details for the battles to play out amazingly well and in the middle of a pitched battle it can really start to be immersive to zoom down into each conflict.

Control is more complex than a simplistic RTS style, but at the same time discourages 'micro' levels of control, making it feel closer to platoon or company leader levels of management, with some great sim mechanics including unit fatgue, state of mind, communication system (telephone, radio, flare etc) and as far as I can see ok AI for everything below your level of control (snipers automatically take cover in belfries, machine gun teams auto deply, soldiers ride on tanks etc).

At sale price definately worth a try, but if you like the genre and didn't know about it, it might just be a 'find'.. Plenty of lets plays on Youtube to watch before buying if still unsure
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Tatsumaki
( 9.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
The not-so-average hardcore RTS game that made Theatre of War look freaking basic.
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Uncle Timo
( 6.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
BUY IT. BUY IT NOW.

The UI takes all of 10 minutes to figure out. The communication, control and command (C3) will take weeks.

This is better than Combat Mission, because while CM is one battle and it's over, this has whole operational campaigns which are DYNAMIC and where you place your troops, tanks, AT guns, commanders on grand map then translates into tactical combat.

So you have both operational and tactical layer.

Brilliant.
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MrNormsHGW
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
Triple Monitor PC System

This game does not support a Triple Monitor PC system and as such, the screen size would not change no matter what resolution I chose, so, I was stuck with all 3 screens active but the aspect ratio wrong which left parts of the map un-reachable.

The game has a very steep learning curve as it is but when you try to learn with a triple monitor system, well, lets just say it's easier to breath in outer space then play/learn this gam. The lack of triple monitor support leaves me no choice but to get a refund.

I did do a search in the files to manually change resolution/aspect ratio and also checked several fourms. This problem goes back several years with this series and the Devs have made no attempt to fix/address it, they simply do not care about those with triple monitor PCs.

Bottom Line: If you have a triple monitor PC system, DO NOT BUY, it won't work.
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Razfaren
( 3.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
Still not really knowing how to play this, but it looks really awesome and realistic
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gribelo
( 11.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 1
Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star is a WW2 heavily realistic RTT game.

You are taking role of a commander in a series of historical decisive battles taking place around Kharkov a Soviet megapolis and important industrial and scientific center. Battles are fought in two steps, first you make chess-like turn based moves on the operational map and then you fight a series of corresponding real time engagements.

Main game concepts and mechanics are direct descendants of Close Combat series. With squad level control, attention to morale, weapon loadouts and rough realism, however visual part of game is a huge leap ahead. You will find one of the best 3D scenery you ever saw in strategy game here. Lighting, shading, weather effects, complex landscape,terraforming, etc.. Everything looks great and really belivable here and Total War series is the closest what comes to mind if you want to compare visual style.

Battle part provides from \"little\" to \"no\" compromise in this game. Single bullet hit usually means dead soldier, mortar shell on your position usually means dead squad and enemy tank is your worst nigthmare. Germans are mechanized, better equiped and organized, so all Soviet campaigns are even more hard to play. No balance or helpfull scripts here. DEFEAT means DEFEAT.

Absolutely must have for everyone who like challenging realistic wargames. Game is pretty old, but dont be fooled by that, it looks perfect and dont have even close analogues anyway.

PROS

Strong concept, mix of Close Combat indepth detalisation and Total War beauty.
Photo realistic scenery, dynamic weather and day\\night cycle.
Realistic physics (terraforming, ballistics, weight, traction and torque for vehicles, etc..)
REAL night battles (this will impress you)
High replay ability
AI capable to surprise (you will see)
Realistic and hard wargame not for everyone, no balance and cybersport ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t (you are warned)

CONS

Limited choice of locations and units (compared to mainstream games)
Not the best unit animations
Voiceover is trash (who needs it anyway)
No fancy tutorials (not a big problem for a dedicated wargamer but a nightmare for a casual)
Some questionable things here and there (just couple of them)
Heavy impact on system. Forget about recommended system specs. You will need a TOP 2016 hardware to turn everything on.
No multiplayer (biggest dissapointment)

