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Commandos 2
PS2 Staff Review by Ryan McCarthy

After more than a year of delays, Eidos Interactive has finally released the PS2 version of its PC hit, Commandos 2. C2 is a real-time strategy game, set against the gritty backdrop of World War 2. Id been looking forward to C2 for quite some time, as it seemed like an exciting change of pace from your typical console game. Yet, as is the case with most PC to console ports, developer Pyro Studios has failed to recreate the enjoyment of this game on the PS2. Despite the quality of this game on the PC, the PS2 version has turned out to be a shoddy port, with terrible graphics and an unintuitive interface standing out as main offenders.

From the very instance C2 loaded up (which also takes abnormally long), I could tell that this game is meant to be displayed on a monitor. The character models are very low detail and ugly, as are any other objects atop the backgrounds. Speaking of which, the backgrounds are the only decent aspect as, despite the lower resolution, still turn out crisp and highly detailed. The pixelation in the characters and objects is just too distracting however, and its clear to see C2 isnt even a small step above a PSone game. The interior rooms, fully rendered in real-time, suffer from the same ugly texturing and extremely low resolution. The transition between the outer and inner areas is also dreadfully painful, as it can take upwards of 10 seconds in loading time. Considering the amount of delays and similarity to the original PC version, there is absolutely no excuse for the horrendous visuals C2 displays.

While Im sure the core gameplay in C2 is quite good, the games disgusting interface prevents anyone from finding out. Probably one of the ugliest and most confusing interfaces Ive ever encountered, youll find executing even the simplest of actions daunting and frustrating. Everything from selecting your troops, to inventory management, to interacting with the enemy and environment, the controls are so complex, it takes hours of practice just to keep up. For example, the games tutorial consists of about 100 mini-lessons (dont scream yet, some are only 15-20 seconds each), and takes about 2 hours to complete fully. For most, including myself, C2 just becomes too complex and complicating to bother with. I could never really determine which of my commandos did what, let alone how to do any of it! Lets not forget the difficulty as well, which ramps up pretty high as of oh, the second training mission! Some will surely enjoy the excellent strategic aspects, as they are well executed. The addition of the save anytime feature is also a god send, considering most missions require no less than perfection in order to complete. It must be mentioned that aiming and firing your weapons is haphazard and ludicrous, taking away from probably one of the games most enjoyable features. This, combined with the uber-complex control scheme, makes the game near impossible whenever the action ramps up, or your seen by the enemy. And therein lies my biggest complaint about the game, each mission demands too much precision (not to mention each having only one real solution) from the player, and I found myself saving every 30 seconds, constantly afraid of being seen and thus having to start all over. The difficulty and controls ended up being too much for me and, I predict, will for most of you as well.

Orchestral soundtracks have been becoming more and more common in games nowadays, and subsequently the level of quality both acoustically and artistically is being consistently raised. The score for Commandos 2 is quite good, though it doesnt sound as good as others. It comes off a tad loud and fuzzy and at times seems out of place. The voice acting of your troops isnt grating, but its apparent that these actors are trying very hard to sound foreign, with little to no avail. Pretty much all the accents sound pretty bad, from British to Swedish, however your guys dont speak that much, so its not all bad. The effects though are very uninspired, and again appear to be have been poorly recorded, as the majority of the time they come through low and muffled.

There isnt anything else to C2 other than the main missions, of which there are only 10 (2 training as well). There are two higher difficulty settings as well, though no extra objectives are added. There really isnt much replay to each mission either, as despite the strategic flair, there is really only one way to complete your assigned tasks. Dont get me wrong though, this game will take you awhile. Be wary though, most of the time will be spent reloading after (a substantial amount of) dying.

Im always disappointed when after months of anticipating a game, it ends up shipping with flaws that pretty much ruin the entire experience. Throughout the history of this industry, we as consumers have been taught to endure delays, as they allow for more refined and polished gameplay experiences. Sadly this isnt always the case, as many games suffer numerous delays, only to still be released incomplete. Had the control not been so wretched, Commandos 2 probably would have been pretty cool. However, if you really must play this game, get it for the PC instead.

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