When I bought the deluxe edition for AS-2, I was paying more not only because I loved the previous games in the franchise, but because I loved what potential AS-1 had presented us with, especially considering the many great mods avalible for the original. But more than that, I was buying the sequel to one of my favorite games of all time.
Needless to say, I haven't been impressed. In fact, my experience with AS2 has been beyond disappointment. Given the time from the early beta stage to now, and including the push-back of the release date multiple times, I've found that this game has not only been a waste in terms of what potential it had, but you are literally paying for a $34.00 overhaul patch by buying this game.
The biggest improvements since AS-1 have been:
1. Multiplayer, which lags often, and depends on who is better at storming a place with infantry and light vehicles. Tanks are, very rarely fielded. The gameplay is repetitive, and balance issues come and go.
2. The Super-Pershing and a few tank models. Yeah, they look a little more "smooth," but then you can take a peek at everything else. Everything else is literally recycled from the previous game.
3. Multi-core support. I haven't noticed a difference.
The things I'd thought I was going to see:
1. A little bit of variety in the infantry. Yeah, they don't even have new models or textures. It's the exact same thing from the previous title, rehashed a bit for a few more "Breeds," which you can make by simply opening the editor and reassigning a few traits, weapons, and items. There are a few more voices thrown in for the American and English soldiers, but there is still plentiful cut-and-paste from the previous game. Oh, and the voice acting is horrific for the most-part.
2. Better textures. The dirt looks beautiful. A few tanks look better. But, for everything else, it all is recycled from the last game. The buildings aren't different. The uniforms aren't different. The mass majority of vehicles aren't different.
3. Better gameplay. Yeah, no. In fact, they took away the feature where you could unload your guns.
The AI is a little more "Cover-seeking," so they are no longer inherently stupid. However, you still have to pack up millions of bullets so they can fend for themselves without running dry.
4. Differences between faction weapons. I'll admit, I was expecting more realistic performance out of the guns for each faction. But, all rifles are pretty much the same, the Thompson isn't much different from an MP-40, the Grease-Gun is treated like a 9-mm, and overall, you're just going to go for an MG-42 if you want rate of fire; the browning if you want less reloading; or the BAR/FG-42 if you want less unloading. There isn't much of an accuracy or damage difference. Line up soldiers with every faction's rifle; they fire and reload at the exact, same times, with the exception of the enfield rifleman. There should be a difference. The action on a Mosin is completely different from a 98' or a Springfield.
5. Models and textures. Yeah, about 10 vehicles look better. But the mass majority of the others still look copy/paste. If I wanted to copy/paste vehicles, I'd make a mod for that.
Can I say I recommend this game? No. For $34.00, hell no. It's nowhere near being worth that kind of money, and I'm losing to faith to tell myself that "yeah, it'll improve as they get closer to the full release." It's been in Early Access for quite some time now. Before that, there was beta. They have had the time to improve the game. Yet, I have only seen them trying to get it into a playable state every few weeks, while leaving us high and dry in every other aspect. Maybe if it were $10.00 DLC for AS1, it'd be worth it. But as a standalone game, let alone a Sequel, it's not just a cheap re-release with nothing new to offer, but it's a complete waste of money.
I've already learned from one other game that pulled the same "Beta limited-content" trick. ArmA 3. Overall, that game was a complete disappointment. There was very little content added into the beta, there was very little content added into the main game, and countless patches treated the post-final release like it was (and still is) in the early-access stage. AS2 is mirroring this tactic, and foreshadows disappointment.
I have a feeling they're going to just decide to "leave it to the modders," as ArmA 3 did, and while mods are often well done, they are not only far from uniform in quality and not designed by a common party, but that's a cheap way of copping-out of extensive work. Work that this game seriously needs if it is to hold the number "2" after Assault Squad.
A better name for this would be "Assault Squad: MEGAPATCH." If you feel like disagreeing, then pull up the AS1 editor and the AS2 editor. Put down one of every model. Test the game, see what happens; you'll learn that I'm right, because this is exactly how I tested it. I'm not making these claims without evidence. There is no difference between these games except for the mulitplayer.
Do keep in mind; this review is for a $34.00 product. It is intended to reflect and aid you, the viewer, in determining whether or not you will "get what you pay for."
The answer to that is no, "No, you won't."
I SINCERELY HOPE THAT THE FINAL RELEASE PROVES MY FEARS TO BE WRONG, AND RENDERS THIS REVIEW TO BE OUTDATED. SHOULD THAT BE THE CASE, I WILL GLADLY CHANGE MY REVIEW AND HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE GAME. SHOULD MY FEAR THAT THIS GAME OFFERS NO "CHANGE" WORTHY OF A SEQUEL BE CONFIRMED AT FINAL RELEASE, I WILL NO LONGER DO BUSINESS WITH DIGITAL-MIND-SOFT.Do know; I won't be alone in that regard.
[July 19, 2014] UPDATE!
Ok; so since the game's release, there has been little to nothing improved upon since I had written this review. The "priority" for the team has only been multiplayer. There has been no increase in content. There has been no more bang for the buck. Digital-Mind-Soft has charged their community for a mere patch, and has done nothing to back the quality of the game except tamper with multiplayer mechanics, and not even to the extent that significantly alters gameplay in any way.
Do you have money to waste, and want to support a dishonest development project? Then don't spend money. Please.
Stop giving companies the motivation to screw over their customers and to default on their promises. It's been months, and there aren't even any new "Humanskins" in the game. Let me say right now: It takes 10 MINUTES OR LESS TO CREATE A NEW "SKIN" USING PAINT.NET.
With the time they've taken to add "boards" to Multiplayer, I could have created the entire Italian Army with a modeling program; sadly, that's 3DS-MAX, a program that the 2014 edition of, costs upwards of $3,400 to own.
[August 26 2014] UPDATE!
Playing through the editor a bit, one of the first things I checked were the models. What can I say about them? Three new models; all Crusader Tanks. The model has been significantly improved, with the Crusader looking more streamlined and smooth than before. It looks good. Not only that, but there are 2 more Crusaders; a 40mm Anti-Air crusader, and a 20mm Anti-Air crusader. These, too, look good. But nonetheless, Japanese vehicles still look as though they are made out of cardboard, and there haven't been any other model updates added.
Most importantly, the soldiers still have the same skins as in the previous title; the lack of effort in this category is appaling. Do bare in mind; Assault Squad was a 2009 game. This means that the soldier's skins are 5 Years old.
You can learn to create professional 3D models in half that time. Given that this much time has progressed, one would and should expect more from a company charging full-price for a "patchwork" game.