Games of the Year

Combat Mission: Shock Force 2

Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 Screenshot 1
Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 Screenshot 2
Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 Screenshot 3
Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 Screenshot 4
Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 Screenshot 5
0
1
Edit
The latest title in the famous Combat Mission franchise of wargames, now on Steam. Shock Force 2 brings you to a hypothetical conflict in Syria between the forces of NATO and the Syrian Army. Take command of US Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT) and Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT) to fight against Syrian Army Infantry, Mechanized and Armored units in an arid setting. Experience the full range of modern threats to conventional military forces, including irregular combat forces, terrorists, spies, suicide bombers, IED's and other deadly tools employed in the asymmetric warfare of the modern day. Play the Task Force Thunder campaign, more than a dozen carefully crafted battles, or unlimited Quick Battles.
Promote for 50G

Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Outdated engine and a bit clunky BUT, it's the most authentic RTS money can buy in the civilian sphere. Played on government computers inside a secured compound as a Brigade Training Tool, I played war games while on Active Duty as a US Army Infantryman like this. This is a training tool first, entertainment second. That's the key to understanding this game and why it's priced at what it is. Governments use games like this to train Officers and NCO's in simulated warfare. I spent hours inside Bradley IFV simulation pods that used this style of war gaming but at the first person level. If you have a deep interest in real world tactics then this game will be worth the money.

Review from Steam

A Stryker under my command decided to shoot, with its 40mm grenade launcher, at a hut with both hostile and friendly infantry inside, which caused the hut to collapse and buried 4 friendly infantrymen under the rubble.
I wasn't even angry. I just quit the game and googled "court-martial".

Review from Steam

Intro:
Combat Mission is a tactical battle simulator franchise that aims to simulate real world equipment, battle doctrines, and soldier behavior in the context of various real and theoretical conflicts. Currently the three games available on Steam (at the time of this review) all cover eras between the end of the Cold War (CM: Cold War) The War on Terror (This Title) and a theoretical 2017 intervention in the Ukraine (Black Sea). On Battlefront.com, they also offer several titles set during the WW2 era which are just as in depth and intense to play but with a quite different flavor. These are set to come to steam throughout the year of 2022 (hopefully).
HOW TO PLAY:
Combat Mission has two primary modes of play, WeGo Turn by Turn. Where the player issues orders to the AI and then the AI plays out your orders over the course of a minute(turn). And Realtime which is similar to many other RTS's with the ability to give orders on the fly and stop time whenever you please. Turn by Turn is great for managing larger forces and allows you to rewind time up to a minute and watch every aspect of the battle in detail at the cost of having no control of your troops while a turn is played out. On the other hand, Realtime is a lot more conventional but has a difficulty curve of trying to keep track of everything as things develop in well, REAL TIME. Ultimately it's up to you which you prefer.
THE BAD:
GRAPHICS:
Combat Mission is by no means the most graphically complex game. It's not going to wow a vast majority of people with the spectacle of a modern battlefield like some games out there. That being said, the principle focus of the game is on the insanely accurate modelling of the vehicles, weapons, unit formations, and most notably the Tactical AI that does a lot of the dirty work and controls your soldiers at the most basic level. If high graphical fidelity is of utmost importance to you, then this ain't it chief. The game also abstracts a number of elements for simplicity's sake such as interiors of buildings which look completely barren to the player.
PERFORMANCE:
Combat Mission is designed to cover a maximum battle size of about a Battalion sized force (~400 men) on each side. However, once you start getting past that scale things start to break down and get laggy. The game is limited by the engine being only 32 bit (on PC), which means that it can only see a maximum of 4gb of RAM. That being said, most of your battles are going to be ~Company sized or smaller, and there are few issues here. It's only with the truly massive battles that things start to get out of hand.
MULTIPLAYER:
MP for a game like this was designed back in the days when internet connections were not fast enough to permit a smooth multiplayer experience (some would argue we still aren't there). As a result, it uses a Play By Email system or PBEM. With Combat Mission: Cold War, Slitherine games developed a new PBEM+++ System which handles this process automatically, but this system is set to come to Shock Force 2 at a later date. At its most basic level, PBEM works by sending save files back and forth between two players. There's a video tutorial which explains the system in full here:
Needless to say it's outdated but it does work. Also there's no easy way to do coop against the AI. It IS possible but it requires some rather roundabout workarounds to get it to function correctly.
THE GOOD:
REALISM
You've probably read through a number of reviews and everybody comments on how realistic the game is. But what does that actually mean here? Well it means a number of things. Every single vehicle or piece of equipment has its full capabilities such as Optics, fire control systems, and protection values (that aren't classified of course) modeled within the game. You can even destroy the ramp controls on various IFV/APC's so the troops have to get out via backup doors or hatches. Modern combat is scary fast and extremely deadly which leads me to gameplay:
GAMEPLAY BALANCING & MODELING
CM titles are unique in that the game actively avoids modeling vehicles and forces to make them perfectly balanced against each other. To put it simply, the Syrian Army and Unconventional forces in Shock Force 2 stand absolutely no chance in a stand up fight against the NATO invasion. NATO forces are extremely well trained, have some of the best equipment, and feature Command and Control capabilities the Syrians can only dream of. For Redfor, the goal is not to win, but to F*cking SURVIVE. A single Abrams platoon is capable of wiping out entire Battalions of Syrian Armor (30-40+ tanks) without suffering a scratch. Syrian command structures actively discourage initiative so only a certain # of trusted units have radios and can call for artillery, which is often inaccurate and takes forever to call in. THIS IS NOT A FAIR FIGHT AND ITS NOT DESIGNED TO BE ONE.
How is this fun then? Well NATO Forces are often given extremely tough objectives and Rules of Engagement which limit their tactical options. For example, you may need to have postively Identified an enemy unit in a building before you can destroy it. In addition, you often need to keep your casualties extremely low (sometimes as low as 5-10%).
REAL TERRAIN
Terrain and how you use it plays a HUGE factor in whether or not you succeed. Essentially, look at the terrain as you would in the real world. If a ridgeline/wall is just a little too tall to keep units from seeing over it in the real world, it's likely that way here.
REAL WORLD FORMATIONS
Ever wondered how all the various pieces of equipment in an army fit together on the battlefield? Well with Combat Mission titles, while it is possible to attach individual units, a vast majority of the time you will be utilizing real world formations. Stryker Infantry Battalions, Combined Arms Battalions, and Soviet Style Motor Rifle Brigades are not just names here to cover up heavily gameified formations for balance sake. When you buy a Stryker Infantry Battalion, you get a formation of roughly ~400 guys with a Battalion HQ, an HQ Company, and 3 Rifle Companies. Each Company has its own HQ units, and 3 Rifle platoons + a Weapons platoon. Each Platoon also gets a Platoon HQ and 3 squads or various heavy weapons in the Weapons platoon. Get the gist? You aren't buying a single squad like Wargame or Men of War, you're buying the entire formation with all its assets. And it's up to you to make sure those assets are used most effectively.
REALISTIC SPOTTING & INFO Sharing
Units in CM do not instantaneously see things that are in front of them, units need to spot enemies through a combination of many factors. Eyeballs are great at seeing things close up in a wide field of view, but struggle at distance. Vehicle optics are often great at distance, but struggle with field of view and close range. Thermal sights are amazing at spotting but also have small fields of view. Also, just because a unit sees something, doesn't mean everybody sees it. Which is why you have HQ teams to pass that spotting information to your units so people know what to look at and or roughly where something is. Distance and radios also play a huge part in how your units share information.
CONCLUSION
CM is the Dark Souls/Arma of RTS's, but if you want the most realistic representation of how real world forces fight, combat mission is as good as it gets for Battalion sized units or smaller. While it is very expensive, there's tons of content and a very active community. I cannot recommend this franchise enough. BUY IT

