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Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog

 
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Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/17/2013 10:12:51 PM   
Kanov


Posts: 199
Joined: 5/21/2012
From: México
Status: offline
Just wanted to share my experience and critique:

I don't know what it is but I feel detached from my units in this game. Is like they don't have life, something is missing I think is colors (we can't tell which team is, all things considered, apt for duty by the color of the background on their team name on the BG screen, you have to manually check every single one to see their experience and morale level so you get something of an idea of the state of the BG) or those lifeless unit icons (never really liked them on the BG screen and the strategic map), its too bleak. I hope it is not too difficult to replace them with photos, although they seem rather small on the BG to place instead a photo.

The setting doesn't impress me either to say the least, I mean an utterly disastrous German offensive? even worse than the bulge? tank heavy units and hedgerows? why?

Battle UI

Why change the in battle UI? it is beyond ugly now, can't never position it properly and it is broken: Try to put the soldier monitor at the bottom edge while selecting a small team, now select a bigger team, oops! now you can't see the soldier monitor until next battle. Also the team monitor can't go below half the screen and all of the individual monitor screens together take a good chunk of random space as opposed to a good chunk of ordered space that could be hidden all together. The unit info with all that info cramped inside is difficult to read on a whim too. I really feel claustrophobic.

The BG selection/Soldier screen.

While I like the new format to choose units, I think it is not polished yet. Steve said he had to remove some headers of parent units because some testers found it difficult to read or understand, well, try different fonts for different type of units (Biggest font for division name, smaller to platoon), different colors, indentation , parenthesis etc. While on battle I don't know which team belong to what unit, couldn't that organization be translated somehow to the battle itself? like keep the teams in order by platoon on the team monitor like in the BG selection screen, and then add headers for unit names. Or with floating strings like the names of the weapons on the BG screen. What does it matter if it takes 10% more of space anyways is like pouring water on the ocean. Even if already explained I still not understand the purpose of "empty units" in the FP just to have headers if you could instead put the teams actually inside of a parent unit for the title of the unit to appear, you know, like every other normal unit which name DOES appears.

The weapons icon look very small, I don't know if its just me though. Maybe they look smaller because everything is bigger on the BG screen (Except team images).

I can't tell on the FP selection list if the teams I'm seeing are missing members so I end up choosing every one of them just to see how they are in men, weapons, experience and morale.

Something needs to be done to address the lack of info on the BG screen. You did a tool tip for weapon names, why not add a tool tip when hovering over a team icon that display experience, morale and number of men? whatt weapons they have could be a plus.

Bring back colors indicators, this is to easy identification of able teams.

Put back the unit info on the soldier screen (already commented by squadleader). When I select a team on the soldier screen I don't know what type of team is.


Gameplay

Seems like you're not safe behind those small hedgerows now, for some reason they just hamper LOS but don't block it. Soldiers try to attack tanks with their fists if they come within 30 meters, they open fire while ambushing on enemy teams that are a couple of screens away, every german team literally every german infantry team has an MG42, Maps are way too big even for 21 teams, if you had chopped in half some of them and added more BG's then we could had a really fun game. Stacked BG's don't share units they must merge, assaults are very rare now as long range firefights with MG's are the new paradigm, on the first couple of days you'll feel like you're playing with depleted recon teams, doesn't get much better later and you at first don't know if you're missing men or what because missing members aren't shown on the BG selection screen nor the BG detail screen like before where red "KIA" heads were shown for missing members.

I find it more difficult to see the elevation now, I don't know if its because the zoom effect or what but I feel is definitely more difficult than previous versions.

Small arms are deadly, can't be safe inside a building now as you get killed by small arms some dozens of meters away.

Good stuff:

I honestly thought there were dozens of similar named teams on the team files but I was surprised when I found out that that there were mostly only two per name (i.e. two units named PzGrenadier but one has the leader and the other the NCO with slight different weapons between the teams), it has to do with the replenish rate of men by day, difficulty and by side, that gives that feel of numerous types of similar teams, meaning Americans start with mostly full manned teams and continue like that through out all the campaign while the Germans start low but may recuperate if the Amis don't kill more of them. This kind of set up opens up lots of possibilities with modding.