Highly recommended!
9 out of 10
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Brunswick
( 83.8 hrs on record )
Posted: May 23
I grew up playing games like Close Combat and Combat Mission, but I always felt like those two games could be improved upon. Close Combat, particularly the 2nd and 3rd games in the series, were a great mix of highly tactical combat with campaign systems that allowed your units to fight battles which affected future battles and operations. While the later games went on to have bigger battles and maps, they lost a bit of the magic of the early games where the battles felt much more like struggles and where your past mistakes could lead you to be stuck in situations in Arnhem, or wherever, where you had 4 squads and needed to hold on for a half hour to get a decent cease fire. On the other hand, the Combat Mission series took the war to 3D but kept the extremely complex morale system and tank combat. Yet I never found the series quite as engaging due to a lack of any meaningful campaign system and clunky, abstracted interface and graphics. What I always wanted more was a strategic system like that of the later Close Combat series mixed with 3D graphics, and I think I've found that in the Graviteam Tactics series.

I've now played a handful of different operations on some of the expansions as well as the original map and I've enjoyed it immensely. There was much talk about the terrible interface and whatnot in the reviews, but I think if you've played Close Combat or CM the controls are more or less normal, especially when using the right click interface to use the most common movement commands. That being said, the learning curve here will still be large for anyone new to the series and you probably won't do well your first battle. Incredibly, the game starts you out with a night mission where you will probably wonder at first if the game is even working. Once the first firefights kick off and you see tracers flying you'll probably be entertained enough just watching, but most people will probably be baffled as to how to do anything. The graphics and sounds as a whole do a great job of making you feel like you're really in a frozen battlefield, though the sounds aren't the highest quality.

I somehow won my first operation, despite having no idea how it really worked. I still don't really understand resupply or what half the indicators mean, even after reading the manual. But it's still a ton of fun and gives some really unique gameplay. The strategic layer adds a ton to the game, leaving you to make the decision to press for an attack with weakened troops or hold back and regroup. Sometimes you'll find yourself forced to defend for the 6th battle in a row with a couple of platoons reduced to a few squads with no ammo in a town reduced to rubble. When it comes to the battles themselves, they're an hour or less in length and vary wildly in how they go. At times you'll have battles where you and the enemy immediately cease fire because you're so weak. Other times you'll have a 45 minute long running gun battle with tanks exploding left and right and hundreds of casualties.

Generally your men do what you tell them to do, though you don't need to micromanage too much in this game. Even just using the right click command modes, there's a great variety of commands to give you flexibility. Morale and command are modeled well and I haven't seen many times where my men reacted in unexpected ways. Most battles I have played I enjoy, even when getting destroyed by the enemy, which happens more in this game than I'm used to from other games! Enemy AI tends to be smart and will maneuver around you if they find a way. Cover is well utilized in the game, with buildings, forests, hedgerows, etc giving your men cover in what feels like a realistic way. Using certain commands you can tell your men to find cover when they get to a place which is a great feature.

That all being said, this game isn't perfect. Tank pathfinding can be terrible and inexplicably dumb. Tanks will sometimes crash into a tree and not realize that they can back up and go around it. Sometimes things happen when it comes to the results of a battle which make no sense, and there's no real explanation of why you just knocked out 10 tanks and lost none but got a total defeat. Sometimes your men decide to lay in a field rather than the fence with bushes 5 feet away from them. But my biggest complaint thus far is with the friendly AI units.

In operations where you have allied units they will be AI controlled on the strategic map as well as in any battles where you have your own troops involved. I have found that on the strategic level they're worse than useless, with Tiger tank units moving to a far off, peaceful corner to defend nothing while Russian tanks destroy my lines just to the side of them, or my lone KV units deciding they just don't feel like fighting battles and moving behind my lines to hang out. If by some unfortunate event end up in a battle where you have all infantry and the AI controls your tanks or AT guns, forget it and just run away. The tanks will probably go get stuck in a ditch (or in one case, my AI tank decided to crash into a destroyed tank hull and get stuck there) or drive off away from your defenses. The AT guns will probably be in the middle of a forest and will ignore that road 20 feet away where the enemy tanks have to drive. Luckily, I've read that you can turn the AI control off and use the units as your own, with some penalties, which is still much better than letting the AI ruin your game.

