COMMANDOS 2 HD REMASTER
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on January 30, 2020
I remember being a strapping young lad of eighteen years old when a game fought its way onto my computer. The name of the game was Commandos and it drew me into a world of tactics, sabotage and fighting against seemingly overwhelming enemy numbers. To do so, I was being put in control of a number of hard-boiled soldiers who obeyed my every command, for better or for worse...
Three years later, Commandos got a sequel, called Commandos 2: Men of Courage, expanding the Commando universe and adding tons of cool features to an already awesome series. And, coincidentally, it is this game that the people at Yippee! Entertainment and Kalypso Media decided to remaster. Now, it had been a while since I issued orders to my troops, so I was more than willing to take the reins once more, travel deep into enemy territory and stop the Nazi regime from winning the war!
As of January 24, 2020, the HD release of Commandos 2 is available on Steam. This version ramps up the visuals to HD and comes with some other tweaks that will help pull this classic game into the twenty-first century. In Commandos 2, you are the commanding officer of a group nine characters, as opposed to the six you led in the first game in the series. Your merry band of fighters consist of a Green Beret, a Thief, a Sapper, a Seductress, a Diver, a Sniper, a Spy, a Driver and, last but not least, a dog called Whiskey. Each of these characters have their own skillset and the team will have to work together to overcome every obstacle in their way.
Now, let's get this out of the way first; Commandos 2 HD Remaster is far from flawless, mostly due to some graphics and performance issues. Then there's the controversial decision to remove all Nazi and other non-allied imagery from the game completely. Now, seeing as how WWII and all its horrors is a part of history, however dark and violent a part it is, I don't really know if removing all such imagery is the way to go, especially because it's a game that centers around WWII. Now, the technical issues can (and will, I'm sure of it) be addressed with a patch. If the aforementioned imagery will return to the game is a decision the developers will have to make for themselves.
Well, that's enough belly-aching for now, let's get back to the mission at hand and start with something positive; the game has never looked as good as it does in the HD Remaster. Because of the higher resolution, the minute details of this war-torn world come to life much better than they ever did. So infiltrating various places around the globe and doing what we do best: disrupt enemy operations and cripple the enemy war machine, has never looked better! To this end, each of your soldiers has a number of actions he or she can perform. Naturally, this being a war game, shooting is one of them, although it might not always be the smartest way to approach things. You see, Commandos isn't called a real-time tactics game for nothing. You must reach your goal through misdirection, stealth and planning ahead. You can try to shoot your way out of any given situation, but I can promise you now that, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you won't make it very far.
So, what are some of the key abilities in the game? Well, for quite a few of your team that is knocking an enemy out, after which some of our heroes can even tie that enemy up and hide him somewhere out of sight. You can even rifle through the enemy's pockets and take anything that isn't tied down, right down to the uniform he is wearing. Searching captured or killed enemies is a good way to come into possession of some seriously handy objects, like packs of cigarettes, used to distract enemies, keys that open doors somewhere in the level and even guns, which you can freely distribute amongst your squad members, provided they are in close proximity to each other. There are a ton of other objects to be found, so make sure you search every downed enemy. But before you do, make sure no other enemies can see you, as they have a tendency to attack someone who is killing their colleagues...
The fun thing about Commandos is that every member of your team forces you to take a different approach to things. While some may resort to blunt force at times, others rely solely on stealth and misdirection, like the Spy and the Seductress. You can even bring items from one Commando to another by using the trusty canine in your team. Whiskey the dog can be called using a dog whistle and can be subsequently be used to safely transport items across enemy territory, seeing as how enemy soldiers will not shoot at him. Whiskey can also be used to distract enemies by making him bark very loudly in their general direction, giving another team member the opportunity to sneak by said enemy, or taking him out quietly. Now, I'm not going to explain every little detail about all the abilities of your squad. You're just going to have to play the game for yourselves to find out what they are, but I will say this; you will have to use them all if you want to stand even the smallest chance to reach your final destination!
All in all, it is fun to play the Commandos 2 HD Remaster. Although it has its issues, I didn't really come across anything that made the game unplayable. I played the Commandos games almost religiously back in the day, and it is good to see that there are still a lot of people who also love and treasure these gems of real-time tactics!