I played Commandos 2 back on the PC when I was a young teenager. I shouldn’t have, given the age rating, but I did, and I loved it. Or at least that’s what I remember. But here and now, some 16 years later, I’m not so sure if I can trust my memories. And no, I’m not going senile with old age.
Commandos 2 HD Remaster is, as the name suggests, a remaster of the original game. But what’s been remastered? Not much. You get higher resolutions and a cleaner image, but by and large, you’re getting the exact same game, except with new bugs.
The controls have been revamped for modern gamers, too, and they’re alright. It’s weird playing with a controller, and it doesn’t offer the same accuracy or intimacy as playing at a desktop computer, but it’s functional. What’s really handy is that there’s a dedicated button to bring up the help menu at any point during play to give you a reminder of the controls, complete with an on-screen overlay. I didn’t find myself using it often, but it was comforting to know that it was there.
Commandos 2 is a strategy game where you lead small teams behind enemy lines., It’s not an all-out warfare game, but more about stealth, strategy, and careful execution. Rarely will you be able to play a mission through to the end by running in all guns blazing. You need to take note of the objectives and then find the path of least resistance. For some this may be boring, but for us old school players, it’s sweet.
However, man, this game is hard. And I mean really hard. I’ll admit that I’ve not come anywhere close to finishing the game, and I’ve even had to consult a few online guides.
The levels are generally quite large and there are often multiple ways to complete an objective. That said, there’s always an “optimal” way that turns out to be the easiest. I’ve spent many hours wasting my time.
There’s a cast of characters who all have their own unique skills. The Thief is agile and can sneak around quickly. The Scrapper can lay explosives, and the Green Beret is tough as nuts. Mastering the different skills is essential, and a lesson I quickly re-learned – not that it helped me all that much.
For the life of me, I just couldn’t get invested like I used to. The controls are fine, but they’re not for me. And the presentation is also a hindrance. The camera is pulled in too close and the general camera controls aren’t all that great, with the only option being to rotate the camera around your soldiers. It makes spotting enemies a pain in the arse and I’ve had many a mission go south because I didn’t see a guy hanging out behind a wall or building.
The gameplay of the original is intact, but it’s not a great fit for consoles. Having that minute control with a mouse is what made the original version so good. Here, you have to move characters around using the left stick, which just feels wrong. Yes, it may afford you a little accuracy in moving from one spot to another, but controlling more than one team member at a time is frustrating and, again, caused many a mission to go south.
I was excited to play Commandos 2 again after all these years, but sadly, I’m left disappointed with the console port. The minimal visual upgrades don’t do the game justice, and with a few new bugs, camera issues, and the general feeling that the game doesn’t belong on the big screen, I can’t really recommend it to anyone other than the hardcore fans. I’ve since bought the game on PC, and it’s a far superior experience, and that’s where I’ll finish what I started all those years ago.
Commandos 2 HD Remaster PS4 Review
- Overall - Bad - 4/104/10
Commandos 2 is a great game, just not on consoles. It's a rare case of a game just not feeling right for the platform, and with poor camera options, minimal upgrades, and a few new bugs, you're better off playing the original and forcing the resolution up to HD.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.