Tito's Partisans - A Passage to Zelengora
Posted on 02/15/08 @ 08:10 AM (updated 10/31/10
The battle you're about to fight was actually fought from June 5th to June 9th 1943 as an episode in the Axis offensive against Tito's Partisans, also known as the Sutjeska offensive.
In it, the 2nd Dalmatian Assault Bgde of the 2nd Proletarian Division was engaged against the German 118th Division, strengthened by the Brandenburg Regiment. The 2nd Dalmatian Bgde was a young Partisan outfit, formed in the autumn of 1942. from Croat and Serb volunteers mainly from Dalmatia. Although courageous and motivated, they lacked skill and experience of the German soldiers.
The heroism of its struggle and the greatness of its losses helped saving the Partisan main force from destruction. It must be noted, however, that the sacrifice would have been in vain if the other Partisan units - Montenegro, Serbia, Banija, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Dalmatia brigades failed - for they all fought valiantly on Sutjeska.
In the battle of Sutjeska - Partisan victory was out of the question, but defeat meant certain death.
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Review: Tito's Partisans - A Passage to Zelengora
Date: 23 March, 2010
The first thing that sticks out to the player is the date: "June 4th, 1943". This scenario, set during World War II, is one of the few scenarios with a modern setting that I have seen executed well. It doesn't come with a modpack like Wolfcastle, but the scenario is quite fun enough by itself.
The scenario depicts the battle of Sutjeska, where Yugoslav guerrilla forces, who called themselves the Partisans, are nearly surrounded and severely outnumbered by German and Italian forces. Tito, the Yugoslav leader, sends the player on a desperate mission to lead the 2nd Dalmatian Brigade to seize a path of escape to the Zelengora mountains. Fighting is continuous and intense, without respite. When you are victorious in leading the brigade to the pass, you as the player are filled with joy and satisfaction. This scenario is definitely a good way to fill in an idle hour.
To the player:
This is where this scenario shines. While the fighting is the same throughout, there are a couple of optional quests that can break up the monotony. However, this is not a weak point at all because the fighting is kept intense, with soldiers coming at your forces from all sides, keeping you on your toes. However, nothing adds to the experience of this scenario more than the sound effects. There are constant gun shots going off into the distance, and just when your are caught by a surprise attack you are thrown against your chair by machine gun fire and fearsome airplane bomb strikes.
To the designer:
There were only a few reasons that this scenario didn't get a 5 in this department. The major reason is that there wasn't anything to break up the ongoing combat. While it is definitely realistic and you feel worn down like the soldiers, adding other side missions would have made the scenario more enjoyable. Also, at the beginning with the dialogue there were some very long pauses that leave the player wondering what happens next. There were also momentary moments of lag, though that may just have been my computer.
This scenario is difficulty dynamic, and the levels are pretty well balanced. I played it on Standard and it definitely posed a challenge for me. I managed to have about 20 or 30 janissaries left, but I was starting to worry that my soldiers would die. The difficulty is hard enough that it forces the player to use terrain, unit formations, and tactics in order to gain victory, adding to the enjoyment of the scenario. I didn't test it on hard, but I imagine that it will be a great challenge for even advanced players. It is possible that the scenario will be too hard for some, but the difficulty and balance between your forces and the German/Italian forces are just about right.
This category also has high points because of the unique setting. Most battle scenarios in the Blacksmith don't take place in this time period, and this scenario should be a nice change for players. The sounds are also creative and must have involved a good amount of work to integrate them into the scenario well. This category isn't a 5 because of the unvariety of missions, but most players probably won't get overly bored with the mission. I know I didn't.
Map Design: 4
The map design, though bland, is very functional for a battle scenario, with excellent topography and realisticness. While not that many eye candy objects couldn't have been added to good effect in this scenario, this scenario could use a little bit more terrain mixing. It is almost completely grass and road. Add in some dirt, grass3, leaves, etc. This would add spice and interest to the scenario, which would obviously add to the scenario.
This scenario provides an excellent backstory and history, and a lot of work was put into providing hints to the player. However, I was unsure about exactly what I was supposed to do with my forces. I didn't know if I was supposed to protect the hills or if I should keep forging my way through the enemy forces. I was alerted by a message when I got too far into the enemy's territory, but I felt that this could be made more clear. Also, some of the timers on the chat messages seem to need fixing.
Overall, this was a pleasantly enjoyable and unique scenario. While it didn't stand out as extraordinary, it is still a fun scenario that the designer put a lot of effort and thought into. A worthy download.