Commandos 2 & Praetorians: HD Remaster Double Pack
Developer: Yippee Entertainment, Pyro Studios, Torus Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Platform: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Age Rating: 16
Release Date: 18/09/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Fan or not, we are currently in an age of remasters with games such as Resident Evil 2 & 3 and more recently, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 receiving the remaster/remake treatment. What has come as a total suprise to everyone is the release of a Commandos 2 & Praetorians: HD Remaster Double Pack.
With gamers currently screaming out for other remakes such as the long rumored Mass Effect Trilogy, how do these two relatively unheard of strategy games fare now they are thrust back into the spotlight?
Time After Time
The announcement of the Commandos 2 & Praetorians: HD Remaster Double Pack came as a complete suprise to me. Both titles received relatively high acclaim when they were originally released onto PC, but both rapidly slipped into the gaming history books. Commandos 2 has prevously attempted the console port as it was released on to the PlayStation 2 however, Praetorians is receiving its first outing away from PC and to an extent you can tell.
Both games are real-time strategy games but offer vastly different experiences. Commandos 2 places you in command of a small team of highly-skilled commandos who perform the impossible against the back drop of World War 2. Praetorians on the other hand places us in command of a large army of the Roman Empire whose might is tested across various large-scale conflicts.
Commandos at the Ready!
Commandos 2 starts of with a couple of tutorial missions that give us a very basic introduction to the team that we will be commanding. Each Commando has a particular skill set and traits which mean that they are more suited to certain tasks than others. For instance the Green Beret is able to bury himself in the ground to avoid detection, whilst the Seductress can use her feminine charm to seduce the enemy and dispatch of them quietly. There are plenty of units at our disposal and each allows for various ways to complete the mission objectives.
Missons are laid out in a way that allows for multiple paths to complete them via any means necessary. At the start of each mission we are given our mission objectives then a pre selected group of units to complete them with. However in playing Commandos 2 you soon realise that the mission lay out isn’t as forgiving as lead to believe. Enemy and item placement are placed in such a way that if you don’t do a certain task at a specific time then your team meets a swift brutal death, with very little time to correct your mistake.
This is a shame as Commandos 2 does have some interesting ideas and mechanics for us to try. Stealth plays a massive part and thankfully uses the tried-and-tested technique of using cones to display these zones. Theres nothing stopping you in going in guns blazing, but more often than not this will cause your demise. However if you take your time and plan carefully there is a robust strategy game waiting for you. Despite all of the variables at play, Commandos 2 is a tricky game to play. A massive plus point is that were given the option to save at any time. This I recommend doing after every action.
Romans, Gauls and Egyptians, oh my!
The trouble with most RTS games that have been ported onto consoles are the controls and often poor animations that bleed over. With these factors in mind, when compared to Commandos 2, Praetorians feels incredibly dated. With both a lack of content and mission variation maybe Praetorians should have stayed in the past…
The main campaign of Praetorians features three factions: Romans, Gauls and, Egyptians. Whilst lacking in playable armies we do get a campaign that’s set in an interesting time period, with the Roman Empire now starting to assert its dominance and the Ancient Egyptians starting to fade away. It’s not a time period that’s really been covered which is what makes Praetorians worth playing.
The combat in Praetorians is more featured on large scale battles than base building. Whilst we can capture towns and garrisons this doesn’t lead into the same style as micro management seen in Command & Conquer or StarCraft. Each unit on screen is a representation of at least twenty individual soldiers so it’s easy to get a sense of how much of a grand scale these battles would have been. There are traditional RTS elements at play, and map placement and unit synergy is a must have if you wish to succeed. Combat is fast paced, and with my experience by the time I had initiated combat the AI had already automatically attacked on my behalf.
There a a few tutorials available which show the mechanics and gameplay options. Movement is fairly straightforward and we also have an option to move units independently to their battalion. Likewise attacking is also performed by selecting a unit and then clicking on who you want them to attack. Aside from this other actions are tucked away in the bottom right corner. These actions allow the units to perform special actions during the battle. Whilst handy the manner in which we select these actions is awkward at the best of times and in my case were rarely used.
Along side the campaign mode, Praetorians also features a skirmish mode and an online mode. The skirmish mode allows you to create your own battles and objectives – something that Commandos 2 would benefit greatly from. Online works in the same way as skirmish and can feature up to 7 players or AI or a mix of the two.
The Commandos 2 & Praetorians: HD Remaster Double Pack is an average game at best, and is one remaster that should have stayed in the past. Commandos 2 whilst it’s aged is no where near as aged as Praetorians. Whilst Commandos 2 has a few neat gameplay mechanisms going for it, Praetorians sadly has nothing. Not even being in HD can rescue a game that was mediocre to begin with from still being mediocre. Praetorians looks bad, it sounds bad and it plays bad. If you’re a die-hard fan of either game then this HD remaster is right up you alley, however the HD graphics is the only content that’s different to both games’ original releases.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Commandos 2 & Praetorians: HD Remaster Double Pack by clicking the following link: Xbox Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.