Overall, however, the pros far outweigh the cons. This is a highly realistic, beautiful wargame which is a great successor to the Close Combat series. If you always wanted a 3D version of that and found other games lacking, this game is worth checking out. The AI isn't perfect, but the enemy AI at least is generally good and can beat me much of the time. The DLC that I have played are all very cool and well worth picking up, especially during a sale when it's 2 or 3 bucks for an operation which should give you 10-20 hours of new gameplay. I plan on buying the next game in the series once I've finished this one and all the DLC I bought, and I expect it to be great as well!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Australian King of Memes
( 4.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 8
Make Guderian proud.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ZombieAnusPounder
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 8
Product received for free
You wot m8 gr8 b8 3===D~
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
13.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
Really like this game alreay. Picked it up in sale with DLC and just starting to get to grips with the basics. It has a learning curve - partly from a slightly non-intuitive UI and partly due to complexity/options involved - but underneath, the actual mechanics of playing are faily simple. Similar to Total War games in that you play a strategic layer and then resolve battles yourself. The battles are at a slightly abstract level compared to say combat mission, but much more realistic and (I think) more interesting than say a Wargame: game such as European Escalation.

It's obviously going to depend on your interests and game play style, but I've been looking for a game like this for a while.. and great to find this one. After a couple of early crashes (one solved in support forum) I've found it pretty stable so far (early days but some play sessions of several hours with no issues)..

Visually it is not cutting edge by any means, but somehow puts in enough authentic details for the battles to play out amazingly well and in the middle of a pitched battle it can really start to be immersive to zoom down into each conflict.

Control is more complex than a simplistic RTS style, but at the same time discourages 'micro' levels of control, making it feel closer to platoon or company leader levels of management, with some great sim mechanics including unit fatgue, state of mind, communication system (telephone, radio, flare etc) and as far as I can see ok AI for everything below your level of control (snipers automatically take cover in belfries, machine gun teams auto deply, soldiers ride on tanks etc).

At sale price definately worth a try, but if you like the genre and didn't know about it, it might just be a 'find'.. Plenty of lets plays on Youtube to watch before buying if still unsure
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 8
I liked some parts of the game despite it having a steep learning curve. Technically, what killed it for me was that if I changed literally any options it would crash and not make a difference the next time I launched the game, and since it was lagging with the settings it was on I was frustrated enough to eventually just get a refund. This frustration stems from speaking with either just one of the moderators or admins of the game or one of the developers about it, which sadly didn't do much despite a really great try from this guy!

Anyways, onto what I did play of it with my ♥♥♥♥♥ FPS.

Like I said, the game has a steep learning curve. Other than that it seems that shrubbery dotted around the landscape stops your line of sight really fast (I don't remember if it was just a couple 100 meters with a Halftrack. I imagine that it simulates the field of view from mister machine gunner on top of it, but like I wrote, couple 100 meters of line of sight. Other than that I drove a convoy of tanks and halftracks into a russian ambush where suddenly a tank was on my left flank, and then a bunch more came, along with infantry from all over the place except for behind me, 70 meters from me. This is an overreaction about the amount of units they had, I just got rekt really hard. The part about them being 70 meters from me is right though. This is all like 40 minutes of gameplay out of the about 8 Steam said I had.

