Men of War – Assault Squad 2 brings a major update to an already excellent WW 2 real time strategy game. We checked out the game upon its release to see how it compares to the original assault squad as well as other games in the genre such as last year’s excellent Company of Heroes 2.
The Men of War series, perhaps more so than any other RTS series, has always relied on plenty of attention to detail. We’ll talk more about how this has affected the graphical overhaul that the game received later, but for now let’s keep the focus on the actual gameplay. Through the game’s campaigns (there are five of them!), you’ll face a vast range of mission types, which feels both refreshing and accurate in terms of the diversity of warfare. Some mission may lead you down the path of an all-out assault with everything you’ve got, while others favor the lone gunman approach. It keeps the player interested, even if not all scenarios are equally engaging.
This is partly due to the fact that over half of the missions that are available to you are straight copies from missions that feature in the original Assault Squad game, but also because the game’s core dynamics can either work for the game or against it. This mainly applies to the fact that you have to manually resupply all your troops with ammo – ALL your troops. Of course this creates an engaging and realistic experience – because when you think about it… that lifetime supply of bullets that you normally see is kind of odd. At the same time though, this forces you to delve into micromanaging your troops when you really want to keep an overview of the battlefield.
Speaking of zooming in to a very individual level – the men of war series also allows you to take direct control of your troops if you feel like taking a more hands-on approach to the battle. In addition to this, Assault Squad 2 also offers a range of online multiplayer modes including cooperative play and large scale 16 player battles. It makes 1C’s latest release an extremely rich package in terms of content, especially when you consider enhanced accessibility for newcomers in the shape of skill-based matchmaking.
This richness has also translated to the game’s visual design, which received a major update when compared to the original. It may not outshine the likes of Company of Heroes 2, but the attention to detail that’s on display here is still very impressive. Examples include shells ejecting from armored units and visible wounds on infantry soldiers, but also nice little touches like a water tower leaking water after it’s been hit by a stray bullet.
Men of War – Assault Squad 2 feels like its structure it holding it back somewhat. There will be players who will complain that there’s not enough new content for this to be more than just an update to the original. We beg to differ, because between the new missions, gameplay modes and a big graphics update, Assault Squad 2 can carry its own weight just fine. The fact that a lot of the original stuff is still there is just a bonus – despite featuring prominently and thus perhaps throwing some players off in terms of appreciating everything that’s new and improved. Recommended to all WW 2 RTS fans and Men of War veterans.