Ten years ago the idea of giving every soldier in an RTS a name, a sense of self-preservation, and eyes capable of seeing further than 100m was as mad as it was daisy-fresh. Today, every military strategy does it. No - hang on a minute - they don’t, do they? Close Combat remains eccentric - a WWII skirmish series more concerned with subtlety and simulation than ’splosions and cinematics.
Based on a training tool made for the USMC, Modern Tactics shifts the top-down tussles from the Greater Reich to the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East. Twenty-five standalone battles recreate the kind of firefights that have peppered papers and TV newscasts for the last decade or so.
That variety comes at a price. CSO Simtek have chosen to empty out their map drawer, rather than fashion a coherent campaign. Remember the strat layers in CC5 and CC4, or the back-and-forth ops in CC2? There’s nothing like that in CCMT. You just select a scenario, play it, then pick another. The pleasure of tracking a particularly brave Bren gunner through a series of battles, the pain of watching a recruitment pool slowly drain, is denied us.
Meagre compensation comes in the form of Strykers and Bradleys, potent infantry accessories like Javelins and AT4s, and new, long-overdue order options. CC2’s gallant Red Devils would have killed for a ‘dig in’ command; likewise CC3’s Panzergrenadiers to ride around in bulletproof APCs. Replays, much bigger battlefields and more accommodating MP complete an enhancements list that really needed ‘Slapped-into-shape AI’ to be truly eye-catching.
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