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Tannenburg Review

M2H, Blackmill Games

As a war historian of sorts, I always wondered throughout the years why World War 1 hadn’t been given nearly as much attention as the Second World War. Perhaps it’s because the technology of the 30s and 40s was sexier than it was during WW1. Or, maybe it’s the fact that each of the opposing sides of WW2 (the Axis vs the Allies) was more clear cut and discernable.

Whatever the case may be, I’m really glad that WW1 has finally been getting some much-needed attention after all of these years. Even though it wasn’t my most favorite first-person shooter, EA’s Battlefield 1 was probably the game that brought WW1 into the gaming public’s collective consciousness and put it on the map.

Sadly, Blackmill Games’ WW1 game, Verdun, had come out a year before Battlefield 1, but since it didn’t have the deep pockets of a triple-A corporation like EA, it largely went unnoticed by the masses. Even when folks would hear about it, Verdun was historically accurate and slow-paced which isn’t exactly a territory that screams: “I must play this” from the casual shooter masses.

Fortunately, Blackmill has gone back to the drawing board and learned what worked with Verdun and what didn’t. That game’s successor is titled: Tannenberg, and this time things take place on the highly contentious Eastern Front. Although you will see some of the same trench warfare that was so conspicuous in Verdun, Tannenberg’s maps are much more open, with rolling hills and shady forests to traverse.

Maneuver is Tannenberg’s major game mode and it isn’t dissimilar to Battlefield 1’s Conquest mode. Each team has a pool of Victory Points. Capturing points and killing members of the opposing teams depletes these points, so the more sectors your team holds, the closer you are to winning a match.

When you capture and hold a sector, your team gets certain additional abilities. This can range from being able to spawn faster to the ability to call in gas or artillery strikes. Mustard gas, in particular, can be devastating when utilized effectively. There have been many times when I’ve seen entrenched soldiers get hit with clouds of the stuff and watched as they were blinded and damaged over time.

There are various factions to play which offer a good deal of variety, especially when it comes to what weapons they are each are able to wield. There is also a class system in place, typical of first-person warfare games such as this. You can take the role of four different classes: NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer), Rifleman, Gunner, and Grenadier. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a difference between them, besides the NCO who can call in artillery and shout orders to his underlings.

This may shock you, but there are no super-duper autocannons or rocket launchers on offer in Tannenberg. No, instead you’ll be fighting with rifles and that’s it. As a gamer who likes slower-paced combat, which gives me more time to consider all of my tactical options, this style of warfare suits me just fine. However, I can see those with short attention spans getting bored pretty quickly. This is definitely not Call of “Duty: World War 1.”

There can be up to 64 players per match in Tannenberg. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have much of a player base, so I haven’t experienced that yet. What mitigates this deficit somewhat is that the game fills in the player-less slots with bots and the game’s AI is pretty on point, at least enough to offer you a decent level of challenge.

Visually, Tannenberg is quite stunning in spite of being an indie release. There’s also a great attention to detail and you can tell the developers have studied the era along with its various uniforms and weaponry. To put it simply, everything looks and feels authentic.

Overall, Tannenberg is a highly tactical and slower-paced FPS that is both thrilling to play and highly atmospheric. Anyone interested in war history, especially World War 1, should definitely check this little gem out.

SCORE: 82%

Tannenberg has some pretty good looking graphics that make its FPS gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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