Dai Senryaku VII – Game Review (PC)
A challenger to the strategy throne.
I had assumed it might take years for a game to challenge the firm grip THQ’s Full Spectrum Warrior had on the Xbox strategy crown. I was wrong; the challenger is here. Dai Senryaku VII offers in-depth warfighting strategy that rivals the best I’ve seen on console or PC.
Published by Kemco, Dai Senryaku simulates modern warfare with a 3-D strategic perspective. Gamers control hundreds of authentic units comprised of tanks, attack helicopters, infantry fighting vehicles, airplanes, infantry, anti-aircraft weapons and ships. In all, there are units from eight major combatants: Japan, the United States, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Israel and China. Hence, you can have fun making short work of a few ancient Chinese T-59s with your M1A1 Abrams. But watch out – you will have a harder time fighting the more modern Russian T-80s! There are numerous stand-alone scenarios as well as a map editor for creating your own action. In addition, you can even unlock new units such as the AH-1W Super Cobra Attack Helicopter.
Dai Senryaku VII feels a bit like the venerable classic Panzer General. It is a turn-based game in which you can choose to challenge the artificial intelligence or square off against up to three other players in the multiplayer mode (although there is no online capability).
When playing, you will move and fight only one unit at a time, so it is important to wear down and eliminate a targeted enemy unit with a powerful succession of attacks. Your units’ strengths and weaknesses simulate real-life capabilities and methods of employment; for instance, you can only attack what you can see. Since recon units can see the farthest, it is crucial to keep them at the tip of the spear where they can scout for the enemy. Once they have located him, you can weaken him with artillery and then destroy him with your main battle tanks.
|While some of the game’s vehicles appear in pink and blue, others – such as the one in this screen’s left-hand panel – are painted more realistically.||A number of parameters define each combat system. The simulation is a great learning tool.|
Dai Senryaku VII comes with a huge campaign game that introduces players to the mechanics at a manageable pace. Tutorials and a 52-page user manual are included for those who have a tough time grasping the concepts. That said, the interface is as fluid as a complex game can be. You select with a tap of the controller button, pick the action with another, and then flip the cursor to a target and execute. You can zoom the camera or rotate and tilt it to suit your fancy or your strategic needs. When combat is joined, the game zooms in to the units firing on each other in representative terrain – another throwback to Panzer General.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Dai Senryaku – and modern warfare in general – is intelligence. You cannot kill what you cannot see, and nowhere is that more evident than on this game’s battlefield. But use your reconnaissance assets wisely; they are finders, not fighters. You should never move them outside their detection range because they could run into an ambush and suffer serious casualties. Instead, move them cautiously and then call in artillery or air to attack any enemy units they detect. Afterward, advance your direct-fire weapons such as tanks, tank destroyers and infantry to mop up.
|A confrontation between East and West. Here, we see Abrams tanks squaring off against Russian T-80s.||Some Bradley Fighting Vehicles take it on the chin. The tactical combat screen adds a bit of interest to the action.|
It is important to utilize the appropriate units for any given task. For instance, not all units have the ability to capture cities. The two units that do it best are infantry and infantry fighting vehicles. The infantry has the added capability of moving to capture. In other words, you can move to a new city and capture it in the same turn. Therefore, you should always include some infantry in your battle groups.
It is essential that you keep your units supplied. Make it a habit to rotate them out of the front line and back to supply points before they run out of ammo. When your valuable reserves of fuel and ammunition are depleted, you can replenish them in a friendly city or with your fuel tanker. However, make sure you maximize the fuel tanker’s worth. Any ground unit adjacent to it will be refueled and restocked with ammunition, so you should load up all six adjacent hexes at once.
Protecting your units from enemy aircraft is imperative since they can seriously attrit your forces. While most ground units have a limited ability to engage helicopters and attack aircraft, doing so is tremendously inefficient. For example, 10 of the T-80 tanks might be able to down one Apache gunship, but the Apache’s counterattack will take out four to six of the T-80s. You will never win fighting that way. Instead, keep special anti-aircraft units such as interceptors or dedicated anti-aircraft vehicles nearby to deal with enemy airpower.
Dai Senryaku is a complex yet rewarding game. Its combination of true-to-life tactics, huge unit inventory and lengthy campaign makes it a fitting challenger to the Xbox strategy throne.
Released February 2005
Rated E for Everyone, Violence
Developed by Kemco
Published by Kemco
MSRP approximately $20
Originally published in the September 2005 issue of Armchair General magazine.
Mark H. Walker is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. A veteran electronic entertainment/IT journalist and board game designer, he has authored or contributed to over 40 books and recently designed the critically acclaimed board wargame "Lock ‘n Load."