I wrote this review at first with a dislike in mind but now I actually miss the game. Weird, right? I get the feeling that I missed out on a lot of the game by getting a refund... But it didn't work. It still gets a recommendation for what it is when it works, as I do like it in practice but there were technical problems.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
137 of 141 people (97%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
104.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 3, 2015
This is one of those games that confuse the hell out of you at first. First time I installed it, I hated it and regreted my decision of buying GTOS. Later on I cooled down and have read some of the other reviews and gave this babe another chance to prove itself.
I spent couple more evenings trying to figure out what the hell is going on on my screen, studied a few tutorials and manuals online and then one moment it struck me. Damn! This game is absolute blast.
I've played 90% percent of the WW2 games out there, no exagerrating, if you know some obscure WW2 FPS/RTS/Tactics, chances are I've played that. I'm wargames nut, I've played old and new games, I've played good and bad games. I've tried almost every popular and obscure WW2 games, it'd be pointless to list them all. But this one, believe me, will deliver you insane amount of fun if you will spend a bit more time learning how the stuff works here. Give gem a little care, treat it woth patience and it will treat you in return. It's new, it's fresh, it's a gorgeous game, beautiful and stunning outside and very deep and complicated inside.

It will suit all your WW2 nut needs. Amazing, breath-taking, painfully realistic, grim, brutal tank and infantry battles (with some close air support & artillery options). I've never seen a combat in a WW2 game portrayed so gritty. Yet I've played Close Combat, Combat Mission, Men of War, Theatre of War (all of which I love and play till this day) but none of them could reach this level of aestethics. Men will scream, bleed to death, sand will fly in the air, shells will strike the ground and leave you deaf.
It also has such important aspects as realistic radio & wire lines system, something very similar to Combat Mission if you've played that. Chain of command is obviously present in the game too.

And the best thing? You can set everything and anything in this game, extensive number of options lets you edit the game experience to you liking, making it either a true, die-hard, hardcore war sim or arcade RTS, or even a mix of both. If you don't like micro-managing stuff too much it's okay, little men on the battlefield are smart enough to act on their own.

Few words regarding the setting, atmosphere and premise of this game. It's set in Ukraine/Russia circa 1941 to 1943. (Two of the DLCs are set in some-what moden time). One thing I'm going to say that is, Graviteam developers have hit the nail here. The land, terrain, nature, forests, atmosphere, sky.. Oh my god, it looks stunning. It absolutely perfectly depicts and resembles real places and lands. I myself was born in Russia and as a little kid, I used to walk around a lot, exploring all those forests and big, endless lands of my country and let me tell you a thing, if you're a foreigner, who wants to see true russian nature and not stereotypic stuff, play this game. It's art, pure art.

Do you like war movies? Hell, you can just start a battle, grab a glass of whatever favorite drink you prefer and watch the hell let and break loose.

One of the best games I've got from steam and absolutely deserved money that I paid in the past year. If you feel like it's too much for you, try waiting for a bit, they do have discounts sometime but nobody can predict when those happen.

No doubt, reccomended. Buy and see it for yourself, don't listen to anybody complaining about interface or other stuff, you WILL get used to it and it's going to be comfortable using it. Also keep in mind, this is not just an RTS, it's tactic, so all these buttons matter.

Last thing about DLCs. Yes, yes, yes, get all of them. (except hi-res textures, game looks fine as it is.) I oppose the idea of DLCs in general, but these are good, believe me, they are worth the price.

P.S. If you get in this game, after playing few battles you might want to get "Aunthetic Battle Sound mod" and the "Uniforms mod". These two are mandatory for even better experience and are available on the internet. Do a little googling.

Feel free to ask me questions if you have any. Have a nice day.
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129 of 140 people (92%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
71.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 20, 2014
With help of the manual, tutorial messages and forum you have made it past the clunky UI of the operations map. Your units have been resupplied, at least most of them, and you figure out that it will have to do for whatever is coming next.
You arrive on the battlefield at 06:48 a.m., the morning mist creates a surreal look of the environment. Will you even be able to make contact with the enemy? You wanted to take your time and encircle him, at least secure your flanks. But he surprised you and attacked first...

Are his units as battered as yours or did he bring reinforcements in without you knowing it? You have no idea about what`s coming at you...