Every soldier's history is stored, his medals, kills progress etc you don't lose your vets if you send them to the force pool like before. Something that should have been since the begining of "strategic" CC and is probably the biggest change for me.

The maps are great visually if maybe too big.

Vehicles too they look very detailed now at 32b graphic. I hope Cathartes shares his modded vehicles soon!

The new graphics are sick! the new explosions, new trees, new textures, vehicles etc are amazing. I even noticed a new kill animation and the LMG graphic was revamped, it no longer looks like a rifle so don't need to mod it to be a MG for it to be clearly seen.

Mortars are deadly, perhaps too deadly? is like an accurate mini barrage you have there BUT they are tweaked too, they take like 20 seconds to aim to a new target and then they start their fire mission of about 6 rounds which means that movement is encouraged since if you stay in one spot, mortars can zero in and kill a team with out effort. Once they finish their fire mission they "remember" that spot, if you order them to aim again on the same spot, they take 0 seconds to aim.

The modding potential is there, it seems lots of stuff are open for us to toy with.

Unknown things

-I still don't understand the reinforce ratios. Only men on a team are affected or whole teams inside platoons too? I mean only dead soldiers get replaced or whole killed teams too?
Post #: 1
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/18/2013 8:54:12 AM   
STIENER

 

Posts: 534
Joined: 1/7/2001
From: gibsons b.c. canada
Status: offline
WOW Kanov, its like you read my mind i share your feelings and ALL of your observations. i too am having a hard time getting used to PITF...some stuff is Great other stuff is...well wrong....

as with all of your observations above, ill add a couple of other things too......the vehicle graphics arent bad ...not great..but the yank sherman is awefull ...it looks like a greeen lump

i also think that there is a real lack of support weapons AND the ability to get them. let me rephrase that...there is no lack of support weapons but the ability to get them is just not historical IMO.
right now in the bigger BG's you can get 4 support weapons....as an example: in most cases your going to take 4 tanks instead of 2 tanks and 2 zooks...why wouldnt you take 4 tanks? why take a zook when a tank is availible? the rest of your BG...two platoons, is made up of all inf with rifles and MG's. thats it.. no intigrated support weapons of any type. so were playing with a bunch of inf and 4 support weapons which usually ends up being tanks until you run out.
IMO, the inf platoons should have some intigrated support weapons built into some squads [ ex; zooks, shreaks and HMG's ] and still be able to get there 4 other support weapons in the support platoon...the tanks or mortors or a/t guns.
to me the FP selections just are not historical.....not enough variations to get the equipment that was being used at this stage of the war.

im also finding that maps appear washed out color wise.....there not as crisp and clear as i would have thought in the new game engine.

i dont like the fact the u cant share squads with a stacked BG....in LSA thats the cats ass.....
how the stacked BG;s moved and supported each other in LSA should have been carried over to PITF....the concept isnt that hard to grasp!

navigating the strat map is very cumbersome IMO.....what was wrong with the old way?? getting the curser to the edge of the strat map to get it to scroll is painfull.

id like to see some overall improvements in an upcoming patch.

(in reply to Kanov)
Post #: 2
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/18/2013 11:29:14 AM   
squadleader_id


Posts: 302
Joined: 10/29/2006
Status: offline
Nice observations, Guys!
I've only played the game about 4 weeks after the release date...loved the new effects and explosions.
Other than that haven't really played extensively.
Looking forward to Cathartes' spit and polish mod...and also maybe add my own stuff for the graphic glitches.

(in reply to STIENER)
Post #: 3
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/18/2013 10:33:44 PM   
STIENER

 

Posts: 534
Joined: 1/7/2001
From: gibsons b.c. canada
Status: offline
oh ya i forgot.......again as in LSA ...tanks and guns cant literally hit the broad side of a barn. its kinda ridiculous. and smoke rds is another...they also dont go any where near where you want them 60% of the time even with direct LOS.
its CLOSE combat........ranges are short realistically speaking. a tank should be able to hit a building at 500 yards every rd with direct LOS.

can we tune this up please??

