User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 86
  2. Negative: 57 out of 86

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  1. Apr 4, 2013
    This review is based on patch 1.32 and all modules, primarily as a single-player game. First of all I'll freely admit that version 1.00 was a buggy unplayable mess. The current version is completely stable on windows 7 and nearly all initial complaints have been addressed. The most important thing to realize about this game is that it is a hardcore tactical military simulator, not a blockbuster RTS-game. Past and current military professionals might enjoy this straight right away, others may need to read various US Army field manuals, mechanized infantry platoon and squad FM being a good start. CMSF is a highly intellectual challenge where real-world tactics work and are rewarded. Minor mistakes can be severely punished. Luck is a minor factor, rarely deciding the outcome of a given scenario. Realistic victory conditions; neither side will mindlessly fight to the last man, a 15% casualty-rate might be enough for your mission to be declared a failure. I don't think this game is a perfect training tool for real life military forces, but can probably be applied with considerable success to illustrate key concepts of modern warfare. CMSF offers both turn-based and real-time game. Turn based feels more structured and forces you to plan and time your actions more precisely since you have NO ability to influence your forces as the 60 second turn plays out. Veteran and Elite skill-levels disables borg-spotting and fosters attention to your command and control. (Iron skill-level where even friendly units must be spotted on the battlefield is too hardcore for me.)

    Clunky user interface (learn hotkeys immediately).
    Dated graphics (but acceptable for the genre).
    Occasionally poor pathfinding (Issue more precise orders).
    Asymmetric warfare may be a turnoff for multiplayer games
    Suspect DRM incompatible with Zonealarm anti virus/firewall.

    Outstanding sense of realism.
    Modules add great variety in allied units.
    Different allied forces benefit from application of their respective doctrines.
    Great campaigns with lots of varied mission types.

    Above all: CMSF is a great and continuous learning experience about modern warfare. Highly recommended! I hope the next installment in this series will have a more userfriendly DRM.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. It looks and sounds great, but the lack of a tutorial is a major letdown, as the game is just too complex not to have one. Even the first few missions of the campaign are quite difficult and don't ease you into the game as they should. The simplistic AI also hurts the gameplay in the campaign mode too.
  2. I don't think I've enjoyed a wargame as much this one since I played the original Combat Mission game all those years ago. If you have an interest in simulating realistic modern warfare, and specifically seeing how the new Stryker concept would fare in battle, you can't go wrong with Combat Mission: Shock Force.
  3. Newbies may find it a little intimidating to get into, but perseverance brings reward in the shape of an immersive experience that’s about as fun as war gaming can get.