REVIEW: Commandos 2: HD Remaster

Feb
06

REVIEW: Commandos 2: HD Remaster

A half-made HD conversion with missing features

Release: Steam, PS4, Xbox,
Switch, iPad
Type: Single-player
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Yippee! Entertainment,
Pyro Studios
Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital
Release Date: 24 Jan, 2020

Overview

Commandos 2: HD Remaster is a, well… remaster, of the 2001 game Commandos 2: Man of Courage, offering high definition graphics, reworked controls, UI and tutorial. The original game, a real-time tactical game with no pause function, has received much critical acclaim back in the days. In this review, I’ll focus on the improved (or not) aspects of the game, and thus on the “remaster” aspect, more than the game itself.

Back in 2001

The first two levels you’ll play we starting Commandos 2 are the two training camps: these act as tutorial levels… without actually telling you very much. For a player that returned playing the game after (too many) years, the tutorial helped to learn the basic commands, but they are not enough for a newcomer, not by a long shot. Besides that more advanced commands, like gadgets and special abilities, are not covered in the tutorial, the fact that when a new commando appears in a mission its special ability doesn’t get explicated is confusing, to say the least. For example, in the very first tutorial mission, you are told how to detect mines with his metal detector, but not how to use the cigarettes he has in his inventory.

Tutorials take the form of small hints during gameplay, but often don’t cover important aspects like abilities and items.

In this way, players are left to wonder what the icons of the abilities mean or forced to check guides to understand how the game should be played, making the game frustrating to play. Since the remaster features a “reworked tutorial”, I expected something way better than a half-made hint system.

Modern(?) graphics

New graphics are the strong point of the remaster, right? Well, yes, but while they are one of the most noticeable changes, even here the work is halfway done and filled with problems. Let’s start with the good: widescreen with high-resolution support, sharper and more detailed textures and models, along with more advanced effects for explosions. The first problem is that the graphics still look rather old: while they were certainly improved, they still look blurry and this becomes particularly clear when zooming in. The problem is the same for models, even if they were treated better: a huge improvement when looking back, but something more could’ve been done.

The graphics in the game still look a bit blurry, even at 2K resolution.

The main problem in this regard, though, it’s the presence of the original game. Yes, the utility of this remastered version is lowered because of the presence of the original game, which allows the installation of mods that add widescreen support, HD graphics and such. The worse aspect of this is that we still have to discuss the biggest error of this remaster, namely…

The lack of coop

While the original 2001 game had the possibility to play the whole campaign with a friend, the remastered version lacks it. Forget to play with a friend, making plans to stealthy take down enemies in a combined effort… because this remaster does not offer it. There isn’t really much to say, besides that a version of a game that costs more than the original, should at least offer the same features. Commandos 2: HD Remaster isn’t the case. And it’s a shame.

Verdict

Commandos 2: HD Remaster is half a game sold for double the price. If you already have the base game, just install graphical mods and play with those. If you don’t have it, just grab the Commandos 2 + 3 pack from GOG.com (9.09€), install the graphical mods and, again, play with those.

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