One thing is sure, however, you don`t want to let objectives Amethyst and Malachite fall into enemy hands. So, you decide to split your forces in two battlegroups. One is worn out, but has better equipment left and the other one... well, they are rookies, but you don`t have anything else. And the tank, what will you do with the tank? Should he try to break a possible attack in the first minutes or do you keep him in reserve, as a last option when everything else has failed?

You decide to leave the tank behind and use him as a wild card, if one of your battle groups is wavering. Both task forces are set up along the way to the objectives, based on the environment you found good ambush spots and hope that the enemy will pass through them. You are confident with the way you placed your forces, the only thing which makes you worry is ...both battlegroups are separated by around 3 kms.

07:14 a.m. and still no contact. You chose the most battered squad and send them on a recon run in the hope to get a position of the enemy`s assault force. 20 minutes later you are sure, the opponents main attack will hit the rookies...

What will you do with your units of the second road block? Should they hold their position in case of enemy activity, should they rush for aid to help their fellow comrades at the first road block? 5 minutes later you are still not sure, if you need the second ambush point at all? Meanwhile forward elements of the enemy have made contact with your weaker task force. Mortar rounds are pouring in on them, the whole task force is in danger of just being swept away.

You decide to mobilize the units of the second ambush point. It seems to be more important to support your buddies than waiting for an enemy who might not even arrive. But it`s 3 kms through rough terrain, will they make it in time? And what about the tank?

The tank will maintain his position and you decide to only use him in case of utmost emergency. In the meantime the mortar fire on the first task force has stopped and it looks like for the moment they can defend their position.

Battlegroup No. 2 is still on its way and around 1,5 kms out. Suddenly, they receive fire from a small forest and you think about dealing with them first or to continue to their original objective which was "helping out those rookie guys". It looks like the rookies earn their stripes and haven`t moved back an inch, you decide to clear out the forest to secure the flank of the rookies.

Halftracks are moving in, infantry disembarks and you follow them into the misty forest. The halftrack with the much needed 7,5 cm gun takes the first hit, it goes up in flames you can only feel pity for the ejecting guys. Yet, you don`t know what hit it. Infantry is continuing their march into the woods when they suddenly spot an AT gun, secured by an HMG. Your people are in the line of fire of both guns and hit the ground earlier than you could order them to fall back. They are pinned down, one by one is being taken out, but still, they are crawling towards the guns and still push forward.

Of course it has to be like this way, while your second task force plays hide-and-seek in the forest the rookies are giving in to the pressure and it looks like the line is ...vanished. Time for the tank!

You have high hopes for the steel beast to turn the tide of battle in your favor. Eagerly you follow your tank while it uses the road for faster movement. After about 100 m something explodes around the tank, you zoom in just to find out that the enemy has secretly managed to sneak engineers through your lines. The tank treads are gone... Why didn`t you at least spare a squad to secure the tank? You will never know, meanwhile the tank, stationary like a AT gun, is fighting for survival. The engineers throwing everything they have, ...but miss. Burning spots around the tank, but the crew inside manages to stay calm and takes out the enemy one by one until he surrenders. The tank didn`t live up to your expectations, but, at least he is not lost.

Unfortunately that can`t be said about the units in the forest. They have overcome both guns, but at what cost? After having sacrificed 70% of their strength you move them back to the halftracks, let them embark and try to save the rest of what`s left of task force 1. There is not much shooting anymore around the first ambush point, it seems both sides are exhausted.

A few minutes later the halftracks finally arrive at your first battlegroup and bring much needed support, though tiny in numbers. But, as soon as the first vehicles open fire the enemy is offering a cease-fire. Will you accept it and call it a day, ...or, what if, the enemy is close to break? Should you risk to go all-in with your tiny relieve force and take a not so glory victory back home?

You decide to go in for the kill and, at least this time you were right, soon after the transported infantry disembarks and joins the fight the enemy surrenders, the battle is won.

It is 08:33 a.m., you lost 85% of your combat strength and you think about, if there`s enough left to continue at all. Then you notice that your enemy lost even more...

