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Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 Review

Combat Mission: Shock Force 2

Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 represents a 1:1 modeled war between Western allies and Syrian forces a little over a decade ago. This is a hypothetical conflict, mind you, or else you’d have read about it, right? Right off the bat I’ll just mention that the game and all of its modules are pretty pricy, but that won’t stop wargamers who have been fans of Battlefront’s games—hopefully the initial investment won’t dissuade would-be neophytes of the franchise.

Included with the base game is a ton of juicy wargaming content. Even though only the US forces and Syrian forces are represented, each has a relatively vast array of weapons, equipment, and personnel at their disposal. You’ve got everything from heavy and light armor assets, civilian vehicles (some with big boom-boom guns and some lined with explosive devices, and a whole slew of air and artillery assets that each side can call in.

Combat Mission Shock Force 2 is available for pre-order | Wargamer

It also includes twenty battle scenarios, along with a separate campaign packed with additional conflicts. But don’t worry, there’s a full-on campaign that acts as a tutorial that you can dive into first. There’s also a battle creation mode along with a scenario editor if you’re the creative type. You can scale each battle to be as big or small as you’d like—from brigade-sized engagements all the way down to platoon level.

Launching with the base game are three DLC packs (or modules as they’re called here) that vastly expand the level of content.

First up is the Combat Mission Shock Force 2: Marines, which is described as follows:

“CMSF2 Marines Module introduces the elite United States Marine Corps to the fictional 2008 Syrian setting. Syrian Airborne forces, armed with some of the latest Russian equipment, also make their debut. Accordingly, this module adds a significant number of new formations, units, weapons, equipment and vehicles for both the US and Syrian sides, as well as brand new missions, maps and a campaign.”

Next up is Combat Mission Shock Force 2: British Forces:

“The full range of British heavy and light forces are included. That means all new weaponry, from the new version of the L85A2 rifle to the Challenger 2, are all portrayed in Combat Mission’s usual fine level of detail. As a bonus feature the US Army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Team formations and equipment are also included, which rounds out the US Army force types.”

And finally (as if that weren’t enough), there’s the Combat Mission Shock Force 2: NATO Forces module:

“Now you have a chance to play with the forces of three additional NATO countries; Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands. Each force is truly unique, not only from each other but from all other forces available in Combat Mission. Tactics and even strategies need to be adjusted to take into consideration the differences in organization, equipment, and intended uses.

A wide range of light, medium, and heavy forces are now at your fingertips. Additionally some new, much requested, units and vehicles (and air support!) are now available for the Syrian side. The challenges are readily experienced with the three campaigns (one of each new nation), 24 standalone scenarios, and numerous Quick Battle maps.”

That’s a ton of additional content no matter how you slice it. And since the first Combat Mission: Shock Force game had a very active modding community, you can expect that to cross over to this latest title. The original mods included new graphical touches to emulate modern Middle-Eastern conflicts, a huge variety of combat scenarios, and a wide range of additional campaigns to try out.

Combat Mission Shock Force 2 : premières images | Gazette du wargamer

There are five different difficulty levels in Combat Mission: Shock Force 2’s solo play mode. You can choose between pausable real-time and turn-based modes. I’ve discovered that although real-time mode is more exciting since everything is moving as you watch it unfold in real-time, for larger battles I’d often use turn-based in order to keep track of everything, especially when chaos breaks out and you’re trying to get a handle on the situation.

Combat Mission: Shock Force 2’s visuals are decent if a little dated. But they give the game a sort of gritty appeal that harkens back to the hardcore wargames of the 90s. I’m not saying that they look quite that old, but they give you that same vibe back when developers created games chiefly for fun and content as opposed to pretty graphics.

The Civil War is back on the menu, boys! - Combat Mission Shock Force 2 - Community

I’d say that if you’re into hardcore wargames that realistically portray modern warfare, do yourself a favor and grab Combat Mission: Shock Force 2.

SCORE: 86%

Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 has some pretty good looking graphics that make its wargame gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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