REVIEW: Combat Mission Shock Force 2: NATO Forces

Sep
18

REVIEW: Combat Mission Shock Force 2: NATO Forces

No bars for the Germans to walk into in this part of the world, I’m afraid

Released: Steam
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: Strategy, Tactics
Developer: Battlefront
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd.
Release date: 31 Aug, 2020

Combat Mission Shock Force 2 launched on steam with updated versions of three DLCs for the original game, NATO Forces, British Forces and Marines. The NATO forces DLC is probably the most substantial of the lot, adding forces from three new nations, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada, as well as new vehicles for the Syrian army, new campaigns and more maps. While the new nations are smaller in scope than the US forces, they still bring some variety to the game.

A convoy of lightly armoured cars on its way to assault a suspected bomb factory

The New Units

The three new forces all bring their own equipment, but there is some overlap between them. For an example, all of them use variants on the Leopard tank, and their forces are generally more lightly armoured than the US countarperts.

If you’re up on your modern military vehicles & equipment, there’s a complete list on what’s included in the DLC on the store page, but the main difference for someone who’s not too knowledgeable about military hardware are the amount of lighter or even open topped vehicles. All three use variants on the Mercedes-made G-wagen (in the German forces it goes under the name Wolf). The most unique feeling vehicle in this DLC is probably the tiny Wiesel tankette, which does not have any direct counterpart in the US forces.

While individually the three new armies don’t have nearly as much as the US army in the base game, together they add a substantial amount of new units to play with, and the new forces do bring a slightly different approach to modern military combat, one that’s a bit less focused on brute force.

The Syrian army also receives a few new toys. The most noticeable difference here is the fact that they now have access to air support, something that was missing from the Syrian army in the base game. They’ve also got three new vehicles, including the ZSU-23-4, a self propelled AA-gun, which you really don’t want to be on the receiving end of.

Leopard tanks are just as imposing as their US counterparts

The New Missions

There are three new campaigns, one for each nation, as well as 24 scenarios added to this DLC, and they’re generally quite well made. The fact that most of these levels were made after the main game really show, as many of them feel more inventive than what came before. One of the highlights is a level where you’re playing as the German army, and need to hold a medieval fort against an overwhelming Syrian assault, desperately hoping that reinforcements will show up in time.

The campaigns are individually shorter than the one from the base game, and also deal with slightly smaller engagements, but there are on the other hand three of them. These new campaigns really don’t hold your hand, and felt more challenging than the original US campaign.

The German forces are desperately holding on as they’re assaulted from all sides

Closing Thoughts

The NATO DLC will not revolutionize how the game is played. In fact, most modern military equipment is roughly similar in the NATO countries, and the difference between a Leopard 2 and an Abrams tank is, in terms of gameplay at least, mostly academic. But the focus in lighter vehicles do mean that the three new nations feel a bit different to play. The biggest gameplay difference probably comes from what was added to the Syrian army though, as they can now call in air support.

The real highlight of this DLC are the new levels, which were for the most part really good and showcased a greater amount of variety than what was found in the base game. For people who liked the original game, this DLC is worth getting, as it’s still ultimately more of the same, only slightly better, but if the original game did not impress you, then this is a safe skip.

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