previews\ Sep 11, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin - PC - Preview

I have not had the opportunity to play the original Combat missions Operation Beyond Overlord, but everything I have read about it sounds awesome.  As I approached this title with some skepticism, I was truly impressed.  I'm not a big fan of turn-based war games, but after playing for a few days, I think I'm hooked.  What grabbed me is that it's actually a kind of hybrid of turn-based style of play and real time.  You make your movements, attacks, etc of all your units….your opponent or computer does the same.  When you are finished, you and your opponent click done and you get to watch the battle in 3D take place until the next move.  You can get really close to the battle and experience it from just about every angle imaginable. Very cool!

The main goal in CMBB’s scenarios is to take and hold the victory locations on the battlefield, marked by victory flags. There are small and large flags, each worth a certain number of victory points. Unlike classic board games, however, you don’t need to have your units sitting right on top of the flags – each flag has a certain control radius around it (approx. 80 meters), in which you have to place a sufficient number of troops (usually one tank or a couple of non-broken squads are enough) to exert control. However, again unlike classic board games, when the enemy manages to keep his troops close enough also, the flag will be contested and will not be under control of ANY side! So keeping the enemy sufficiently far away from the flag is as important as bringing your troops into the territory as well.

Combat Mission differentiates three distinct game phases – set-up phase, orders phase, action phase. These phases play simultaneously for both players. The set-up and orders phases allow you to set-up and give orders to your units (your opponent does the same), while game time is paused. The Action Phase plays the action simultaneously for both sides in REAL TIME. Each Action Phase is 60 seconds of real time, during which you can see the results of the orders you have given to your troops. After each Real Time phase, a new orders phase follows and allows you to give new orders or adjust old orders to your units.


Unless playing a timed TCP/IP game, you can take as much time as you want during the orders and set-up phases, and replay the action during the action phase as many times and from as many angles as you like.


Here a short list of features, which will be included in the final version:


-          Units, vehicles and equipment from 7 nations – German, Soviet, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Finnish and Polish; the full version contains a total of:

o        300+ different tanks and vehicles

o        600+ other units (guns, infantry, aircraft)

o        50 scenarios and operations

o        15 fortification types (bunkers, mines, trenches…)

o        50 different terrain types (including “destroyed” versions)

o        9 types of ground conditions and 8 different types of weather

-          Quick Battle generator

-          Full-featured integrated scenario and map editor (which was used to make the included scenarios and operations)

-          Play against human opponents via PBEM (email), Hot seat on the same computer or TCP/IP over the internet

-          Air strikes (dozens of airplane types simulated)

-          Realistic 3D Sound effects in CD quality       

-          266 page printed full color manual


If you are into the historically accurate realism, here are some things that the developers have put into CMBB.

Using the research and effort put into Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord as a benchmark, they have gone even further with CMBB to bring you the utmost in historical integrity. Fully researched and detailed TO&E (Tables of Organization and Equipment) for all seven nations. Accurate OBs (Orders of Battle) for 5 years of conflict, 1941-45.  Optional Historical Variety of Units ensures players will no longer have to worry that their opponents "cherry picked" their forces.  Advanced and updated armor penetration algorithms where even the amount and density of the armor *plug* that is pushed into a vehicle from a penetration is now calculated and modeled.  Meticulously researched vehicle and uniform models, paint schemes and even sound effects help to bundle CMBB in a package that is a joy for the eyes, ears and mind to behold. 

Though this is a preview version of the game, I thought the graphics, game play, concept and sound were quite decent.  I would think the final version should be very appealing and a must have for any WWII buff.

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