Steel Beasts Pro Personal Edition – Game Review (PC)
The sound plain rocks. The original Steel Beasts had excellent sound and this one keeps that standard. The sound in this game fleshes out the tanking experience, and actually being able to count flash to bang still leaves me dumbfounded. Units report in with military precision when hitting waypoints, turrets whine, and your turret commander (TC) makes an awful noise when he gets wounded. There were initially some complaints about sound glitches, but as is eSim’s habit they quickly released a patch to correct this.
|All sights are modeled. Notice the HE splashes?||Even the Commander’s display in this Leopard is realistic.|
The mission and map editors aren’t bad, but with the amount of map areas that come with the game you shouldn’t run out of battlespace anytime soon. If you’ve created maps or scenarios in other games, this will be no challenge to you. After reading the tutorials and doing a bit of research on the web I managed to crank out a rudimentary custom mission with relative ease. A neat feature I ran across in the documentation directory is a direct link to a certain web based image mapping program that allows you to compare SBPE’s maps with the satellite imagery of those areas. Everywhere you turn in this game you get little bells and whistles.
In single player the AI is challenging, and will prove itself either more or less challenging based on your gunnery scores. Even on easy the AI will give you a run for your money, and the only thing I noticed wrong with it was my knuckle headed TC yelling at me to engage a tank masked behind a building. As I sat there wondering if my computer was stuck in a loop, all of a sudden the driver pulled us back for a clear shot (this seems to happen more often than not). Lacking the network horsepower of the full blown military edition, SBPE nonetheless shines in online play. I linked up in a couple of head-to-head scenarios with an acquaintance and quickly rediscovered the joys of commanding a task force against another player in a realistic military setting. Although there is no voice-over-IP support ingame, the alternative voice communications software available for free out there makes that a moot point.
|You can run, but you can’t hide. TOW shot from a Bradley.||I knew I hit that tank center mass. Part of the AAR screen.|
There’s so much that could be written about this game I could take this review on for pages and pages. Steel Beasts Professional Personal Edition has so many little intricacies that make it shine as a great example of tank sims. Now let me dust off my Stetson and get back to playing… 73 Easting, here I come!
Armchair General’s Rating: 86%
55/60 — Gameplay
16/20 — Graphics
10/10 — Sound.
05/10 — Documentation and Technical
Pros: Nuts and bolts realism. It solidly delivers high end sim experience on average hardware.
Cons: Unorganized documentation, horrid urban environments, and the price tag.
Last Word: If you crave ultra realism the price tag is worth it. Worthy successor to Sim of the Year 2000? You bet.
Discuss Steel Beasts Pro PE on the Armchair General forums.
Donald Pence is currently a Master Sergeant with over 22 years of active duty in the United States Army. He is a veteran of Desert Shield/Storm and OIF1, and has served as a Master Gunner for the last decade and a half.
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