Second time on the Eastern front
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: Strategy, Tactics
Developer: 2×2 Games, Croteam
Publisher: 2×2 Games
Release date: 21 Apr, 2021
Unity of Command 2 is getting its second expansion, and it once more sees you fight as the Germans against the allies. Or rather against the Soviet Union, which was on the side of the allies, during the famous Barbarossa campaign. This is actually the second time that the Unity of Command series deals with Barbarossa, as this was also the subject of the Black Turn DLC for the first game.
In Unity of Command II – Barbarossa you’re playing as the Germans and their allies and Finland (technically speaking not a German ally. Finland’s role in WW2 is a bit too complicated to really go through here) against the gigantic Soviet Union. Where you in the last DLC, Blitzkrieg were going up against poorly equipped foes now you’ll have to experience the feeling of being on the side that has the poor troops, as your Romanian allies are ill equipped and trained.
Unity of Command II – Barbarossa continues to play to Unity of Command 2’s strengths with an emphasis on keeping your units in supply and trying to cut off the enemy supply lines. When going up against a numerically superior foe that often has equipment that’s not too far from your own, like the Soviet Union, rapidly striking against their supply lines becomes even more important, as you can’t brute force your way through their defenses. And when your troops are not as well equipped or trained as the enemy, like the Romanian troops, then cutting the enemy supply really becomes the only viable option.
There are, according to the store page, over 20 new units in Barbarossa. That’s a lot less than the last DLC, which had over 50, and a fare few of these new units will be stuff like Finnish infantry, and Slovakian infantry, variants of what were already in the game, but from another nation, and thus slightly different. The Soviet forces get a few vehicles though, so it’s not all infantry. There’s no new units that really alter how the game is played though, beyond possibly some painfully bad troops you have to try to win with.
Making up for the lack of new units is the campaign, which is quite long and varied. The campaign deals with the entire eastern front, from Finland in the north, to Ukraine in the south and everything in-between. There’s both a good amount of variety in the army compositions and the ways the levels are designed, which keeps things fresh. One level might have you fight a large but disorganized soviet force, with pockets of dug in soviet troops scattered through the level that are out of supply, but can break your supply lines if you move too fast and ignore them, while another sees you assault a heavily fortified city with an organized defense and a third one sees mostly small forces face each other in a heavily forested area full of bogs and other hard to traverse terrain.
Like with past campaigns the clock is the real enemy, particularly if you go for the optional objectives. Here the optional objectives don’t tend to open up brand new levels, but they can alter later ones. Doing well in one level can let you start in a more favourable position in the next. It generally won’t be an overwhelmingly favourable position, but when you’re fighting the clock every little bit helps.
The new campaign is overall pretty difficult. This is a campaign for those who are already familiar with Unity of Command 2, and not for people brand new to the game. That’s mostly a good thing, although people who end up getting Unity of Command 2 specifically for this DLC are in for an uphill struggle. The campaign is tough, but it’s still fair.
The new units and the new terrain type, bogs, are of course useable in the scenario editor, and a few mods sprung up after the last DLC that used its assets. Hopefully this one will inspire the modding community the same way as the scenario editor is quite robust in Unity of Command 2.
Unity of Command II – Barbarossa is another solid expansion for Unity of Command 2, with really good level design through the entire campaign. Despite the seemingly limited scope of the campaign, Germany vs. the Soviet Union, the designers have managed to create a lot of varied levels that feel true to their historical inspiration and most importantly are fun to play.
This is not a DLC that will win you over if you’re not too fond of the main game, it’s mostly more of the same, but anyone who enjoyed Unity of Command 2 and its first DLC should check this one out. It’s different enough to feel fresh, yet cleverly builds on the things that made Unity of Command 2 so good to begin with.