Commandos 2 HD Remaster analysis. Commandos 2 HD is a remastering that does the right thing to modernize this classic and benchmark in its genre

Commandos 2 HD Remaster
Written by Kamran Haider

We return to World War II with our group of commands in a remastering with lights and shadows, which has brought us great memories of the original work. We tell you the result in our analysis of Commandos 2 HD Remaster.

That we can write and read about Commandos today is a great joy to me. There is something about this formula that does not age and that led this kind of a mix between stealth and strategy to have fans even in recent years, as Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun demonstrated. But Commandos, and especially Commandos 2, had an irreplicable charisma. There was something in the way of structuring the objectives and the small freedom of action when it came to realize each one of them. Not to mention all the possibilities offered by objects and soldiers. You felt the real danger of each vision cone and the Control + L snorting in your neck. There was even some fear in overwriting a previous game that would rescue us from a bad decision. Yes, Commandos has always been a ruthless saga, which keeps you hooked while the player experiments with the possibilities of each unit until he finds the most efficient way to achieve something that seems impossible.

That essence is still here, in Commandos 2 HD Remaster. Somehow, yes, it has been diluted. When you have nothing to compare with, it is much easier to forget about the cumbersome interfaces, the messy control scheme and how little intuitive each contextual action is. Why keep shift, for example, to open a door instead of changing the icon when passing through it? Was it necessary to keep a combination of buttons to rotate the camera and that it does not always respect the same position of its axis? These are things that, perhaps with a little more time and dedication, the Yipee team Entertainment could have modernized, so that playing Commandos today is a tactical battle against the enemy and not against the controls.

You can understand your strategy. This remastering is nothing more than a way to warm up engines, practice with the artistic and design style of these games and create their own delivery from scratch which, after all, is why they have bought the license. However, both Yipee! as Kalypso had to understand that behind the Commandos phenomenon there were a lot of players waiting for this remastering to be treated as it deserves, at the height of what is a benchmark in its genre; maintaining its spirit, but creating a product not only more accessible, but more polished than its launch has resulted.

The image quality has gained in resolution and it shows, but we miss more changes in accessibility

To this day, I have not had serious problems with the game. In my game at least, the low frames and bugs that broke the mission have disappeared, although I have read there that some other mission may still need extra work. It is noted that the study is running out of discount time with the most urgent mistakes, establishing a list of priorities. That means that other less dangerous but uncomfortable bugs, such as soldiers crossing structures or blocking the passage, are not completely solved. There are strangers, such as training mission 2, in which when launching a Molotov cocktail, it always falls in the center of the screen, causing this object to serve absolutely nothing. Other truly uncomfortable, especially when time is vital, and that makes us lose precision with the mouse when selecting objects and units. Luckily the last patch fixes the camera a bit more, especially the zoom options.

Of course, this union between bugs and lack of interest in creating a more accessible experience makes remastering a unique opportunity to continue captivating not only classics but also new players. The lifelong fan will soon dust off his mechanics, but whoever approaches Commandos for the first time will have to overcome a barrier, and this would have been the perfect occasion for there to be no obstacle in the first place. Now, if you can adapt, you will discover everything that Pyro Studios was able to contribute to strategy and stealth – and video games, in general – because there is something in its essence that does not age. The number of opportunities offered by not only each class but the objects that we can carry open the possibilities for us to decide if our infiltration is going to be silent, creative or not so stealthy.

Behind the enemy linesBehind the enemy lines

Little by little the bugs are corrected. In the latest version we can finally zoom in and out of the image with the mouse wheel.

