From: Chilliwack, British Columbia
I guess that the graphics could always use an upgrade, but have not found this to be the "make it or break it" feature of PCO. I like the open ended timeline as you have pointed out, and I too, think that the AI does quite a decent job of putting up a fight. It is the scale that seems to be where PCO falls short. Not that there is a correct scale to be able to have a successfull game but PCO seems to fall into no-mans land with reguard to scale. PCO allows you to micro manage all of your units but does not give the player enough information to do so effectively. You should be able to look at the squad and know from one second to the next what is going on during the turn playback. If a squad has 10 men in it we should see 10 men, as it takes losses the number of men on screen should be removed to represent the step losses. If the squad is taking morale checks, then maybe slow down or stop the squads movement and give the player a graphic of the squad taking cover or cowering in cover. A mouse over ammunition bar would be nice. More, or better tracers to see what squads are shooting at. I know that there are the icons at the side that I can use to tell the condition of the squads, but I want to see it in the action. It is this in and out thing that you have to do that loses me, you watch the action unfold on the screen but you have to stop and look at some icons away from the action t really know what is going on. I think that if the scale was moved out one notch, these things would not have been such an issue. What would be wrong with giving an order to a platoon HQ unit and then having the AI map out the actions for the squads that make up the platoon. The waypoint/movement system could stay the same, maybe even get more streamlined as you would only plot for the Commanding HQ and the rest could be done by the AI that could operate under same selectable operating proceedures such as "speed over cover" when moving, or "take best cover and return fire if fired upon" for example. It would be more of a commander's type game instead of another Close Combat or Combat Mission type game. At platoon level you could still look in and see the action but would not be micro managing the whole battle. I do not think that 1to1 infantry is the way to go, why not plow new ground? Name another platoon level game out there. There seems to be a big gap between the squad level of CC and CM and the battalion level of other games out there, but there is a hole that PC could take advantage of. Panzer War is a great set of rules and I would love to see them used to their potential. The tank battles in PCO always felt good, infantry not so much. PCO let you play at the squad level but did not really allow you to do it effectively.