User Score
3.3

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
    10
    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 aThis 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.)

    Cons:
    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.

    Pros:
    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.
    Collapse
  2. HughMan
    Dec 7, 2009
    9
    I did not play the game as soon as it came out, but only after the new module featuring the British Army was released. I am thoroughly impressed with the game in it's current state. The tactical depth is amazing. Unlike in other rtsgames you have to really think about where to place your troops, when to rush, when to just sit back and let airsupport or artillery do their magic and I did not play the game as soon as it came out, but only after the new module featuring the British Army was released. I am thoroughly impressed with the game in it's current state. The tactical depth is amazing. Unlike in other rtsgames you have to really think about where to place your troops, when to rush, when to just sit back and let airsupport or artillery do their magic and when to retreat to another firing position. The only complaint I have is that the interface is a bit fiddly at first, but as soon as you learn the shortcuts it's ok. Expand
  3. JohnO.
    Nov 27, 2007
    9
    Bad start but worked better every patch. I think the community has responded negatively because they were expecting the be all end all.
  4. Sigmund
    Aug 27, 2007
    8
    Challenging! And great potential. Knowing BFC, patches (based on players' feedbacks, not whines...) will not only correct but also improve the game. I really like to play it...and get kicked alot :) . Lots to learn.
  5. BrendanF.
    Mar 19, 2008
    8
    Didn't buy this originally because of the bugs, but the word on all the forums seemed to be that patch 1.07 had finally turned this into the game it was originally intended to be, and so i bought it. Those people who talk of it being unplayable purely because of bugs or bad pathfinding should reconsider. The only gripes i have with it are the slightly dodgy graphics, but even Didn't buy this originally because of the bugs, but the word on all the forums seemed to be that patch 1.07 had finally turned this into the game it was originally intended to be, and so i bought it. Those people who talk of it being unplayable purely because of bugs or bad pathfinding should reconsider. The only gripes i have with it are the slightly dodgy graphics, but even Battlefront admits in the first page of the manual that they had to skim down some features (graphics) to make others better (ballistics, physics, etc). And its not difficult if one uses real tactics. If you ask for realism, expect to be punished if you don't play it realistically. Fire and Movement, anyone? Expand
  6. JensB.
    Jun 29, 2008
    8
    I would have given this game a 3 when it was released, however, after eight patches, this game has improved immensely. There are still issues, especially with infantry combat in dense, urban terrain, but overall the game is very playable in its present state. If you were disappointed with this game 6 months ago, I recommend giving it another try now.
  7. ArtP.
    Oct 24, 2007
    8
    I liked it when it first came with the bugs and each time they patch it, it gets better.
  8. FredericN.
    Aug 18, 2007
    8
    While unpolished at release, a true gem, and spectacular fun and interesting. With Battlefront's previous track record the CMx engine will once again define wargaming.
  9. JohnJ
    Apr 19, 2008
    8
    Now at 1.08 this game is not buggy any more, so ignore the low scores here talking of buggy. Nevertheless, although a fun game and I can give it an 8 easily, it is not as good as the previous Combat Missions, especially the first one. If you like the original Combat Mission, you will like this. Play the 1.08 version and you'll find it's almost as good as the previous Combat Now at 1.08 this game is not buggy any more, so ignore the low scores here talking of buggy. Nevertheless, although a fun game and I can give it an 8 easily, it is not as good as the previous Combat Missions, especially the first one. If you like the original Combat Mission, you will like this. Play the 1.08 version and you'll find it's almost as good as the previous Combat Mission's, and given how good they were, this makes it a pretty good game in it's own right! Expand
  10. [Anonymous]
    Aug 18, 2007
    7
    It has bugs but is enjoyable game.
  11. Niccolo'D.
    Nov 27, 2007
    7
    Great game, with some issues to be addressed.
  12. ChrisR.
    Aug 1, 2007
    5
    Incomplete, akward UI and missing many of the essential features from Cmx1. Hopefully will get better with future patches.
  13. SB
    Apr 1, 2008
    5
    I played the latest demo (V1.07) and it just misses the sparkle the old CM games had. Those were games with refreshing gameplay, cutting edge realism and graphics for its day and age. And you could feel those gameswere clearly labours of love. Al that seems to miss in the new Shock Force game. While the setting is interesting all the other points seem to be against it. It's not I played the latest demo (V1.07) and it just misses the sparkle the old CM games had. Those were games with refreshing gameplay, cutting edge realism and graphics for its day and age. And you could feel those gameswere clearly labours of love. Al that seems to miss in the new Shock Force game. While the setting is interesting all the other points seem to be against it. It's not refreshing enough on any front, gameplay wise it feels clunky and the graphics are subpar. Everything feels less then the old games, even the unit lists are noticably short. The best this demo did is made me want install the good old CM games again. Not a good sign. I wish Big Time Software all the best in their endavours but I can't escape the nagging feeling they could have done better with this game. I wouldn't recommend this unless you are a hardcore grognard or a big BTS fan. Expand
  14. NickS.
    Sep 9, 2007
    4
    The thrill has gone... A very paltry offering compared to the original CM series. I guess they wanted to hook in some of the zap and zoom crowd.
