When publishers bring an old favorite back, I always take note – especially so with Commandos, a beloved game from about two decades ago. Here is a look at Kalypso’s remastered version of Commandos 2.
What we know
After acquiring the license back in 2018, Kalypso is bringing back the Commandos franchise and is starting off with a remaster of the most well-received game in the series, Commandos 2 – Men of Courage.
The original game came out almost twenty years ago, and was part of a series that pioneered a genre – real time tactics in which you had to make different specialists work together against the backdrop of World War 2. It laid the groundwork for games like Desperados, as well as the more recent Shadow Tactics by Mimimi Games, who are now working on Desperados 3 for THQ.
The upcoming HD remaster for Commandos 2 recreates the original game in a 3D engine that allows you to zoom in and out as well as rotate the view, giving you a better view of your surroundings. It also implements a new control scheme and UI, mostly geared towards a better implementation of gamepad/console controls. The original game was also available on PS2 and Xbox, but was criticized for not having optimized controls for the system.
The remaster is scheduled to come out later this year, and will release for PC, all current consoles and mobile platforms. It will be identical to the original game in terms of mission content, with the exception that the remaster will feature a brand new tutorial to help new (and rusty!) players get going.
What we saw
We met with Uwe Roth, product manager for the Commandos 2 HD Remaster, while at Gamescom. It was the first opportunity for the press to go hands on with the game, which we did using a PC build of the game. We played through a single mission as well as part of a second one before our time with the game ran out.
What we thought
The Commandos 2 HD Remaster demo we played used the classic isometric perspective of the original game, and as such looked very much like the 2001 version by Pyro Studios. It certainly brought back a lot of memories, and the gameplay is still rock solid to this day (though it was also a reminder of how challenging the game can be).
A downside for the upcoming remaster, at least on PC, is that the original games are still being sold on Steam – and have regularly been on sale as well. The pricing for the remaster will be interesting, since people will no doubt compare it to the original game on one end and to modern classics like Shadow Tactics on the other end. Since the remaster doesn’t feature any new content (and the controls on PC are extremely similar as well), how well the 3D game world is realized will make a difference here.
On other platforms, it will be the first and only way to experience a true classic, so the argument of how close it is to existing Commandos content is irrelevant there. For those platforms, this is shaping up to be a great introduction to a classic that kickstarted a niche genre that (as the recent Desperados reboot has shown) still has plenty of life left in it. That’s assuming that developer Yippee! Entertainment can nail the console controls – something the developers never quite got right in the PS 2 and original Xbox days. From that perspective, this could be the first truly excellent Commandos game on consoles.