Ah video games, to some they are a past time, to others a way of life. The game I have for review today can be considered for both of those categories as it has aspects that the novice will enjoy but yet the seasoned war gamer will appreciate as well. Today for review I have Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm from Matrix Games/TriSynergy. It has all the elements that a strategy gamer would love, but yet the 3d effects and action that draws most others to strategy type games. I personally don’t prefer the war type games with the icons and turns and lack of real action, but Panzer Command:Operation Winter Storm combines this turned based play with 3d graphics and action that even I can enjoy. Read on please to learn more about this rather cool game…



Reviewed by: Kristofer Brozio AkA Dracos

Sponsor: TriSynergy and Matrix Games


Tech Specs,Features or the Basic Info:


Game Genre : Tactical

Complexity : Basic

Game Theatre : World War II

Play Style : Turn-Based WEGO – 3D

Release Date

June 29, 2006

Developer :

Koios Works

Game Overview:

Winter, 1942 – Germany’s 6th Army is surrounded and trapped in Stalingrad. Their supplies are short,

their mobility limited, and Soviet attacks probe their lines on a daily basis. In a desperate and ill-conceived plan, Germany would attempt to rescue the 6th Army by advancing seventy-five miles in the winter starting with only two Panzer Divisions.

Welcome to the setting of Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm, a new 3D tactical wargame which combines a historical campaign with highly detailed models of both units and terrain and realistic gameplay.

{amazon id=’B000G1GAAC’ align=’RIGHT’}

Game Features:

Realistic 3D graphics, including normal maps, lighting, particles and shadows.

Historical gameplay that is accessible and fun to the novice wargamer.

Turn Based Simultaneous Movement, where each 40 second phase of play is calculated down to the millisecond and the terrain down to each meter.

Full Campaign System, allowing units to gain experience, win medals, be repaired and reinforced.

Multiplayer via PBEM

Game Requirements:

Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP

Pentium 1.2 GHz, AMD 2200+

256 MB (512 MB for XP)

DirectX 9 Compatible Video Card

64MB (Low texture quality)

128MB (Medium texture quality)

256MB (High texture quality)

DirectX 9 Compatible Sound Card

CD-ROM Drive: Yes, for boxed version installation

Hard Drive: 550mb

Microsoft DirectX 9.0c (Included)

Microsoft Managed DirectX (June 2005 Included)

Microsoft .NET Framework v1.1 (Included)

Game Data:

Complexity: Intermediate

Field of Play: Tactical

Historical Period: World War II

Unit Scale: Squads, Vehicles

Game Play: Turn-Based, Simultaneous

Players: 1 or 2 Players

AI: Yes, Either side



Game Editor: Open Editable Data, Scenario and Art Files

Installation, Testing and Comparison

Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm (PC:OpWS) is available in the boxed version or in the downloadable form. For this review I received the download so I don’t have any pretty box shots for you, but I do have lots of screen shots and gameplay observations and information.

{amazon id=’B000BYR42C’ align=’RIGHT’}

PC:OpWS is a rather small download actually, at least on DSL it is, weighing in at 324MB zipped size.

Once unzipped we can install the game, during the installation you will need to enter your key that is used for copy protection, like most games today there is some sort of copy protection. The keys are nice, at least it’s not StarForce. Once installed we find a little icon on your desktop for PCOpWS, clicking that leads us to a large gateway screen where we have many choices, like registering the game, visiting the forums, support, visiting the websites and numerous other choices.

If you wish you can explore the options there, but let’s just click ‘Play’, up pops a screen to let us configure our video settings. There a re lots of choices, more than I would have expected for a strategy game actually, the menu looks like something you might find on a first person shooter type game.


After configuring our settings and clicking ‘Play’ the game briefly loads with developer and publisher logs, then the main title/option screen comes up.

Here we are faced with yet more choices, the first one I click on is ‘Options’ to see what else I can configure. In the options section there are a few things to configure like camera speeds, music, sound effects and various other personalizing setting for the game.

Going back to the main menu and hitting the ‘Campaign’ button takes you to a selection screen with two basic options, you can play the Germans or the Soviets.

I clicked the Germans and we are brought to a map and a message from command essentially giving you your orders.

On the following screen you get to pick what types of troops you want to use for the following battle, you have a limited amount of points to use to create you squad or Panzer group. When you highlight one of the selection it does pop up with a picture description of the choice along with stats etc.


After that we get to see a nice load screen, load time is very short and you are playing in a few seconds.

At first you are greeted with an overview screen in which you can actually move your ‘pieces’ around and set them up. There is a command bar at the bottom of the screen, with a type of radar and messages as well.