  15. DanH.
    Sep 27, 2007
    4
    Disappointing. Have purchased and been a big fan of all previous releases - very let down by this game. Its not so much the UI if you're already a fan, although they didnt need to change it. Many things are missing from the game, and there is just this sheer lack of diversity in the game. Got bored with it in 1 week - where i played all the others for months and months, and continue Disappointing. Have purchased and been a big fan of all previous releases - very let down by this game. Its not so much the UI if you're already a fan, although they didnt need to change it. Many things are missing from the game, and there is just this sheer lack of diversity in the game. Got bored with it in 1 week - where i played all the others for months and months, and continue to. Kudos for trying something new, but i think BFC should stick to what they know. Expand
  16. MichaelD
    Sep 29, 2008
    4
    What you get out of this game, like anything, will depend on what your expectations are. Presuming that you are approaching this title for the same reasons that people approached the first three CM titles, and for the same reasons that the developers claim to have published the game, this reviewer feels you will likely be disappointed. That reason would be to find a playable, What you get out of this game, like anything, will depend on what your expectations are. Presuming that you are approaching this title for the same reasons that people approached the first three CM titles, and for the same reasons that the developers claim to have published the game, this reviewer feels you will likely be disappointed. That reason would be to find a playable, entertaining, perhaps even thought-provoking squad-based, company level tactical 3D wargame. The positives; CM:SF at its most basic level seems like its predecessors. The player is presented with an open ended game with a map editor, scenarios, a linked-scenarios game option, and a random scenario generator. Play is still turn-based, with 1 minute "movies" interspersed with orders phases in which both sides give orders. Play is resolved simultaneously. Even board game designers knew that "Si-Move" was more realistic than sequential turns back in the early 1970s. Additionally, those Zombie-critters in the first CM games have been replaced with stunning 3D models, and adequate animations. All the wheels on the tanks turn, men reload magazines, they even give first aid to injured soldiers. And hey, you want to play in real time and forget the goofy turn system, there is a real time option too. And if you still want to stop and catch a breath, you can pause the real time. They fixed the "borg spotting" and now each unit traces LOS independently of others. So what could possibly be wrong? It's the same old CM, just better, and more features, right? Unfortunately, no. Aside from the most obvious change - a modern day fictional war in Syria that may or may not appeal - many of the old CM features have been gutted. First of all, the game is so data-heavy, with individual tracking of ammunition and small arms fire, that PBEM files are bloated. There is also no way to play turn-based over the internet. It's real time only. If you were a fan of the Quick Battles - there are no random maps. The data was too much to be able to do them "on the fly". There are no more point purchase systems for the QBs, either. In game, there are a lot of handy features that didn't make the transition - LOS tools or ambush or shoot-n-scoot or seek hull down. Some have work arounds (the target command works as an LOS - unless you have an unarmed unit), but some don't. The main objection is that the biggest complaint about the old CM - the 3-man representations on the map of entire infantry squads - have been replaced with 1:1 representation. But the individuals on the map don't act like individuals. Just about everything is abstracted; there are no interior walls in buildings - but there are exterior windows and doors (you can tell because the men won't jump through the windows, and the pathfinding is so poor that men will run circles around entire buildings trying to find the doors even if it means exposing themselves to fire to do it). LOS is supposedly drawn to each man individually, but an underlying 8x8m grid of "Action Spots" also controls such things as movement - though there are no visual clues on the map as to what is determined by the action spots, or where they are, exactly. You still control squads as if they were squads - not individuals - which means if you want to replenish your squad's ammo from its APC (another welcome new feature) - you send the entire squad running off the firing line to do it where in real life you'd just send one man back for an ammo can or an armful of bandoliers. There is a serious "scale-mismatch" as one veteran wargamer described it at the official forums. The developers lost sight of what made the original game fun and tried to broaden their retail base to include real time customers while abandoning commitment to crucial philosophies of game design. Worst, perhaps, the AI has largely been removed. Granted, it was silly to watch platoon HQs and mortars leading counterattacks in the first CM games, but the AI in CM:SF is entirely scripted. The scenario designer now sets the agenda by having the enemy react to the clock, not the tactical situation. There is still a TacAI, but the developers are still working out the bugs, and it mostly determines defensive actions. The AI won't counter-attack you if you take a victory location - unless the script calls for it. There are multiple scripts available for each scenario, but the AI still won't act dynamically to what you are doing except by sheer coincidence. The "campaign" released with the game replaces the popular Operations model of the earlier CM games. You will never be able to fight over the same terrain as in the early games. Instead, you have a simplistic branch system of linked scenarios with which