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Combat Mission 2

October 21st, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

The news about Battlefront’s pseudo-sequel to their excellent Combat Mission World War Two games has been out for a while. It took me a little longer to decide if I was interested in it or not.

The time and place is Syria in the near future. The US intervenes when a new and threatening dictator topples the Assad government and war erupts. Battlefront says that it wants to make a game about asymmetrical warfare – a major change of pace from the my tank versus your tank battles of the WWII games. Combat Mission: Shock Force will not be Operation Iraqi Freedom redux since the Syrians will have some sort of comventional capability.

The setting doesn’t bother me that much. Though many people would have preferred a hypothetical Cold War conflict, Bruce Geryk notes that a robust editor and a good equipment list means that we will likely see modders make a US/Soviet battle before too long. You could also get a lot of Arab-Israeli conflict stuff done, I suspect.

My major concern is the whole “asymmetric warfare” angle. Battlefront says that they don’t want a US “turkey shoot” but let’s face it – today’s US Army can go toe-to-toe with any other army on earth and do better than fine. Put them up against a second-rate army like Syria and it will be over before it starts. Air power wasn’t modelled all that well in the Combat Mission games, but it’s absurd to have an opening premise in 2007 that the hills and deserts of Syria will have enemy tanks on them for very long. That leaves guerrilla strikes, gunmen popping out of houses, IEDs, house-to-house searches…Not a lot of fun. They say that urban warfare and rough terrain will be the focus, which means a lot more infantry and less armor.

The idea of a story driven campaign is more interesting since they’ve never tried this. I know that in Combat Mission I almost always generate a random scenario. Stringing battles together with rough plot points can’t make for a really compelling story. Will losses carry over from one battle to the next? Will soldiers get experience? Will there be poorly acted cutscenes?

More opinions to come as more news becomes known.


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