For the battles to come you will adapt, ..and you will repair your tank. And you won`t make the same mistake twice.

And, since this round lasted almost 2 hours, there`s still laundry to do and your wife needs help with the kids, you decide to leave the game behind for now.

Yet, you surely will return. You lost 85% of your troops but you feel like General of the Month...

At least until your wife enters the room and recites the "today`s to-do list" in front of you...
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88 of 91 people (97%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
59.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
Rating: A

Graviteam Tactics is a game that used to be called Achtung Panzer, but after some sort of nonsense involving the old publisher, they had to change the name when it went on Steam. Or something. I don't know the specifics.

But it's a good game. More people should know about it. It's not very accessible and the UI is confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it's a good time. Though I'll admit, after nearly 25 hours so far, I still don't totally know what I'm doing. That speaks partly to the game's depth, but also how to the lack of transperancy regarding mechanics.

At its most superficial level, it's kind of like a Total War game set in World War II. But it's a lot more of a sim than Total War is, and the design intent is very different. The Ukrainian fellows who made Graviteam Tactics are well known in sim nerd circles for their tank simulators, at least one of which used to be on Steam but doesn't seem to be any more and I don't know why. Their obsession with WWII and tank damage models served them well for making a game of a grander scale, where you command little germans or little soviets in squads and weapons teams, and whose lines of communication and chain of command you must manage as you order them to march onwards towards the slaughter. After a battle in this game, one can find the battlefield littered with meat. Manflesh, to be exact.

You have a bird's eye view of the happenings, starting with the turn-based operations map where you move companies of men and tanks around, check their supply and tell them where and whom to attack. Once a battle commenses you get dumped into the planning stages of the real-time mode, where you set up your little soldiers and give them their opening orders. Opening orders are important, because they have no command cost and allow you to set up your plan and watch it unfold. Your squads and teams for the most part work on their own, though you can of course order them, but they decide on their own behind which trees to take cover, when to shoot and when to hit the deck -- you have no control over such precise details. The best you can do is tell them a general location to move to and a general direction to concentrate their fire. There is little micromanagement in the game, and you are even disuaded from trying to micromanage, as giving orders costs you command and the more into the fire your men get, the harder it is to command them. It's a neat little system, but it isn't readily apparent when you start the game up. It took me more than a few games--and reading more than a few game guides, of which, I might add, there are scant few--to know what the hell the blue bar at the top of the screen meant and why it would change when I tried to order my half-dead, panicking engineer squad to suck it up and advance into machinegun fire (which is a terrible tactic, by the way).

Between battles you can manage your men, splitting up their squads and allocating ammo and fuel for vehicles. It's a fun a little management game, and is pretty simple. You cannot build units in the game, so what you start with is what you get, though there are usually reinforcements showing up on certain turns and whose arrival and availability you are well informed of.

Operations are dynamic and different each time you play, with the possibility of fighting over the same town or the same hill across multiple battles, each side taking and subsequently losing the objective over the course of one or two in-game days. It gives the game a fun, fluid and unpredictable narrative that enhances replayability.

In addition to the operational campaigns, you can also play individual battles with units from force pools on any part of the included maps. What's kind of lame, though, is that you can't set it to have the computer generate the enemy force, so you always know exactly what the enemy has right from the get go. Major bummer for me.

BUT IN CONCLUSION: it is a solid game that deserves more press and more people talking about it.
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68 of 73 people (93%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Recommended
939.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 14, 2015
Ever played a game where you hid your troops in an unforgiving, winter wasteland with no real cover except for maybe a shellhole from some battle before (when your group was at full-strength and chock full of ammo) or among some skinny trees? Oh, did I mention they're short of ammo, at half-strength, and their Commander was killed in the previous engagement four hours ago?

