The computer games series "Combat Mission" has received much acclaim from the gaming community for its simulations of tactical battles. Its fans span the globe and "Combat Mission: Shock Force" is described as the pinnacle of the series where the developers have poured years of experience into the game and its entirely new engine.
This tactical military simulation depicts a hypothetical near future conflict between NATO and Syrian forces in Syria.A highly story driven semi-dynamic Campaign, from the US perspective, offers a completely new experience for "Combat Mission" fans. Each battle include a detailed Mission Briefing outlining specific Objectives, which can range from taking a particular spot on the map to retaining force cohesion. The Objectives for each side can be different, allowing each side to fight according to its own goals rather than a single set common to both.
The editor is an extremely powerful tool with a wide range of options to create 3D maps from scratch, set and mix various types of asymmetrical goals, create entire linked campaigns and even program the entire computer opponent AI.
The Map editor gives gamers a unique chance to create 3D topographical maps from scratch and create anything from cities to mountains, forests, deserts and more.
The Objectives scripting allows players to script each mission objectives in a way never before possible in a wargame. Instead of simply chasing for flags or killing units for points, the following can be set:
- Territorial objectives, with varied point values, set to Touch, Occupy, Destroy or Preserve, Known to one side or both or neither!
- Unit objectives, with varied point values, set to Spot (you get points for identifying the enemy, not for killing it), Destroy, Damage; known to one side, both, or neither
- Parameters: for each individual side the amount of points it gets for causing or avoiding casualties can be set along with preserving ammo, keeping cohesion etc.
By mixing these different options players can create unique missions with unique goals, these can even be different for each side in the same scenario.
The player can create regular one-off scenarios but also entire fully scripted campaigns like the main Syrian campaign, create a short series of battles, or a long drawn out war, tracking units from BOTH (!) sides as they return to fight several times against each other, set variables for refitting, repair, replacements and so forth.
A wargamer favorite is the ability to script the AI and customize it for each individual battle and scenario. The scenario designer can create several plans for the AI opponent to follow so that the player will never know what expects him, and can set waypoints, behavior and other parameters for the AI to follow.
Even though Combat Mission Shock Force is focusing on a future hypothetical conventional war, it would not be complete without the inclusion of some basic elements of unconventional warfare. It is an unfortunate fact that the lines between conventional and unconventional warfare are blurring today. Partly due to the strength of the western forces in the area of conventional warfare, unconventional methods are more and more the big equalizer for the opposing force.
As game designers the challenge for us is to add the various elements of unconventional warfare, such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or spies, in a realistic way, while preventing them from unbalancing the rest of the simulation. The imbalance could swing either way – if not powerful enough, unconventional elements might be a mere nuisance, only adding micromanagement for both players without any real purpose. If too powerful, players might be tempted to overuse unconventional tactics, thus pushing the limits on what the game is designed to simulate.And that is a conventional warfare setting with an unconventional component, not the other way around.
Combat Mission: Shock Force is scheduled to ship to stores July 27, 2007 with a simultaneous release on Gamer's Gate and will retail for $39.99/€39.99.
More articles about Combat Mission: Shock Force