Commandos 2: Men of Courage (Issue 05, 7.9) was a stunning, if thoroughly unforgiving game. A top-down strategy that was as much about patience and endurance as it was about killing Nazis, it had a huge following on PC, and an equally committed (if somewhat smaller) fanbase on Xbox. Maybe that's why the next in the series, Commandos Strike Force, has taken the more familiar path of first-person shooter and chosen to disregard the top-down perspective. We suspect though, despite its new appearance, Commandos Strike Force is going to be hard - it won't just be about blasting your way to victory.
In the war-torn ravages of France, Russia, and Norway you'll command a small group of elite fighters, each with unique skills vital to the Allied movement (see Super Troopers, right, for a full debrief). As their leader the Green Beret, you make the decision on who to use, depending on what their skills are and the varied situations that come up in missions.
Each mission will allow full freedom of movement and execution like in the original games, just so long as you get the job done and your men extracted in one piece. Levels will be completely free-roaming, often having multiple paths - the only question is how you choose to use the environment around you. The use of the first-person perspective won't mean a complete diversion from the stealth and subterfuge elements that made the originals so unique. Instead, it has been implemented in such a way as to suck us right into the action, rather than having us acting like chess piece-shuffling gods.
The missions will be just as broad, deep and fraught with danger as before, ranging from prison breaks to the destruction of a Nazi fighter ship. You'll interact with the underground resistance movement from each country who'll offer you help and advice, plus you'll also have to ambush enemy lines, preventing them from reaching the battlefields of Europe.
For the first time too, Commandos will be going Live. A variety of modes will be available from Deathmatch to Capture the Flag, but the more interesting option will be to play co-operatively. With real soldiers working together with a range of skills, we could find ourselves leading whole leagues of highly trained soldiers and, if we're not up to commanding, there may be potential rebellion within the ranks.
Ignacio Perez, the CEO of developer Pyro Studios, told us this was the company's most ambitious project to date. "By combining the tactical approach of the previous Commandos games with the intense action of an FPS, we hope Commandos Strike Force will provide a more cerebral approach to the war game genre. We believe that we're going to set a new benchmark for World War II videogames."