Combat Mission: Afghanistan + Demo

By Kieron Gillen on September 14th, 2010 at 3:00 pm.

His friends loathed him for his pretentious hat-wearing. 'Oh, you think you're so different, with your hat. And RPG.'

These masters of military strategy appear to have snuck up on us and delivered a surprise attack. We’re onto them now. The new stand-alone Combat Mission game – Combat Mission: Afghanistan – is available to buy now. It’s Battlefront’s first collaboration with a third-party studio, and consists of a couple of campaigns, with another ten standalone maps and a mission creator. There’s a demo available now, which comes with demo-unique two missions, so is probably worth downloading even if you’re already buying. It also features the full level editor, meaning you can play around, but just not save. They’ve also entered a VIDEO FRENZY. Six (count ‘em!) videos follow…

I’m just sad that there’s no room for a I Can’t Stand Up For Afghanistanding Down subject line. Sad emoticon.

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28 Comments »

  1. Fringe says:

    Seriously, these Combat Mission games just look like early alpha versions of games from the 1990s.

    How are these promo videos? What’s the deal?

    • Rich says:

      Lot of gameplay and technical depth. Less emphasis on graphics.
      World in Conflict this ain’t.

    • Peterkopf says:

      The game doesn’t play much better than it looks to be honest. The simulation is pretty broken. It basically has one very narrowminded way of doing everything, and you’ll be fighting the illogical consequences of using other tried and true tactics time and time again. That’s not even mentioning close combat, which is just in a league of it’s own when it comes to broken mechanics.

      I appreciate people trying though. I’ll certainly check out the demo.

    • Sam C. says:

      @Peterkopf
      The simulation is broken? What is the one narrowminded way of doing things? I’m just curious, because I never felt restricted to one tactic when playing Combat Mission.

    • Peterkopf says:

      The general accuracy of the troops is completely bonkers, which really restricts your ability to perform maneuvers. In todays warzones, UK soldiers expend an estimated 8000 rounds per kill, that’s 7999 rounds that fail to neutralize your target. You can compare that to the mechanics of Shock Force, where the rounds are very much on target as soon as you show your face.

      Specifically the narrow way of doing things is mostly limited to clearing buildings, where your abilities are extremely limited. I read up on some theory on a few wargamer boards, and the stuff people were saying ammounted to trying to cheat the game to get your vehicles as close to the building as possible, applying lots of frag grenades, and then taking whatever casualties that might rack up.

      The problem is that in real life you’d cover a heavily fortified building with AT4′s, marksmen and 40mm grenades to severely cut down the forces inside, in a general infantry operation. In Shock Force, doing that really doesn’t lead to similar results, so you’re stuck taking casualties of at least 50%, according to those theory people who are better at the game than I.

      And you would never get a vehicle (especially one as vulnerable as a Stryker) that close to a wall, since most municipal authorities in active warzones don’t have a lot of willing garbagemen, which makes those ubiquitous piles of rubbish perfect hiding spots for IEDs.

      The micromanagement involved isn’t exactly good gamedesign in my oppinion either. A well rehearsed drill like a clearing operation could be done automatically, with a few calculations based on enemy strength.

      I should say I’ve been hellbent on playing it in realtime, and that may be a mistake. I got pretty good at working around the batshit mechanics of it, but I’ve been studying warfare pretty obsessively for the last 5 years, and it’s just not satisfying that it’s so inaccurate compared to actual combat.

    • Sam C. says:

      Ah, I’ve only tried the demo for Shock Mission, that would be why I didn’t understand. I played quite a bit of CM: Afrika Corps and Barbarossa to Berlin. But I’ll give this demo a try.

    • Weylund says:

      @Peterkopf: So we go from “pretty much everything is broken” to “well this one thing that nobody else gets right either (house clearing) is broken”.

      Shoot, man, Arma 2 is a huge simulation with a tremendous budget comparatively, from which you would expect proper room-clearing, and half the buildings you can’t even go INTO. Battlefront has one programmer – now two. What do you expect? They deliver a lot more “sim” for your buck than any other game on the market.

    • Peterkopf says:

      @Weyland

      Arguably I did go a bit further than simply saying “The room clearing sucks”, and since the designers have put such weight on it in the missions they created, that’s still a very serious problem for the game.

