Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 4 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 35 Ratings

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  • Summary: Combat Mission - Battle for Normandy (CM:BN) faithfully recreates the experience of tactical land warfare in Western France during World War Two. Using the unique Turn-Based (WeGo)/Real-Time hybrid game system of our proprietary CMx2 battle engine, the first installment in this new series covers the three months after the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944, from Operation Overlord in June through the Cobra Breakout in August. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jul 18, 2011
    Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy is a game for history buffs and war game enthusiasts. If this is your bent, you will not find a more enthralling and historically accurate game.
  2. Oct 19, 2011
    Return of the premier tactical wargame series to World War II is marred a bit by clunky camera and some big UI issues (no grand unit list after ten years, really?). But the game beneath is solid steel, and the additions of new Combat Mission engine good. If only the game would cover more than three months of combat. [June 2011]
  3. Aug 6, 2011
    Too fiddly and unforgiving for the popular palate, but those after reality-rooted WWII challenges should clearly investigate. [Aug 2011, p.94]
  4. Oct 12, 2011
    CMBfN is a very good tactical wargame saddled with pre-alpha looks and controls. [Dec 2011, p.74]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 7 out of 25
  1. Oct 29, 2013
    Never before have i played a WW2 game with so much attention to detail or that was so intense, and unforgiving. The game has a steep learning curve, but once you learn it you will be rewarded. I have CMbn and both its modules (expansions) and there is no other ww2 game like them in the world. Expand
  2. Oct 2, 2012
    Whilst I'll start this review by stating you'll probably have to have an interest in tactical combat or military history to get the most out of CMBN, I myself tick this box and have been playing CMBN for almost a year now, and still get as much out of it as I did when I first started playing. I'll also admit that Battlefront could do a lot to improve the UI (particularly where multiplayer is concerned. But this said multiplayer is where the best experiences are mostly to be had in CMBN (although their are some terrific single player campaigns out there made by the CMBN community - I particularly recommend 'Devil's Descent' which can be found in Battlefront's repository). In all but the smallest scenario maps you will probably need to forgo real time and play turn based due of the complexity of managing the large number so units usually involved. If playing multiplayer this will mean sending turns to your opponent (There is a great app called Head 2 Head Helper, made by Green as Jade, to take away the admin of doing this) who you'll be best finding on one of the forums, such as Battlefront's own. I prefer turn based play to realtime anyway, as it gives you more time to consider your moves, avoids you committing an afternoon or evening to a single game, and perhaps most importantly allows you to rewind and review great pieces of action such as long range tank KO or ambushing an infantry squad. My best memory of such an incident being when an opponent advanced two-three infantry platoons across a field just as my nebelwerfer artillery strike hit his lines, decimating his ranks to a few whimpering Tommies. All in all, I'm yet to play a game outside the CM2 series which comes close to matching CMBN's tactical credentials and level of detail paid to accurately reflecting the strengths and weaknesses of the arsenal of weapons available to the player. I would have scored the game 10 but marked it down to 9 due to the the UI and adequate if not great graphics. However, if you're in any doubt CMBN more than makes up for these deficiencies by creating the most realistic tactical WWII game out there. If you have an interest in tactical combat games or WWII, you need to give this game a go. One final note, many reviewers (including the previous user reviewers) have overlooked the level of detail and realism that CMBN. If fast pace is what you're after this is not the game for you, but if tension filled realistic tactical gameplay is something that appeals you'll wonder why wasted all that time with Company of Heroes. PS there is also an expansion pack which allows you to play with Commonwealth and SS forces. But even without the game is still a great one. Collapse
  3. Oct 29, 2013
    Combat Mission Battle for Normandy (CMBN) is an amazing update from the original CM games. I came to this series late and only played Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin and Combat Mission: Afrika Korps after CMBN was announced. I learned fast that using real tactics worked better then just throwing your guys around. I had plenty of fun waiting for CMBN. But wow CMBN is soooo much better than the original series. The modeling down to each individual soldier makes the immersion during battles amazing. Using real life tactics is even more important now. You cannot just order a platoon to cross an open field against enemy fire. They will take casualties and decide to save their lives and return to cover. But if you prepare your assault with supporting fire and suppression against the enemy you will succeed.

    The new spotting model is amazing I have spent plenty of time with no idea what my opponent is doing or what condition his force is in. If your guys cannot see the enemy then you see nothing. If they see and hear gun fire from behind cover all you get are contact icons. Only once your men see the enemy soldiers do you have any information about what you are facing. It creates a great effect as you try to decipher what your enemy is doing. It also means that even though the eye in the sky (i.e. you) might know information about the location of an enemy unit, you will not necessarily be able to get every unit under your command to fire on that enemy. Only those units that can see the enemy's location can fire and those of your units that have not spotted the enemy yet will only be able to fire at the general area instead of directing fire at a detected enemy.