Playing Commandos 2 again, I’ve noticed things that when I was younger I didn’t even think. Although there is a daily mission and clues to help you in your mission, the game is not at all an open book. It is part of the puzzle to understand each one of its subtleties gets the key you need, divert the attention of a group of soldiers or find the room to which you must go. Almost as if it were a graphic adventure, the puzzle pieces are there, but the game invites you to have everything “click” on your head. I perfectly remember the transition from Commandos 1 to Commandos 2, because it was not a simple “more and better”. Although I greatly enjoyed the two games and their expansion Beyond the Call of Duty — I don’t forget the name for obvious reasons — this sequel not only surprised by its better recreated and more spectacular scenarios. The puzzle was simply more complex. Adding new units created possibilities where there were none before and each of its levels allowed you to spend the entire afternoon until the map was completed. Sometimes even,

This remastering does the job of rolling back the player well. It is true that more work could have been done visually, especially as regards some animations that have even been lost with respect to the personality of the originals. But it has a curious effect: now it looks like you thought it looked in the past. After playing Commandos 2 HD Remaster, you just have to start the original game or watch a comparative video to realize that memory sometimes plays bad passes.

The foreground of the soldiers’ face has been worked on, but the rendering terrain has also been increased in the definition. A complex task, the truth, since working with 2D graphics and high resolutions does not always give the best results if no effort is put into it — it makes me think about how they will do it in Electronic Arts and its remastering of the Command & Conquer saga, by the way-. More definition is taken by soldiers on the battlefield, which now has somewhat more complex modeling, although that sometimes means that they do not quite adapt to the map. Here and there, the interface has always been chosen, from everything that adheres to the edge of the screen to the designs of the objects and weapons that we add to the inventory.

With few face-to-face clashes, you will succeed in Commandos. Here the stealth and the surprise factor are very important

Another detail that has been respected is the original Spanish dubbing, which we lost in the Steam version of the video game and which has been rescued here. With sound, remastering has always had complications. Some companies choose to recreate the melodies and double the dialogues again. In the case of Yipee!, We wanted to include the original sound work, trying to clean the tracks to the fullest, although there is still a lack of quality of the time. And then, of course, there’s that censorship that has accompanied the game and that eliminates every symbolic element that has to do not only with Nazism and swastikas but also with the imperialists themselves of the rising Japanese sun. I don’t know if Kalypso thinks that the videogame player is so childish as to feel affected by this symbology, honestly. His latest statements, which state that “We do not want to encourage racism, discrimination or exclusion with our games,” give the feeling of wanting to anticipate possible controversies. As the bodies burned by fire have also been eliminated, I simply believe that they have decided to opt for a path that does not hurt any kind of sensitivity – which includes, of course, eliminating Hitler from the original introduction -, and personally I cannot stand I agree with that since the original material had another spirit. Were other times of Commandos 2? Yeah right. And German Nazism were also other times. This is the story. You also lose your multiplayer mode, although I confess not to have played at the time, so I can not measure exactly how much weight it had in the original version.

However, I do not think you have to resort to the original or its other version if you want to live Commandos 2 for the first time, now that this has come out. The remaster has enough work to help make the game look better. However, there was much more that could be done in terms of redesign and refurbishment.I have no doubt that the actions of our commands could be more accessible and it would have been a better opportunity to try how, in the face of the new delivery. And, above all, the number of bugs that remain are still enough to make your experience at least uncomfortable. The result is a very just remastering for an excellent game that weighs the years. Fair enough, also, to heat engines for the future of this much-loved license. But the fan would have opened more arms to that future if the final product had been taken care of more.

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Commandos 2 HD Remaster does the right thing to bring back this classic with a better resolution for the environment and its characters. Unfortunately, it also brings with it a few bugs that are fixed patch after patch, but the Yipee team! He doesn’t seem to have wanted to stir anything that has to do with his control scheme, which could have made it more accessible for many players to also know for the first time what was, and probably remains, a benchmark in his own genre.

  • It is still Commandos 2, the benchmark in its own genre.
  • Resolution improvements on stage and their characters are appreciated.
  • Multiple bugs that are gradually being solved, but still make the experience somewhat uncomfortable.
  • An alternative, more accessible and intuitive control scheme could have been created.

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Kamran Haider

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