Review from Steam

Severely overpriced and to get the whole experience you need to purchase all the DLCs, I couldn't because I'm not rich but the game is fantastic in every other aspect of it.

Review from Steam

Initially turned off by the outdated graphics and complicated UI and controls, I was pushed away from this game.
Then a sale came about.
I bought the complete edition of CMSF2 and CMBS and have not looked back since.
I learned the incredible depth of the mechanics and systems of the game, developed an appreciation for the skill level required to command battalion level tactical operations, and the satisfaction that is gained from completing a mission with minimal casualties. This is not by any means an easy game or a fast-paced game for that matter. It will be tough, it will take time, but it's all worth it in the end.
Sure it has its flaws with sometimes below than 60 fps game-play, the graphics, the complicated user interface, the sounds and the eye gouging price tag. This can all scare new players away from the franchise. Fortunately, all flaws are quickly forgotten when you are plunged into making tactical decisions which the outcome will affect your battle group for the rest of the campaign.
The depth of the simulation, the detailed units, the easy to learn mapmaker/ mission editor, the mods which will craft the game the way you want it to be, the incredible community that has been behind the Combat Missions games for the past 20 years. The infinity of scenarios that can be made and played.
Unfortunately, there is no native COOP game mode. However I have found that using Steam's "Remote Play Together", combined with the turn by turn game play makes it very playable in a cooperative setting.
This is only a short list of what makes the game great to play. It will be clunky at first, but a few hours later, you will be rewarded with the smoothness of well executed combined arms operations.

Review from Steam

Pretty solid RTS if you wanna go heavy on the simulation side and if you're okay with the graphics and some clunkiness.

Review from Steam

The most mechanically accessible warsim out there. If you felt overwhelmed my Graviteam Tactics but still want a simulation RTS experience, the Combat Mission series is waiting for you.

X
Age Verification
To be able to see content under adult tag.
Confirm