PC Review: Steel Fury PC Kharkov 1942

No tank is powerful enough to save this game from criticism

Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 is based on real-life events that took place from May 12th to 28th, 1942, which engaged the Red Army in the fight of their lives. During a vicious German counterattack that began on May 17th, 1942, three Soviet Armies were surrounded and were forced to fighting in what has become known as the “meat grinder.” Through the monstrous roar of tanks and military vehicles, and the blaring sounds of war, players will experience bitterness at the loss of their comrades during battle and elation when they are victorious.

Missions are based on true historical events recreated from archives and photo references, including the interiors and exteriors of vehicles and tactical markings. The player has access to vast battlefields without obstructions from impenetrable forests or other obstacles, allowing them to choose any path available to achieve victory!

Fear and Fury Filled Missions: Throughout 30 playable missions in three unique single-player campaigns, experience large scale battles with numerous active vehicles.

Vehicles: Interact with and command all units involved in the advance against the enemy, including more than 40 different realistically modelled vehicles, with three playable tanks: T-34/76 mod. 1941, Mk.II ‘Matilda’ III, and the Pz. IV Ausf. F2.

Take Full Control: In first and third person views, assume crew positions for Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver and Hull Gunner.

Realistic Game Physics: The advanced game engine allows for precise calculation of ballistics and collisions models. Objects can be destroyed and the terrain is deformable. Both player and AI controlled vehicles are subject to realistic physics.

Realistic Environments: The game engine supports dynamic lighting, featuring night-time missions and different weather conditions. The engine’s particle system allows for realistic smoke and water effects, as well as debris from explosions.

Damage Model: Everything in the path of a tank-round can be destroyed. Vehicles can damage buildings and knock down trees. Due to the advanced game engine, impacting shells create craters and trenches take damaged when tanks run over them, deforming the terrain.

Difficulty Levels: Players can adjust the level of complexity the game offers. Missions gradually raise the difficulty level by introducing more vehicles, troops and harder to achieve mission goals. Thanks to training missions, the player can easily learn how to control their tank and supporting AI troops from all crew positions.

Editors and Utilities: Players have the ability to create custom missions and make modifications. Easy-to-use editors make it possible to add new vehicles and weapons to the game.

Driving a tank in an FPS is usually fun, but dedicating a whole game to it is another thing. Sure, I know there must be an audience for it…but all the pieces need to be just right for it to work. Sadly, Steel Fury falls before it starts with horrible controls, dull visuals and the lack of difficulty.

You can tell from the outset that this game was made with a rather low budget. Each time you load a level, the screen minimizes and them maximizes again within a second or so, I’ve never seen anything like it in a PC game before. There’s also the problem that some text is so high up on the screen for some resolutions that you can’t even read it, so the tutorial is shot to bits for us with HDTV’s, why support 1920×1080 if the game can’t even fit the writing in properly? It’s just ridiculous.

Then there are the controls, which are the most confusing and annoying I have ever come across in a videogame. Maybe it’s my keyboard or something, but it takes me ages to actually even get the tank moving and for some reason the vision is stuck inside the tank and if I try to look out, the camera spans to the side of the tank and cannot go back to the original view. The problem with the inside tank view is that you can’t even see out of it, the outside view is the only way to see where you are going. I’m having some hardware problems at the time of writing, but nothing that would cause something like that to happen.

If you can somehow get past all the technical problems as I eventually did, then you’ll find the game to be a breeze. Especially when the game has cheats incorporated into the settings menu, seriously…why add it there? All the cheats like invincibility, dumb enemy AI and clever enemy AI are available to choose. Its madness when I think about it and have no idea why they decided to put that in. The game has a +16 rating on it, so it’s not like it’s an easy mode for kids, so I’m baffled.

The visuals are rather disappointing and definitely low budget. The insides of the tank looks very pixelated, the actual tank models aren’t too bad but the scenery could do with some help as it looks rather bland and dull. Sounds are very basic too and there’s very little music that the game has to offer, add in some rather bad quality voice-acting and you’ve got yourself very low marks in presentation too.

The Verdict

Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 is one disappointingly bad game. Its controls are awful, the game allows you to cheat from the main menu and has some many problems that it’s nearly impossible to recommend.