Preview - Perfect General II (DOS, 1994)

When you've got something good, keep it and make it better. That's the path QQP seems to be following after receiving plenty of well-deserved acclaim for the original Perfect General. Unlike most other wargames simulating World War 2 era combat, Perfect General was a unique combination of wargame and abstract strategy game. Rather than bothering with the distinctions of tank-types down to the serial number, which would have added little to gameplay and too much to player confusion, Perfect General had general classes - light tanks, mediums, heavies . . . and the strategy was much purer than most wargames. Whereas other wargames hid the mechanics of combat under piles of tables and calculations shown only in the appendix of the docs, Perfect General minimized the random element, and displayed attack options and odds clearly, creating a strategic experience that was almost chesslike. The game had imitators almost immediately, and more are on the way.

But even a Perfect General can stand improving, and now QQP has given themselves the task of making one of their best games even better, launching it into a whole new level of challenge. Perfect General 2 will keep every good thing from Perfect General, and add many more features and nice touches. Fans of the original will never go back, and newcomers will be addicted instantly.

Perfect General 2 improves on the original design in several important respects. The most immediately obvious will be the graphics - they've not just been upgraded, they've been completely redone, with drastic improvements on all levels. Perfect General 2 will be prettier to look at than its predecessor, and clearer visually. Units will be fully animated, of course, and move and fire with plenty of sound effects.

The next important addition is airpower. In Perfect General 1, artillery could dominate a scenario - if you wanted to defend from a beach landing, you could line up some artillery and absolutely liquefy any incoming forces . . . in fact, some scenarios had to be entirely scrapped due to the imbalance in artillery power, despite the fact that the historical battle had included it. What was missing were planes. Airplanes will be finally be included in Perfect General 2, and their primary role in most scenarios will most likely be artillery-busting.

Other additions will include full campaign play, machine guns that can fire on any fire phase, railroads and railroad bridges, and elephant tanks. The next step up from the heavy tank, elephant tanks are moving fortresses . . . the tradeoff is that they're VERY expensive, and SLOW.

Perfect General 2 will support a wide variety of scenarios - more than 25 of them, with additional scenario packs a possibility in the future. Many of these, of course, will take advantage of the new additions to the force-rosters, such as the Battle of Kirsk. Scenarios will range from historical island battles, the invasion of the Port of Japan, woods-skirmishes, and fictional "what-if?" battles like Hitler's invasion of Washington D.C. Immediately after the release of the game, QQP will be finishing up and releasing a scenario editor, so fans of the game can make their own maps and explore their own concepts of what the engine can do.

Gameplay in Perfect General 2 will be fundamentally identical to gameplay in Perfect General 1 - there's very little that needed ANY sort of improving there. Each turn is divided into several phases of movement and firing, plotting artillery and so on. Before you perform any action the computer will give you all sorts of information if you want it - a QQP hallmark. When it is time for a unit to attack, for instance, a display will highlight available targets. Clicking on any of those targets will give you your odds of hitting (calculated by range, cover, weapon type and so on - all the math is UNDER the engine), and the potential damage if you DO hit - whether you'll kill or merely hurt the enemy. Similar displays are available for nearly any sort of action - if you want to attempt a risky overrun attack, for instance, the computer will gladly tell you your odds of victory and survival.

Many of these developments have been in playtest for years - BEFORE Perfect General 1 was even released. Designer Bruce Williams Z. puts every game concept through its paces as an in-house paper or tabletop game before anything gets adapted to the computer, and that kind of effort and dedication to quality over flash shows through in every QQP game. Perfect General 2 looks to be no exception, and one can only wonder what OTHER features are playing right now at the QQP tabletop for future releases . . .

Play the demo for this game directly in your browser