Combat Mission Cold War (PC) REVIEW – Frozen In Time
The current market for strategy games is challenging because of the difficulty in combining their complex gameplay with modern design sensibilities and philosophies. Combat Mission has a rich and long history. It was a bridge between tabletop wargaming, and digital media. Is Battlefront.com’s Combat Mission Cold War able to ride the latest developments in the genre?
Combat Mission Cold War simulates a wargame in which prospective commanders play out hypothetical battles on the battlefields West Germany during the late 70s/early 80s. They will be either NATO’s US contingents, or the Warsaw Pact’s Soviet forces. Battles will be fought with small platoons of troops and a few squads, as well as large battalion-level battles with many troop types. These battles can either be fought single-player or multiplayer in turn-based or real-time modes.
Combat Mission is full of exciting content and many modes that players will enjoy. You can choose from a variety of scenarios, including campaigns that have a series of linked missions. There is also a battle mode with many customization options so you can get right into the action. A fully functional scenario editor allows players to create and implement their Cold War “what-if” scenarios.
There are many connectivity options available for multiplayer. These include direct IP address connections to automated play-by email systems. These more complex options are a remnant from Combat Mission’s older installments but they’re still great options for additional flexibility.
Combat Mission’s strength is its authentic, detailed and realistic tactical gameplay. Combat Mission is no exception. It has the same combat systems and features as other wargames from Cold War.
There are many units, vehicles and weapons to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The Cold War setting makes the game stand out. Factional distinctions add another layer to understanding the intricacies and use of each troop type. Combat Mission Cold War is a highly skilled force with a lot of tactical decision-making flexibility and depth.
Combat Mission is a game that makes intelligence and reconnaissance an integral part on the battlefield. It includes unit optical equipment, terrain and unit stealth affecting spotting. This system is unlike any other strategy games, which simplify it or make it too simple. This combat approach makes maneuvering around the battlefield, firefights and other activities more difficult and frustrating.
Effective combined arms tactics are crucial for victory because they not only take into consideration different weapon systems but also the layout and location of dominant geographic features. Combat Mission’s precise command and orders system allows for complex plans and maneuvers to become a reality. It also gives the player unprecedented control and flexibility to try new tactics and positions. But, relying on exact control can be a double-edged sword.
Combat Mission Cold War is the best example of the problematic and polarizing strategy game design. The problem is that the game’s gameplay is overemphasized in Cold War’s instance. This causes the whole experience to be ruined.
It’s not okay to make the same mistakes or fall into the same traps over and over again. Especially when similar games have learned from their mistakes and helped propel the genre forward. Combat Mission Cold War, aside from minor graphical and UI changes and basic changes in setting, feels like a game that was released in 2007, which is the year that the engine was updated. This also despite the fact that the series has been doing this same thing for more than 14 years without much change.
Its presentation is the first problem. The graphics and audio are not great, but they do the job with basic terrain and buildings textures and decent unit models.
The UI is the most problematic when it comes to presentation. It is incredibly frustrating that there are no tooltips for the dense unit UI. This will require players to do a lot of alt-tabbing and research outside of the game to become familiar with the UI.
Worst, Combat Mission Cold War was not built to run on 1080p screens. This means that the game UI may shrink to the point that it is impossible to read depending on the setup. To scale the UI, you can reduce the resolution to any lower than the standard desktop setting. It is best to set it to 1024×768 in order to make use of the excess negative space. This game engine needs to be overhauled urgently.
The granular control system has a double edged sword. It gives players greater precision and allows them to make more precise orders. However, it can also be tedious in large-scale battles. This is due to the absence of a system that can control and command groups of units.
Additionally, the camera controls can be difficult to use in a game that relies on the study of the terrain and battlefield. This makes it frustrating and exhausting to read the battlefield. It is very frustrating to not have overlays or line-of-sight tools (the inconvenient unit command doesn’t count). Players will spend a lot of time fighting the game’s controls rather than engaging in tactical decision-making.