I didn't buy GG's version of the war in the east, but I love his games. I don't think this is very much the same cupcake.
True, those games focused more on the nuts and bolts down to the squad level, which was too much. However, Barbarossa played pretty well and the Panzer breakthroughs and subsequent stop at the Dnepr are well simulated, not overly challenging. I think it will come down to me playing it and seeing for myself how morale is modified, etc., once the initial first turn modifiers wear off. I am seeing some complaints, so I'll hold off a bit and see what others think and whether there will be a patch.
The Air can play two roles. Tactical is when you say assign a PG or Army Group Tactical Air Support which gives combat bonuses. You must also have Airbases near..things will effect their ability like how much fuel you allocate them and I'm pretty sure your relationship with Goring. Each Army Group, North, Middle and South all get one group that receive air focus. I assign it to my Panzers to help give them extra power.
The same goes for Artillery and other options to further power or burden your assault.
I like the sound of that. Concentrate on Army level decisions and not get lost in the weeds too much.
I am not sure how I feel about the Air being abstract more or less. Some games make WW2 airpower over kill.
I haven't played many games where airpower is "over kill". Usually, it is underwhelming. I can understand that there is "too much control", as there was not very good air to ground communications at the time, but airpower was the best way to wipe out tank concentrations and interdict roads/railroads to a huge degree. The DC engine was pitiful in simulating air to ground support. You were lucky if you killed a few tanks over the course of a game with your airpower assets - as the Germans!
The full strength Red Army Units and the power of them I don't know much about. The way the game is made, you don't see much resistance until around the 8th week. You have to be clever enough in that time to find a way around the retreating forces. I have pocketed 500k say in that period. Killed off the rest.. I would say that you require a little more clever skill than my own to beat that. I looked at Historical German Losses in the months of opening Barbarossa and mine were much much lower pointing to the fact I think the Germans could have an option for more aggression at a cost. This would allow for larger pockets.
I think this could have been very easily done. The trick will be to see on Action Point useage by the Panzers to form those pockets and hold them in the first few weeks.
Thanks for your comments.