(in reply to squadleader_id)
Post #: 4
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/28/2013 7:04:40 PM   
slbm

 

Posts: 6
Joined: 3/4/2007
Status: offline
For me it's by far the best CC ever, although it does have its share of problems.

So what I like:

1. New team selection rules. They are much more realistic. And this new method has a numer of important consequences. First of all player needs to accept the fact that the real-life units can be mixed bags of what you need and what you don't need in a particular tactical situation. But sometimes life is just hard and you simply can't have 10 AT guns with two squads of infantry. Second challenge is that losing teams is now much less desirable than ever. If you lose a team, you will either have to replace whole platoon (possibly getting rid of your precious veterans) or accept diminished forces. The historical "feeling" is further improved by some teams being depleted and uneven replenishment speed. And finally no statistics are lost, this is excellent.

2. Mortar mechanics. We can argue of course if mortar lethality is not exaggerated, but the mechanics with the time needed for a mortar to register on its target is a fantastic upgrade. In older CC's mortars could be an effective way of stopping any infantry assault dead in its tracks the moment you see it - not anymore. Good!

3. Unidentified enemy teams being marked on map. We know something is there, but don't know what it is. Very realistic.

4. Ability to conceal an AT gun behind a hedge. Maybe infantry should not be able to fire through hedges so freely, but it should certainly be possible to conceal a gun in/behind one.

5. It's kind of obvious, but the new graphics are cool. Especially explosions.

6. Strategic interdiction. I did not play too much with it yet (I play mostly Germans - always try to play new CC with the army on the offensive first, for obvious AI-related reasons), but the concept is welcome.

7. Ability to carry infantry and tow guns around. I don't use it much (as a truck usually takes a precious slot), but sometimes, especially in meeting engagements where the deployment zone is very limited, it can really make a difference. Same with transporting troops - in a meeting engagement you can actually deploy much faster, and also when defending shuffle reserves a bit.

8. I have a feeling that presence of commanders became more important (as there are fewer NCOs in teams). Not sure if it's just a feeling or if it is really so, but my experience shows that one needs to be much more careful in tracking senior NCOs and officers.


What I do not like so much:

1. Lack of ability to draw teams from two battlegroups. Now, with the platoon system, it would make even more sense than in LSA. Just take one platoon from an infantry regiment, another from armoured regiment. Or two platoons attacking from two directions. A pity that this great addition in LSA was discontinued.

2. MG42s. As mentioned by Kanov there are too many of those. I did not have time to check with actual German tables of organization & equipment, but one per squad seems too much. And what is certainly unrealistic is that no matter how depleted the squad is, it always manages to retain its MG42. No matter if it is just two men left, the MG42 is always there. It is never lost, it is never destroyed in combat, it never breaks down. For the sake of realism at least some depleted squads should not have their machine guns anymore.

3. I don't have a problem with the new interface (although I did like the previous better, but maybe just a matter of getting used to the new one), but color-coding of teams' condition is really missing.

4. Accuracy of tank fire as noted by STIENER above. I know that it should be hard to hit infantry on a flat ground from a distance of 100+ metres, and tank's gun should miss a lot in such a situation. But certainly this should not apply to hitting a building, unless a target is at the very corner.

What could be further improved:

1. I believe that the player has still too much knowledge of the enemy. Particularly unrealistic is instant knowledge that entire enemy team has been finished. How would actual soldiers know that? How would I know that after killing five guys hiding in a building I will not encounter one more in the next room? Not being able to tell that entire team has been wiped out (and not being able to identify a KIA team) would greatly add to playing difficulty.

This shortcoming is especially easy to abuse when engaging infantry with tanks, especially with the new platoon system, where the number of infantry AT teams is naturally limited. If I can see that I've wiped out entire Bazooka team, I can safely assume that no other threats for my tanks are nearby (unless the opponent stacked those teams together, which in most cases is unlikely). But if I could not tell that if an AT team has been elimitaed (only guess by the fact if it's still firing or not) I'd have to be much more careful - and this would be more realistic. I think that KIA soldiers should actually not be visible at long distances at all, at least unless they are well in view of friendly forces.