    This truly is the ultimate war game. I used to play miniature table top gaming and hex based cardboard games but gave them up many years ago. The realism just was not there. CMBN has a feel to it that you just cannot get from the "I can see all your counters" games of the past. No game is perfect and neither is CMBN. Many people criticize the UI but I do not find many things that are an issue I am sure improvements can be made. There have been many defects reported and many defects have been fixed by the development team. In fact this is one of the best supported products I have ever used. There are going to be times when something happens in game that you will think is ridiculous and may be it is. Take it in stride as the fortunes of war and carry on. The great strength of this game is that it is not deterministic lets face it neither is real life. Bad luck can befall you and you might get caught in a corner case. Just treat those incidents as bad luck and go make some good luck for yourself by paying attention to real life tactics and take care of your men. The biggest short coming I find with CMBN is the scenario map editor. That could really use a UI face lift. There is no way to overlay images in the editor to help create realistic contour lines and building road positioning. Plus the AI planner is pretty difficult to follow and offers no ability to copy and paste. I tried to create a map and gave up. I still do not get how to control the AI's actions it just is not intuitive. But as far as playing the game goes I am very happy. I have been playing multiple games and multiple opponents sine the moment CMBN came out. I see no sign of my interest dropping. I am getting better a playing but still have opponents that are challenging.

    When I first reviewed this game I had a few criticisms with regard to the scenario editor. They have since enhanced that part of the game taking care of most of my concerns. Scenario creating is a challenge for sure but the game's editor no longer gets in your way the way it originally did. Bravo.
  4. Oct 25, 2013
    no contest,best tactical human v human WW2 system going.a good understanding of real world tactics will yield just cant beat playing a human mind.
    not for the short tempered or nature lovers:)
  5. Aug 19, 2011
    Not sure what BFC was trying to accomplish - actually, I do know; an appeal to a wider market base than had been possible with the first generation game engine that had made the first series of games so popular, playable and engaging. Unfortunately, much of the appeal had been stripped out for the first title of the second generation game engine, CM:SF, including the World War II setting. The Normandy title takes the series backs to its roots though curiously, despite being called "Battle for Normandy", only about 20% of the what went on in Normandy is included in the box - there are no amphibious forces, no parachute or glider invasions, no SS, the British are absent, as are the Luftwaffe and German paras, and so too are key pieces of American equipment, and elements of basic field engineering remain absent or awkwardly modelled. What you are left with are match-ups of vanilla German Army vs. U.S. in the bocage and the breakout between June, post-landing, and the breakout period (U.S. paratroopers are in, Rangers are not, neither are the captured French armour the Germans famously used on the Cotentin peninsula). The bocage is strangely modelled, too, with 30 ton tanks balking at driving over two-foot hedgerows, and the pathing problems of CM:SF seeming to rear heads, as Shermans scurry for flanks, trying to find hedge gates and exposing flanks in the process.

    Debates endure on various forums about the power of MGs, cover, memory leaks - just why DO those MG42s fire from 50 round drums instead of belts anyway?

    There is a definite following for the game. Some people just like watching Sherman tanks shoot at StuGs. CMBN makes pretty movies. Try the demo and see if this is for you. BFC has polished up their marketing approach and their graphics. I can't say that the game itself has been made any better - and judging by all the features that they are now furiously trying to weld back into the game engine, after having proudly stripped them out, i'm not sure even they disagree.
  6. Sep 10, 2011
    CMBN although initially looking like a good game and worthy successor to others Combat Mission games from the past upon further inspection begins to develop some serious flaws. Too often the battles seem to take place between roaming question marks and not actual units due to the way the lines of sight versus cover and concealment work. Furthermore the multiplayer has some serious flaws drawn from the game being overly ambitious for its engine. The game often stutters and freezes when attempting to play in real time, often leading to long setup and preparation times for the game resulting in only moments of actual game play. Once the shooting starts the engine cant track all the action and inevitably freezes. If you are looking to play a good wargame with a friend, I suggest you look somewhere else. Expand
  7. Oct 31, 2013
    A recent posting on the official forums has caused a flood of high-value reviews to be deposited on Metacritic this week, throwing the overall rating out of whack. This rating is for not only on the original but also the two modules released to date, CW and MG. The title is a bit of a misnomer, as it covers the ETO campaign from June 6 to September 30 not just Normandy.

    I suppose this game is a bit of a misnomer no matter how you slice it as major bits of equipment are missing despite the game engine making its debut in 2007, and WWII coming back down the pipe 2 years ago. Flame weapons for example, multiple AA weapons in a ground role, engineering equipment, funnies. This may seem like trivia, but anyone using the mission builder and trying to recreate a historical battle from a text book or personal account will as often or not have to close the book in frustration when they come upon some type of equipment, procedure, terrain type, etc. that was present in the battle but isn't included in the game. Canuck units have strange mixes of Brit vehicles that historically they never used, and the MG module makes you purchase SS and Brit stuff twice. You can recreate a fraction of what happened in any given portion of the campaign, and the limited interface means you have a very generic way of doing it. TacOps, for example, at least gave a broad palette of SOPs for forces under command that broadened the interface and opened up the player's decision tree. Just about every palette here is very narrow forces mostly feel the same, terrain is limited to a handful of types, victory conditions are vague and unfulfilling (marketed as "realistic"). CM now has so many patches and versions some of which you have to pay for good luck figuring out which.

    The devs are all over the map with what they're trying to accomplish here. The original games had a clarity of purpose, with cleanly laid out interface, a complete order of battle, and logical unit actions that at least made up for the lack of SOPs, especially in the heavily abstracted environment. The move to a directly representational three-dimensional world resulted in a fragmented interface with many missing pieces. Too frustrating, and way too costly, buying module after module as the devs slowly claw their way back to a state of the art, using paying customers as alpha testers for their experiment. After 13 years, it's time to move on to at least beta.

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