Commandos 2 HD Remaster Switch Review – Stealth RTS WWII Classic Reinvigorated

Commandos 2 is a squad based stealth real time strategy war game that was originally released in 2001 and is a game remembered fondly even today by fans. Fight against the Germans and Japanese in some famous real and film World War II battles using a squad of up to 4 elite commandos out of 9 playable characters. 

Anyone order extra crispy?

Over the course of 2 training missions, 10 missions and some bonus missions you turn the tide of World War 2 and damn does it start off frustrating. The controls which do actually translate very well to console feel convoluted and unintuitive. However they need to be complicated to allow all the intricacies of the gameplay to take place and if it wasn’t convoluted, Commandos 2 wouldn’t provide such deep gameplay. Then there’s the brutal difficulty, the easiest difficulty (normal) was kicking my arse on the first training mission, I lost count of how many times I died on it. For the life of me I couldn’t work out why my commando was happy to get out his metal detector when there were no mines around but just stood around doing nothing when I asked him to the same standing next to the minefield, so I exploded… again… When I quick loaded it all suddenly started working for me and I made some progress, I deactivated the mines, tied up another enemy and it was time to wage all out war against a crew of 4 Nazis hanging out in a look out post. I put on one of their uniforms, walked over to the look out post and before I was even there one of them noticed I do not hail Hitler, alerted the others who promptly came out and shot me dead, lesson learnt, only the thief can get away with cosplaying. I no longer think From Software came up with the die, learn, repeat style of gameplay because Commandos 2 has it in droves such as with attack dogs, the option to knock them out does come up, but you can’t actually knock out attack dogs, they’ll just alert everyone and once again you’ll be full of bullet holes. Every new encounter I died over and over before realising how to pass it, while I’m not the biggest Dark Souls fan, Commandos 2 made Nioh feel like child’s play. Luckily you can save or quick save at any point so you definitely want to be saving after each and every task. 

The biggest help on the game.

Each of your multicultural commandos have their own unique skills and weapons they can use such as Sapper the demolitions expert who can disarm mines and blow stuff up to kingdom Kong with heavy explosives or there’s the Green Beret who can bury himself to avoid detection. When everything clicks and you’re sneaking up, tying up and making a pile of bodies, or lobbing grenades over walls and stealing the enemies weapons to use against them. Commandos 2 makes you feel like a genius and is crazy good fun. Making all that painstaking stalking and scouting the area all worthwhile. Handily you can set it to see an enemies viewing angle which really helps you to sneak up on them.

I love it when a plan comes together.

However, I did find that similarly to the metal detector issue, sometimes my commandos just didn’t want to shoot the Nazis and Japanese and instead would lay there soaking up bullets until they became brown bread. I think it was more I was rushing my commandos and they prefer their murderising as leisurely Sunday stroll taking in the various scenery you get to wage war on. Quite often the action moves so fast you just can’t keep up, just switching from laying down to standing up takes so long you’ll get killed and you’re commandos you aren’t controlling are just sitting ducks waiting to be killed when enemies do attack. Some items you have to press once to select and again to use, others you just press and it uses it. This made me have to reload the game many times when I either wanted to ready or detonate something. Then occasionally I’ll fail a mission in the midst of action and have no idea why. There is a lot to manage and be aware of in Commandos 2.

There’s a nice range of environments.

The graphics are fine and look exactly as you’d expect: like an old PC game with a lick of new paint to tidy up the edges, you can generally see what’s going on in this isometric world. Once or twice I had a few problems telling the height of buildings and whether enemies were on the ground or not. The only real problem I had was the camera angles, you can’t freely rotate the camera it’s stuck at 90 degree rotations which can be disorientating and leave you struggling to see clearly. The insides of buildings also look weird like to jump into a parallel dimension that is just a box room but that’s just a sign of the age of the original.

Welcome to the twilight zone.

When everything comes together Commandos 2 HD Remaster is an absolute blast however unless both stealth and RTS games are your cup of tea these moments will be few and far between as you die over and over, slowly scrapping your way through levels. Despite this if you get into it, you’ll have a barrel of explosive nazi killing fun but be warned the barrier to entry is rather high.

A huge thank you to Kalypso Media for providing the review code. Commandos 2 HD Remaster is available both physically and digitally on the eShop for £26.99/€29.99/$29.99.

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