2022 WWIII Video Game Final Four: Blue/Gold Bracket

And then there were four. Crunch time has arrived and there are just four games remaining. Interestingly enough, four #1 seeds. Two land-based games squaring off against two sea/air-based games. All four are classics and I challenge anyone who thinks otherwise to a duel. 😊  The scoring for the final three matches will be different from what it was in previous rounds. Five categories have been created: Learning Curve, Playability, Replayability, Realism and finally, Scenario Editor. This last one is the wild card, so to speak. Many wargamers love creating their own scenarios and if a title is lacking in this particular area, the hardcore wargamer will walk away without a second thought.

2022 WWIII Video Game Tournament Final Four-Gold/Blue Bracket

Gold # 1 Steel Panthers MBT vs Blue #1 Harpoon

One dominates the seas and skies while the other owns the land. If you are a diehard wargamer and do not own both of these games….you’re doing something wrong. 😊 But enough of that. Let’s jump in.

Learning Curve– Harpoon is not a simple game to master by any stretch of the imagination. The fact it plays out in real time makes learning the game that much more difficult. SPMBT, on the other hand, is a turn-based game, giving players wide margins during the learning process. This gives Steel Panthers the edge. 

Winner: Steel Panthers MBT

Playability– Razor thin difference here. Both titles are very playable once the basics have been learned. The factor that separates Harpoon and SPMBT is the time compression feature in the former game. This smooths out the gameplay immeasurably. Meanwhile, over in SPMBT players are forced to go through extended, sometimes sluggish game turns. Tolerable when the action is heavy, its can be downright painful during quieter moments in gameplay.

Winner: Harpoon

Replayability– Harpoon and SPMBT can both be played until the cows come home. This category is a wash.

Winner: Tie

Realism– Same as above. Each title packs in as much realism as you’d expect. From weapons to platforms to combat models, SPMBT and Harpoon set the bar.

Winner: Tie

Scenario Editor– I love that it comes down to which game has the better scenario editor. This category was decided by the thinnest of margins. Each game has a robust scenario editor supported by extensive databases. However, when it comes to creating a scenario, Harpoon’s design mechanics are polished and smooth. SPMBT’s are still somewhat clunky in certain regards. Not a major handicap, but enough to prevent it from advancing.

Winner: Harpoon

Final Category Score: Harpoon 2 SPMBT 1. Harpoon moves on to the championship round.

Author’s Note: Second Final Four bracket will be tomorrow, followed by the championship game on Monday. Expect a blog post either tomorrow or Monday as well.

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