      The fact that the simulation of fire is unrealistic is a lot worse to me, if not gamebreaking. When you can’t move your infantry around like you would in a combat situation, providing effective bases of fire from cover, you’re basically limited to maneuvering your armored vehicles around in ways you’d never dare in a real engagement. And even then, they might get taken out by an unusually lucky and effective RPG hit, fired from a window, which in reality would have meant a painful death for all the occupants in the room, thanks to the compression of the backblast.

      Believe me, I respect the fact that it’s a small production, as I said above, but that simply doesn’t make the content better than it is. I may admire developers like Battlefront and Bohemia, but the fact that they’re small doesn’t mean I’ll just lap up their games without any sort of critical awareness, especially when they charge what they do for their games.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Building and room clearing is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to simulation games, and I’ve yet to see it addressed realistically in any game. Even in games which “focus” on aspects of it like the Modern Warfare 1 and 2, and their allowance of penetrative walls and cover, you’ll see the game mechanic deliberately sabotage you by having doors that can’t open for you suddenly open up behind you and having enemy spawn in previously cleared zones.

      There should be a rule of level design that says if the enemy has a position from which to fire upon you, you should be able to in turn navigate to and reach that position. ie a balcony, roof, any window, etc from which you are or could be fired upon.

  2. Archonsod says:

    I’m still waiting for them to release the NATO pack for Shock Force dammit.

  3. Snall says:

    Who let bushes grow in the middle of the street…

  4. Freud says:

    That music is like bad music to my ears.

  5. Otagan says:

    After the twin insults of Shock Force and charging for Vista compatibility for games I already bought, I’m far from entusiastic about anything Battlefront has to offer anymore.

    • Rich says:

      “charging for Vista compatibility”
      They actually did that?

    • Weylund says:

      They charged for a patch that fixed compatibility for a few DX10 Nvidia cards that Nvidia had broken the Vista drivers for. It wasn’t a fix for the game proper, and the game was, what, eight years old at the time? They charged $5 for the patches to cover costs.

  6. Joseph says:

    This is vastly better than the most recent Shock Force demo. Infantry actually handles itself skillfully in urban areas — i ran a squad of engineers behind a building, and they climbed a low wall, proceeded in a file (it was narrow) and took out for enemies through windows.

  7. Bungle says:

    Attention RPS Writers:

    Your web page does not display properly on the Opera browser. The few of us that use it would appreciate it greatly if you could do something about that (none of your videos show up).

    • Vague-rant says:

      Opera user here. Videos showing up fine. Only problem is that the ad makes the lower background of the page completely white. Unless its meant to look like that.

    • Bungle says:

      D’oh. I was using the ad blocker. Sorry guys! I’ll stop blocking your sponsors and your page will render correctly again.

  8. Fenris says:

    But can I play as the Taliban?!

  9. Dejoh says:

    Allthough the Cheesy graphics may be fine for some. After playing the complete Arma series for a few years, including the new British Forces expansion add-on, Looking at the trailer for Combat Mission reminded me of a crude bochted up early 90′s game. Sorry, I’m spoiled for accurate renditions of military vehicles, not strange looking attempts

    • Weylund says:

      You’re comparing the graphics in an FPS (with ten times the budget, easy) to a strategy game?

      And you’re honestly touting the “fidelity” of the vehicles in Arma? Combat Mission at least has first-person references for most of the modern equipment they model – you know, guys who ride them or spend time around them and know what they look like.

  10. Aganazer says:

    Wake me up when they bring back the simultaneous turn based system. I really did not like Shock Force as a game even if it is a better simulator.

  11. John J. Rambo says:

    WeGo (simultaneous turns) is and has been an option since the release of Shock Force. Although, it was broken from Shock Force’s release up until patch 1.8 or so. Anyway it works well now and I suggest you try both the Shock Force and Afghanistan demos.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Horza says:

    Still waiting for the campaign addon for CMBB =/

  13. Jackson says:

    @DigitalSignalX that’s why I loved Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear, but loathed Rainbow Six: Vegas. Tangos literally spawning behind you in the room you just cleared… utter bullshot.