From: Philadelphia PA
The Matrix edition is improved as I think Eric and Sean have already pointed out in other threads. I was a beta tester for this game (Matrix Edition) and I agree with rosseau's general comments about the version he played and would point out that the Matrix version an improvement over the original. Maps are huge and it takes some time to complete each mission.
Here are some points based on my experience:
In the game you capture locations on the map to gain access to reinforcements, supplies, special units, etc. There is no base building. You start with a fixed amount of troops, armor, light armor/anti air, air assets, artillery and anti tank and recon units. Your mission is to take map points and you decide what to take first - want more tanks? Look as see what taking the outpost down the road will get you access to!
This is more a beer and pretzel game, but....BUT....tactics do matter here. You can do para drops to hold a forward position and then use your main forces to spearhead a breakthrough to para to relieve them. The intent of this game is not to be a grognard's dream, but it does lend itself to more strategy than your typical rts. If you do a zerg rush (hope that makes sense and I do not date myself), you will waste troops, air assets, and armor, and it IS possible for your offensive to run itself dry asset wise - so you need to plan and not rush it.
Supply is modeled roughly in this game. Units supply themselves from central points on the map - these points - usually cities - are supply and fuel hubs. You decide how much fuel or supply to send to these locations and then trucks depart the base of origin in an attempt to resupply where you tell them to. If you do not secure the roads leading to your target for the base you want to supply - the AI will destroy your convoy or attempt to cut your supply off. The effect on your troops is that the run out of fuel and ammo - meaning that they cannot draw new supply after combat, which in turn reduces thier effectiveness. It is a simple model, but it adds fun to the game and makes you think about how secure your transit lines are.
The AI is a combination of scripted and tactical AI. Scripted events occur as triggers in the game. No big deal. Sometimes they mean that you get reinforcements (like brittish units) that you cannot control or some that will drive to thier destination and then you get to use them. You may be asked to protect them on the way as they engage the enemy. Some scripted events mean a german counter offensive, most of which are german infantry of varied sorts with armor, and occasional air support hitting a defined point in your area of the map. Forward or back behind your lines. The AI understands the use of artillery and anti tank assests. It knows not to attack with unsupported tanks and it knows how to destroy your tanks and infantry. Charging trenchlines with infantry unsupported by artillery and tanks is a sure way to lose them. Strategically the AI does seem to be adequate. It responds to your attack and reacts, mostly in an appropriate manner. It is not perfect, but it is fun.
Graphics - for this title the graphics are quite nice. Units have a great deal of detail and the models look authentic to the eye. Infantry are animated well, and when they die, they lay on the field as do wrecks of vehicles and planes. War is a messy business and the battlefield has wrecks to show for it. Most remain throughout the mission
Things I thought were cool? Paratroop drops....use aircover! The germans have fighters and know how to use them. Artillery - both called in from off map (nice explosions) and your unit based - these are king on the battlefield and you need to protect them. Assault - its fun to collect light and heavy tanks, troops on trucks, trucks towing guns, and plan your offensive the map makes a difference here....did I mention engineers and minefields? You will make good use of minefields to stall the enemy.
Overall it was a fun beta for me. This is beer and pretzels, and it is meant to be fun. I think it is priced well and it is not a game you will complete in a night. Matrix has improved it over its original offering. Let me know if I can offer any help.