Commandos 2 is one of few examples, where a sequel of the game turns out at least just as good, if not better, then the original idea.
To be clear: if there is a single flaw of Commandos 2, compared to Commandos 1, it is low difficulty level.
In a nutshell:
- the game is isometric sneaker strategy / logical game in real time,
- World War 2 themed, British commandos fight against III Reich and ... Japan,
- consists of ten regular missions, nine bonus missions (+1 regular mission 'bonus phase'), and two trainings,
- roughly 20-40 hours to beat.
So what it is all about? The key idea remains the same:
- player has 1-8 (usually 3-5) commandos to control
- plays missions against 10-50 (sometimes 100+) soliders on the map
- being outmumbered and outgeared, the player must use silent takedowns without setting off the alarm, at least for most part of the mission.
- enemies have their own sight and hearing areas, most of the time the player approaches from behind, and in places which are isolated from another guards,
- this usually requires luring the guard out from crawded area, distracting anoter patrolmen or combination of both,
- all settled during the WW2, though with fictional history. One will for instance visit Asia and Pacific as a British commando.
The commandos 'specialise' in following areas:
- a dirty job guy aka Green Beret, stealth and melee combat expert,
- a sniper, one shot one kill, can collect ammo from enemies,
- a diver, can swim unnoticed in deep water,
- a sapper, demolition expert,
- a driver, gunner and tank operator, also handles "exotic" weapons,
- a spy, covert ops expert, can dusguise himself as an enemy and chat the guards,
- a thief, sneaker but with limited combat abilities,
- Natasha, spy / sniper equivalent (shows up in three missions, where European officer would be too suspicoius),
- a dog, another distractor but is cool.
Compared to C1, all the commandos have shared set of skills, which includes:
- shoting a gun, machine guns and rifles (except for sniper rifle),
- stunning enemies with fist punch,
- carrying bodies,
- driving small cars,
- swimming and (limited) diving,
- using medpacks,
- disguise as enemy solider (though only the Spy can do this efficiently),
- distracting with cigarettes, decoy, etc.
The commandos no longer seem to be rookies.
This actually makes the game way easier, as a tight cooperation is no longer needed.
On the other hand this varied set of skills adds a lot of freedom into the game, and one no longer needs to stick with the Green Beret.
The game lost its deadly alarms and garrnison patrols, which were almost a signatue feature of the first part (and usually resulted in mission failure).
The enemies are far less aggressive and leave a large time margin of error before opening fire.
More then enough to get back to safety.
They are more susciptable for diversion and there are more ways to distract them.
So what did the game gained? Why it is still worth anything?
- A lot of freedom.
- A lot of equipment (compared to C1): smoke grenades, gas grenades, bottles of wine, sleeping pills, wire traps, landmines, bazookas, fresh meet (for guard dogs), binolucars.
- Gun blazing is now more possible, but stealth actions remain a tactics of choice (plus it is fun with all those toys).
- Possobility to explore and fight inside buildings.
- Ten unique missions (+ a couple of bonus), every single one has something which makes it distinctive (including a mission with no killing, whose objective is to steal enemy documents).
- Campaing progress menu, possiblility to replay a particular mission.
- Bonus objective, and item collections which unlock bonus missions.
Commandos 2 introduced amazing (for its time 2001) interaction with the environment including:
- daytime / night time (only one mission),
- switch off the lights to hide in shadow,
- frost (limited time to stay outside buildings, one mission only),
- search the shelves and boxes for equipment,
- enter and expore buildings,
- get into the building through the door or windows,
- sniper shot through the window,
- climb a pole to move unnoticed,
- hide corpses in a pile of thrash,
- hide yourself under the table.
The game still offers quick save + load, still used quite frequently.
While it is a war game most of enemies can be stuned and knocked out without killing.
On top of that the missions are scored based on time taken, damage, exploration and stealth level, including mentioned nonlethal takedowns.
The game is almost 15 year old, and offers a maximum resolution of 1024 x 768, but on my 17'' notebook I find the video surprisingly good, mainly due to reasonable amount of details and limited 'graphical pattern reuse'.
The music is finally present in the game and sound effect seem also fine, don't distract a lot.
- low-to-medium difficulty level (even "very hard" difficulty is a mid-game of Commandos 1),
- The boxed Commandos 2 version featured short cienematics between the missions, which don't run in Steam version,
I cannot tell if this is a common problem or just a config / codecs issue on my computer,
- When scaled to 16:9 display, the graphics gets a bit pixelized.
Do not play if:
- you are allergic to old games / hybrids / isometric cameras.
Do play if: