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Commandos 2: Men of Courage - PS2 - Review

Commandos 2 Men of Courage, a PlayStation2 console release from Eidos Interactive and Pyro Studios, is a complex action game featuring solid graphical elements and intense game play. It is the kind of war game that fits the console system perfectly, though players may find themselves spending a good hour learning the interface/game commands system.

But once past that hurdle, you will be treated to a game that is addicting and enjoyable.

For those who know nothing about this game, Commandos 2 Men of Courage is set in World War II. Hitler’s forces were wrecking havoc across Europe and thus an elite unit was put together to go where armies couldn’t, and do some of the dirty work that would help end the war. Whether the covert operations were to take out important personnel or just disrupt communications, the role of the commando units was vital.

Commandos 2 follows that thread.

There are 12 missions across 11 environments with a unit that will draw from nine characters, each with special abilities that can be employed to insure the mission’s chances of success. The leader of the team is Jerry "Tiny" McHale, a Green Beret; Rene Duchamp is a spy working for the French Secret Service; Thomas Hancock is an Army sapper (explosive expert); James Blackwood is a Navy diver; Sid Perkins is a driver from the British Army; Sir Francis Woolridge is British aristocracy and a sniper; Natasha Nikochevski is a resistance operative; Paul Toledo is a Frenchman and a thief; and last, but not least, is Whisky, a dog that is used to carry small items from one commando to another or to distract the enemy.

Each mission draws from this group for the unit that will undertake the assignment.

The thing that makes Commandos 2 such an outstanding game is the enemy AI. There are three difficulty settings in the game ­ normal, hard and very hard. Normal is challenging, and unless you think through what you are doing, you won’t last too long ­ not even in the training missions. The game also features line-of-sight targeting. This is displayed on the screen, and if your team members are spotted, the whole mission can be compromised before it really begins.

The control elements of this game are quite involved. The tutorial covers all aspects of the control system, and it will take you an hour to work through that portion of the game. However, it is important. Commandos 2 requires that you know what you are doing, how the different elements work in the game. You can take out an enemy silently, but it does little good if you leave the body laying out in the open.

This program is exceptional graphically. The environments are wonderful, and the weather effects are solid. The camera will not only rotate 360 degrees, but zoom in and out as well either to let you enjoy a close-up of the action, or to get an overview of the scenario landscape. The game’s sound is a solid supporting element.

The thing that makes Commandos 2 such a solid game is the way you can control each member of the team as a single unit. This makes for non-linear game play. Sure, there is only one way to accomplish a mission; your goal is very clear. But how you get through that mission, how you utilize the abilities of each member of the team is up to you.

This game is intense and a blast to play.

Commandos 2 is rated Teen for blood and violence.

 

Gameplay: 9
The game is stable and you move through the missions seamlessly. The controls are a little tough, and trying to remember which buttons on your controller does what is about the only things that can slow down your progress. And time is not your ally, for the most part. You have to work quickly or risk the mission’s success.

Graphics: 8.9
The game features excellent animation and terrific environments. Some of the special effects, such as using the flame-thrower to ignite enemy soldiers and the ensuing running ball of fire, don’t seem as well done as some of the other animated effects. But the weather and time-of-day elements are very good.

Sound: 8
This is a solid adjunct to the graphical elements. Most of what you would expect from this type of game is hear, and the audio elements are crisp and clear.

Difficulty: Hard
The game AI is a killer, and the control configuration will take time to get comfortable with. Give yourself a learning curve of 45-60 minutes.

Concept: 8.5
The way this game is set-up, using team-strategic gaming, is nothing new. Other games have used the same idea. However, Commandos 2 really expands the concept with the huge mapboards and the individual skills of the mission team.

Multiplayer: N/A
This is a single-player game.

Overall: 9
Commandos 2 Men of Courage has all the elements of a top-flight game: incredible graphics, solid sound, and addictive and challenging gameplay. There may be a few little things that don’t seem to fit in with the overall feel or look of the game, but there is nothing that can detract from a truly enjoyable game.  

Amazing

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