2. Similar issue is related to enemy morale. I don't think that player should be able to have detailed knowledge about that.

(in reply to STIENER)
Post #: 5
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/28/2013 11:10:41 PM   
Bel8910

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 4/28/2013
Status: offline
Kanov...to address one of your issues of being "disconnected" and not liking the BG icons...made my own; some of them are not historical for the PITF scenario, but for a mod of my own.




Attachment (1)

(in reply to Kanov)
Post #: 6
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/28/2013 11:18:03 PM   
Bel8910

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 4/28/2013
Status: offline
Here is my two cents worth on PITF: I am using a 1-5 scale and will break it down into a few categories listing what I like/dislike about the game. First, an obvious statement: I originally bought the game because I have every other game in the series (except the service specific games: CCAT and CC: Regmt).

Graphics: 5 of 5. The teams at Matrix/Siltherine really did a great job with the 3d graphics. The burning vehicles, the obvious misses and not to mention the terrain! The forests are so real I have lost a squad of men in them before and didn't know where I had lost them until they were ambushing/coming under fire! Great job! Fighting at night, fighting in the fog, all great ideas! And I really like being able to mount not only my men, but my artillery as well- and I do it often just to move them around tactically.

Originality: 2 of 5. Ok, this is definitely a subjective score. Why did we re-visit Normandy (albeit further inland/later in the campaign)? What about North Africa/Sicily/Italy? Imagine, an inexperienced American battle group going up against seasoned veterans...learning the trade of war...but with dynamic leaders like Patton. Or how about the ever elusive Korean War? Sherman's against T-34's...imagine the terrain possibilities: rocky hills, to snow covered plateaus to rice paddies!

Mod-ability 1: 2.5. This is a split score: 2.5 for the game and 2.5 for me. This goes mainly back to the awesome graphics. With some trial and error I have learned to work with the 32-bit graphics, but not always to my satisfaction. So, the 2.5 goes to me for either not having the knowledge/skill/programs to work with 32-bit graphics.

Mod-ability 2: I enjoy working with the new force pools/unit structures. The attention to detail in building accurate TOEs is obvious and kudos to the M/S team for taking the time to figure it out! I like working with the new data sheets and building new, accurate teams.


My last disappointment with the game. And again, a personal one. I enjoy the CCMT series of games (Marines, Road to Baghdad, etc) and if the M/S team were to ever take CCMT and combine it with a strategic level game like CCV I don't think I would ever stop playing it! One thing I liked about CCMT is the different team positions: Company Cmdr, XO, Plat Ldr, Plt Sgt, RTO, Squad Ldr, etc. I realize that having a "BAR Auto Rifleman" will not change game play, but it was one of those realistic, detailed items I liked. In WWII they still had PltLdrs, PltSgts, Co. XO's etc. Why did the M/S team settle for the old "Leader, Assistant Leader, Basic, Sniper" positions instead of the 32 positions of CCMT?

To wrap it up- I am glad I bought the game to add to my collection, to play and to give me something new to mod. Overall, taking the game as it stands, I give it a 4.0. Great job Matrix/Silterine developers.

Now when will you develop a game with modern equipment and strategic maps? Things are heating up in North Korea...imagine an American Armored Brigade going against an artillery-heavy North Korean Motorized Division?! Keep up the good work!

(in reply to Bel8910)
Post #: 7
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/29/2013 5:13:32 AM   
STIENER

 

Posts: 534
Joined: 1/7/2001
From: gibsons b.c. canada
Status: offline
can you put a gun IN a hedge in PITF?? i havent been able to. behind a hedge ..yes....with limited field of fire.
in normandy the ability to dig the guns into the large hedge rows was a huge defensive benifit. you had a larger field of fire too.

(in reply to Bel8910)
Post #: 8
RE: Review/Critcisms of Close Combat: Panther in the Fog - 4/29/2013 5:03:37 PM   
Kanov


Posts: 199
Joined: 5/21/2012
From: México
Status: offline
Those look sweet Bel, I would like to have the time and knowledge to mod for PiTF some from CC5 mods, specially those great BG and team icons from GJS.

(in reply to STIENER)
Post #: 9
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