Well, here you are, a young German soldier swallowed up in Mother Russia in 1943 manning a hill with 5 combat effective infantry units left out of the twelve you started with and it's 3 a.m. and blizzarding and the Popovs are coming hell bent on a suicidal charge to knock you out of some hard-earned ground. Hope to God they don't have armor because your Engineer Squad got decimated and the Pak gun you have won't penetrate what they've been rolling out. Well, at least you have some mortar support to call in but those rounds are few to spare so be careful in calling it in because if it's just a probe and you waste your rounds, well....

...Soviets show up, In force. No one is dug in. You call in what few mortars you have left to break up and hopefully stop their assault because if you can survive till reinforcements arrive then maybe, just maybe there's a chance because the half-tracks you rolled into this winter hell in are either smoking ruins or immobilized and you're damned lucky to have survived with anything. Now is usually when the praying starts.

Mortars fall heavy in their midst but it's so sporadic because the spotting is off that it kills no one except 3 men of yours because the ♥♥♥♥ing mess fell short and they run off screaming into the night ablaze [that is not drama folks; your troops will burn, and they will scream, and you will try to block it out after a while].

Then the mortars finally hit spot on and after watching your enemy suffer a bit as they burn and scream and run off into the frozen landscape to satisfy your revenge, you call off the bombardment early to salve your last sense of humaity. And you relax. The battle's almost over, you may just hold this worthless piece of real-estate. Time to call for a Cease-Fire and hope Ivan is as tired and spent as you are. Resupply is on the way...just survive this turn.

Then, without warning, an uncannily accurate artillery bombardment rakes your position and destroys a large chunk of the men you have left...

Because YOU called off the mortars before his forward artillery observers were killed. Live with it.
And are those advancing tank engines you hear in the distance...? Sheisse !

Welcome to GraviTeam Tactics kids.

This is not a nice guy's wargame.

[There's my drama laden review. With 700+ hours and counting on this game, it's safe to assume I recommend it enthusiastically, but only if you're willing to learn it's daunting rule schematic. For you old wargame grognards, it's like "Squad Leader" come to life. Nuff said]
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76 of 85 people (89%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
Recommended
98.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 16, 2015
Do you like strategy wargames? I mean real strategy wargames that reward careful planning and clever execution of a strategically sound battle plan but punish stupidity with cold, ruthless efficiency?

Do you possess the ability to devise a feasible strategy, working within the limitations of available assets, taking into account the conditions on the ground, playing to your own strengths and exploiting the weaknesses of your foe? Are you able to translate that strategy into a series of victories fought on the ground, knowing that each engagement, each success and each failure will directly affect those that follow?

Can you read events as they unfold? are you fluent in the language of nature, do you understand terrain and weather conditions and the role they will play in your ability to prevail?

Can you look through the eyes of your officers on the front, see what they see, feel what they feel, as they attempt to make your vision a reality? Can you hold your nerve, retaining unwavering belief in your own plan as you experience the chaos and carnage of each skirmish, assault and defence, never losing sight of the ultimate Operational objectives?

Do you relish the challenge of managing extremely limited resources? of maintaining supply lines? can you correctly allocate those resources where they'll do the most good? Can you grasp the value of each and every infantryman, of each and every bullet? if success is to be achieved you need to.

Are your shoulders broad enough to bear the burden of responsibility placed upon you? Can you can keep your front line forces in a permanent state of combat readiness? Can you bear to disband brave but depleted squads in order to share out the precious remaining men and ammunition among the rest of the platoon, showing no emotion?

Are you able to maintain the complex and fragile network of battlefield communications that enable your chain of command to function in a way that ensures the prompt delivery of your orders? That enable your Platoons to operate as a single, organised, cohesive and efficient fighting force?

Do you know enough about the many varied tools at your disposal? or the tools wielded by your enemies? Is it wise to throw short barrelled Panzer III's against T-34's? are you familiar with the effective range of your guns, of your enemies guns? Will you instinctively know which battles to seek out and which to avoid? Do you understand that sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good of your long term aims?

