Combat Mission 2
Combat Mission was a revelation in turn-based wargames. Moving away from the dry hex-based affairs that dogged the genre for many a year, the developers gave us a game that not only played superbly but also looked pretty magnificent, for a turn-based wargame anyway. Anticipation has been unbearably high for this sequel especially when details of it have been circulating for such a long while now. Of course it was a long time before the first Combat Mission made it to the shop shelves (it was available online only for a long time) but thanks to CDV the sequel is available straight away this time.
Combat Mission 2 sees the action move to the Eastern Front. Combat Mission 2 includes 60 battles and 10 operations (which contain 3-10 battles each) between the years 1941-1945, from Operation Barbarossa to the fall of Berlin. As you can see the scale of the game is enormous. In fact if you enjoyed the first game you're going to absolutely love this sequel as everything seems improved upon and refined. Take a look at our brief preview (here) to get an idea of the features of Combat Mission 2.
The game still uses the famed 'We go' turn system. This method involves you plotting all your actions for a given turn and then when you are ready you make your movements, and those of your opponent/s are carried out simultaneously. This not only adds a real time sense of suspense to the action but also adds to the realism of the battles as you have to make an educated guess as to what the enemy is going to do, much the same as in real life. The real time action (turn) is played out over 60 seconds for you to witness in all it's glory. You can rewind, pause or fast forward as well as adjust camera angel and zoom in order to fully witness all the events of the turn.
If you are new to Combat Mission then things may seem very confusing. This is one area of the game that needs serious addressing. Unlike an RTS, which is usually lightweight in comparison, Combat Mission 2 is hardcore strategy which is going to need some introducing to the player who comes to this kind of game for the first time. I myself have played turn-based strategy games for years and found the game initially overwhelming. There is no step-by-step tutorial to greet the newbie gamer. The manual is a work of art and explains all that you need to know but it does not take the place of a carefully constructed tutorial scenario. It's one thing to read an explanation of the game's terms etc. but it is another thing all together when you get to carry out the actions yourself. Maybe Combat Mission 3 will put this right.
Visually the game is an improvement upon Combat Mission. Not by much mind you but you'll notice that textures are more detailed and the detail is a little more defined. What is a big improvement though, is the style of the interface which has a more professional look about it this time.
All information in the game is in text. In fact the only verbal material in the game is the sound effects of explosions, which are very visual anyway and the comments of the soldiers as they carry out their actions. These comments are in the native tongue of the army you're controlling and don't really add anything to the game except atmosphere. As we mentioned earlier the manual is brilliant. The manual had to be smaller this time around to conform to the limited space of the DVD style packaging but it is still crammed full of vital information and is essential reading if you are to succeed at the game.
Combat Mission 2 is a worthy successor to the brilliant Combat Mission. I personally feel that it is intimidating to newcomers and desperately needs a proper tutorial to introduce them to the wonderfully deep gameplay. It is common knowledge that most people are turned off by a game that they can't grasp within the first half hour and Combat Mission 2 needs a hell of a lot longer than that before you know what you're doing.
Overall Game Rating: 8.7/10 A great sequel to Combat Mission but newcomers will find the game intimidating.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems at all. Combat Mission 2 is fine for deaf gamers.