But Battlefront.com / Big Time Software, the developer, is not resting on its laurels, and this follow-up boasts a host of enhancements and additions which will reaffirm its position as one of the world’s leading strategy games.
Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin spans a four-year period, from June 1941 to May 1945 and features over 50 realistic skirmishes and battles lifted direct from World War 2.
Fans of the original will notice an immediate improvement. The display engine has been radically improved to offer a much higher screen resolution, enabling the developers to pack more information on-screen. Players can now tell at a glance what kind of capability the units have, allowing for a much more tactical game as ambushes, attacks and individual strikes are planned with far greater accuracy.
Over 900 different units appear throughout the campaign, each extensively researched and based on their real-life counterparts. Even individuals within vehicles are accurately modeled – for example, in certain missions the makeshift Russian army must be defeated. And whilst the volume of troops makes the mission daunting, at that stage in the campaign the bulk of the army comprised enlisted farmers – strong, yet ultimately unskilled in the art of war.
Vehicles react as they did in real-life and players will need to employ strategies devised at the heart of World War 2. For example, the Panther tank is a powerful tank with heavy-duty armour. But the engineers who designed it anticipated attack from the front – leaving it susceptible to a sneaky strike from the rear. Virtual commanders will need to emulate the heroes of World War 2 if they are to successfully defeat the enemy threat.
The interface has been improved to offer a comprehensive set of options with which to formulate a plan. The clever use of a hybrid turn-based/real-time combat system allows players to adopt a vast range of strategies – essential for staying ahead of the enemy. And when players consider that gloriously-realised weather effects can hinder or help each tactician, this strategic freedom will prove invaluable.
Combat Mission’s immense online community is catered for admirably. The strength of the game is the ease with which players can create their own maps and modifications – and the improved mission and scenario editor make this easier than ever. Players across the world can effortlessly share their own missions, making Combat Mission 2 infinitely replayable.
So whether players are Combat Mission virgins or seasoned-campaigners, Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin offers an involved yet accessible blast, recreating the four turbulent years of the last World War.
Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin will be published throughout Europe by CDV Software Entertainment at the end of September, priced £tba.
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