Herr General, do you have what it takes to make the right decisions under pressure? to smile in the face of adversity? to adapt and revise your strategy as events unfold? Taking the unexpected in your stride, recognising when to sally forth and when to withdraw? Are you able to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes?

Because, once the shooting starts there's no turning back, there are no second chances, once the die is cast the battle must be fought and your men will live or die by the decisions you make. There will be no respawning units, no tank factories churning out replacements, no happy base building or gamey 'balancing' to ease the pain. There is no place to hide, no room here for the weak, the impetuous or the foolish. This game offers no comfort for the lilly livered or those easily intimidated by complexity and steep learning curves.

This is Operational level warfare gentlemen, as real and as unforgiving as has ever been depicted in the digital media, if you harbour any doubts at all, for the sake of your men, for the sake of your own dignity, I urge you to walk away, Company of heroes 2 awaits.

To the rest of you I say this - Welcome to Hell!

\o
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63 of 69 people (91%) found this review helpful
Recommended
23.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2014
Once you get over the learnign curve and GUI you discover a great game. The persistant campaign is brilliant, I dont knwo why other games don't do something similar.

This is by no means you're regular RTS like COH, you don't control you're troops, but you are like in real life, their commander. Orders take time to trickle down to your men, if you're too bossy and keep sending conflicting orders your men will stop listening, if the fightings too much you men will panic and flee.

If I was going to compare this to any recent game it would be Wargame, but wargame feels like a virtual war with no feeling. GT:OS is realistic and gritty, I actually feel sorry for the soldiers cowering in their fox holes. In wargame, they are just another few points lost.

I just wish they would implement co-op/multiplayer.

Oh and the constant release of new DLC over new time periods with new units keeps the game fresh and active.
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70 of 80 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 12, 2014
(NOTE: Even if Steam says I've only played 0.1 hours of this game, I have played probably hundreds of hours before it was released here.)

If you are into deep, thoughtful tactical simulators this is the game for you.

GTOS is a game that allows you the time to consider the options and react accordingly. The battlefields are huge, and your resources usually limited, so you'll need to deploy and use your troops taking a lot of factors into consideration.

While GTOS is an RTS, this is not a game played with "clicks-per-minute" and macro spamming, but with thought and tactical finesse. But when the sh*t hits the fan you'd better know how to react or expect your troops to be suppressed and panic in no time. However there is no need to micro-manage, the AI will defend themselves.

The vehicles have proper penetration values - there are no instant fireball when tanks are hit here. What kills a tank is mostly unseen things - crew is killed by shrapnel, engine destroyed, internal fires, weapon broken. But devastating hits do happen, and a burning tank often leads to pretty explosions of ammo cooking off a long time afterwards. You get the feeling a tank is a really hard thing to kill - as it should be, but beware of getting too close to infantry - Molotovs and AT-grenades can still kill or disable a reckless tanker.

Weapons are realistically modeled, and guns can be fired over long distances. Artillery takes a long time to call in and needs to be planned correctly - but when it does hit it's truly devastating. Nothing says "we need to move NOW" like the blasts of artillery pinpointing your position.

The game is far from easy to get into - there is very little tutorial and hand-holding, and the manual can be hard to understand, in bad English or simply outdated. The AI can be on the quirky side or just plain stupid side at times, and the process of applying patches to the game is sometimes a challenge in itself...

But if you are into realistic war games, consider yourself a war gamer or "grognard", GTOS is well worth the investment.
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54 of 58 people (93%) found this review helpful
Recommended
368.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2014
Graviteam Tactics comes closer than any other game I have yet played to representing the complex situational challenges of the WW2 battlefield. It is a superb game, limited only by a clunky interface and weak marketing, that every serious war gamer should definitely have in his or her stable.

Graviteam has clearly been designed by a team with a deep understanding of military tactics and a passion for realism and historical accuracy. I can't praise the game highly enough and I can only say to those of you who have not yet purchased it, or who gave up on Graviteam because the interface had you baffled, that you are missing out on the opportunity to experience and contribute to the finest WW2 simulation ever made.
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