The graphics aren’t that bad really, much better than I expected for a war type strategy game. The following picture is zoomed in on one of the vehicles. You can zoom and rotate the camera to get a better view at any time during the game. You can also click on the map/radar and jump to that spot to see what is going on, this allows you to sort of spy on your enemy to see what they are doing as well.

Movement is done by clicking on a vehicle or troop and using the menu to pick what you would like them to do. You can control individual vehicles/troops or you can select the main one and the rest will follow the orders. You can see in the following picture the green lines indicating they are connected together as one group.


Zooming in on one of your tanks you can actually see animated smoke coming from its engine, nice little details like that make the game a bit more enjoyable. If you look closely even the snow has a bit of texture to it. You can zoom in and follow your troops as they move and fire as well.


During battle sometimes when something major happens like one of your own tank getting blown up or one of your troops is about to make a hit, the game will automatically zoom in onto that vehicle or troop so you can see what’s going on. This is an interesting effect but sometimes it gets annoying, you are watching something else and the game just cuts you away to the other place, then you have to find out where you were and get back there.

{amazon id=’B000FOZD5S’ align=’RIGHT’}

Gameplay can be confusing at times, as it seems that sometimes your orders are not followed. One example was that I had an enemy tank right near me that was firing on my tank, I order my tank to fire on it but it just ignored me and kept firing the opposite way.. It was directly in the line of site and there was no problem firing at it, but for whatever reason my tank just didn’t listen to the order. I don’t know if it’s a game glitch or what…

The turn based system works well, you get to plan things that are going to happen, then you can also react to what the enemy did as well all during one turn.

Here is a description taken from the manual about gameplay, it describes it better than I can:

Game Play and Order Details: The game is played in turns, each turn the platoon commanders can give orders to their platoon. Orders are allowed to overlap turns. For instance, you can order a unit to advance several turns worth of movement and they will continue with their movement until they reach their destination or you give them another order. Most orders dictate how a unit moves and determines when and/or if the unit fires during the turn. For most orders, the sub-units in a platoon will automatically follow the leader’s order in formation. Right clicking on a sub unit will allow you to independently order that unit. For instance, if you choose the Defend order for the commander, you then can independently order the commander as well as each unit in the platoon to either hold position, change facing, and/or move to a close by destination. Please note that anytime the commanders order is changed, all orders for the platoon are changed (platoon units can only be independent within the context the commanders order). After placing the command unit’s order, select each unit in the platoon and right click for the order menu. The order menu in this case will not be grayed out but will be limited to only ‘defend’ actions. Units will automatically target and fire during the turn based on their order choice.

Here is a brief summary of the orders from the manual as well:

Advance Cautious move, one fire opportunity.

Rush Fast move forward, no fire opportunity.

Bound Half the platoon moves forward while half the platoon covers their movement. Then the covering units move and the units that just moved cover these units. This order is only available to German units.

Engage Target any enemy unit and/or move freely, targeting units have 2 fire opportunities, Individuals in group can be independently ordered. User can choose weapon/ammo to fire if targeting or if you just choose "engage/target" the unit will automatically choose the ‘best fit’ weapon and ammo for the target you select. Engage is the only order that allows the player to specify a target and independently move units long distances.

Withdraw Move in reverse, one firing opportunity. Only available to vehicles.

Defend Very little movement, two firing opportunities, will automatically target enemy units.

I have to say that even on the easy setting the game is very hard, and you really have to pay attention to what is going on, I’ve had enemy tanks sneak up on me and kill me from not paying attention. PC:OpWS sort of reminds me of a sophisticated game of chess, which is basically what war is in a way. PC:OpWS is very enjoyable, but can be frustrating when things don’t do what they are supposed to do.

At the end of a round you are shown a summary of your game, I lost of course….

You can always go back and play the online multiplayer version when you are done with the single player campaign. Online play is basically the same, except you need to create an account etc.

You can also go back and select the ‘Set Battle’ button and here you get to choose from a variety of scenarios to play.


In summary Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm is a game that you really need to have patience for, it is very much a strategy game, but with some nice eye candy added that will bring in more fans of the genre I believe. PC:OpWS is something that I think fans of wargames and standard strategy games like C&C and AOW could get into, although the action is not quite as intense as those games. If you are into history and strategy games then this might be what you are looking for.

DragonSteelMods gives PANZER COMMAND: OPERATION WINTER STORM a 4 out of 5 score.

{amazon id=’B000GCA5Z2′ align=’RIGHT’}


-Looks great

-Realistic gamplay

-Get to play both sides (good or bad)

-Lots of vehicle choices

-Playable on any system with changing the options


-Slow gameplay

-Found some weird problems like troops not listening to orders

I would like to thank TriSynergy once again for the chance to review their products and their continued support of DragonSteelMods.