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Ezekiel Turner
Ezekiel Turner

Combat Mission Shock Force 2

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.

Combat Mission Shock Force 2

Unconventional forces are also represented in the game. Improvised explosive devices (IED) are also found in various scenarios and campaign missions. It is possible to play red vs. blue, red vs. red and blue vs. blue. Both sides have artillery support, but only the blue side has air support available. This represents the strategy in which West military gains the air superiority in the first days of war. Air support for Red side was added in NATO module however by popular request.

Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT): The U.S. Army's heaviest combat formation. Containing Abrams tanks and Bradley IFV's with mounted infantry companies. Significantly less infantry and infantry support systems, it has enormous firepower and strong armor to withstand the enemy. The main mission is breaking through enemy lines and mashing up any counter-attacks.

Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT): Medium force built around the Stryker vehicle family . Capable of handling the full spectrum of combat operations, best suited for missions that emphasize mobility over firepower and infantry over armor. Capable of standing up to even heavy force and defeating it. Utilizes the FBCB2 advanced command and control system.

HOW THE GAME IS PLAYEDPlayers are assigned detailed missions to accomplish based on a richly diverse set of Objectives. Missions can be played in either Real Time or our novel WeGo hybrid turn based mode introduced with the first Combat Mission game 20 years ago. WeGo allows each player to plan out 60 seconds of combat and then watch as both sides' commands are carried out simultaneously. The WeGo system also allows for re-watching turn action and playing against another player by email (PBEM) or "hotseat" on a single computer. RealTime and WeGo head to head play can also use TCP/IP on a LAN or over the Internet. Massive replayability comes from a unique Quick Battle system which allows players to purchase their own custom force and fight over the battlefield of their choice from a wide array of different maps. A powerful map and scenario Editor allows you to create battles or campaigns for yourself and others.

Not that the story and setting really matter much in the end. It's tough to get deep enough into the game to appreciate what's going on in the Syrian sands, particularly if you've never played the previous Combat Missions. Battlefront has added a training campaign to the game with the 1.01 patch (the launch game had no tutorial whatsoever, so you had to rely on fumbling your way through small-scale missions like Al Huqf Engagement to figure out what was going on), although it isn't nearly comprehensive enough to address the many ins and outs of modern combat presented here. The manual doesn't help a great deal, either. While lots of information is stuffed into its 200-plus pages, this PDF tome is laid out like reference material geared solely to answer specific questions. And this is one game that needs a manual to take you by the hand. The interface is jammed with text that's about the same size as the fine print on auto-rental contracts, along with numerous tiny buttons bereft of context or tool tips. Hotkeys are supported, but you can't change them without editing a text file in Windows, and they annoyingly change function depending on what you're doing at the time you hit them. When you move, for example, the "I" key is "Quick," but when you're in combat "I" stands for "Target Light." Good idea, guys. Everything is so clunky and archaic, it's amazing that Battlefront doesn't include a code wheel for look-up copy protection.

And this isn't the only reason that CM: Shock Force combat lacks authenticity. Although the battles here are all about modern asymmetrical warfare such as that currently being waged in Iraq between the US and ragtag local insurgents, the game is still very much a creature of the Second World War. All Battlefront has really done is shoehorn its old approach into very different theater of war where the sides are wildly lopsided, not fairly even like it was in many WW II engagements. Syria's military isn't anywhere near that of a superpower right now, so there's a real credibility gap in having them match up so evenly with US forces. 041b061a72


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