you have no control to make decisions on which units you will employ - you're there for the ride. If you're mostly interested in pretty graphics, CM:SF won't disappoint. The night-time effects are good; daytime effects are ok - still some work to be done on shadows, and battlefront has said they have no way to fix the fact that bunkers and trenches are impossible to hide. That's right - you get a bunker or a trench and the terrain is deformed wherever you put it, and the enemy can see that wherever you place it on the map (actually, the scenario designer will place the trench for you - it's not your call, and you can't dig foxholes, either, nor are there roadblocks or barbed wire). Unhidden trenches and bunkers are not cool for head-to-head play. Between two friends, not an issue, but perhaps its no small wonder there haven't been any tournament ladders springing up with the same wild abandon they did for the first CM games. As nice as the vehicles look on the move, other animations are silly - inappropriate weapons reload animations (those US troops don't know how to use the hold-open device on a reloaded M4 apparently) and really silly building demolitions - pull you out of the environment pretty quickly. The official forums for the game will inform you far better than a review here. The fact this game went to the clearance bin so quickly should inform you also. Nine months after release and the game has seen 8 patches (one was required on release day) with no official announcement to when the patches will be complete. And yet the game is already retailing for less than 8 dollars. Compare the price of this game to that of its earlier predecessor Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, still retailing around the 20 dollar mark on Amazon. 8 dollars is a fair price for this product and there are enough fans to be found at the official website that you will find plenty of company to enjoy the game with. The developer has promised at least one add-on module to incorporate Marines into the game with additional Syrian units. Best advice is to download the demo and try it out for yourself. Bear in mind the latest patch features will likely not be reflected in the latest demo, as this does not get updated with each patch. A word to the wise, however - an educated guess is that when this game engine progresses to the Second World War, the modern setting will be quickly forgotten. The developer has only one coder working on their titles, and demand for the WW II version has been high. After a series of mediocre releases (CM:SF, Theatre of War, T-72), BFC will be looking to appeal to new audiences - there will likely be little future in modules for this one after the promised Marines module comes out, if demand for the WWII titles is as high as is anticipated and sales of that popular genre manage to eclipse the modern games. Expand
  17. SL
    Jul 31, 2007
    3
    Buggy, crashing, features missing.
  18. SteveH.
    Aug 17, 2007
    3
    Buggy, clunky interface, and poor graphics (particulalry when viewing from high levels). Is related to its namesake line of games in name only. It seems Battelfront has decided to remove some of the best features of its earlier games, including random map building and allowing users and scenario designers to tailor their forces. Most disappointing release from an otherwise great company.
  19. DieALotNoob
    Sep 14, 2007
    3
    Dysfunctional AI, sub-par gfx, tons of hardware problems with AMD, Intel, ATI + Nvidia, dysfunctional LOS+LOF, obviously no quality control before release, huge dissapointment from this release which is nothing more than an open beta.
  20. EricB.
    Nov 27, 2007
    2
    A huge let down from Combat Mission. This is, for all practical purposes, unplayable. Too buggy, terrible AI, confusing interfce and documantation. And especially sinfull in this day and age, terrible graphics. But that's secondary to the game play. Where Combat Mission, all three of them, had game play that totally grabbed you and wouldn't let go, this is just so weak (stand A huge let down from Combat Mission. This is, for all practical purposes, unplayable. Too buggy, terrible AI, confusing interfce and documantation. And especially sinfull in this day and age, terrible graphics. But that's secondary to the game play. Where Combat Mission, all three of them, had game play that totally grabbed you and wouldn't let go, this is just so weak (stand off, hammer the Syrians into dust, move up... if the pathing will let you that is), that it's boring.Too bad, Combat Mission are great games, and if that play had been brought up to date with wonderfull graphics this would have been a winner. Expand
  21. MikeH.
    Sep 14, 2007
    2
    It could have been great, were it not for the omission of the WeGo game mode in multiplayer that made it unique, the horrendous amount of bugs, the annoyingly incompetent AI, the all too obvious use of abstracton grids, the untolerably bad performance on highend machines, the most unnerving and ugly interface since the turn of the century, and other missing but essential features for a It could have been great, were it not for the omission of the WeGo game mode in multiplayer that made it unique, the horrendous amount of bugs, the annoyingly incompetent AI, the all too obvious use of abstracton grids, the untolerably bad performance on highend machines, the most unnerving and ugly interface since the turn of the century, and other missing but essential features for a game like this like the LOS tool for example. Battlefront seems to have lost their sanity somewhere along the way, and delivered something that only blind fanatics could enjoy without feeling a bit ripped off or betrayed. Expand
  22. AnonymousMC
    Sep 15, 2007
    2
    Crap game of a once good game developer. This unfinished bug ridden alpha has nothing in common with its predecessors CMBO, CMBB and CMAK.

    Nonexistant TacAI, pathfinding is a joke, abysmal gfx programming, many problems with ATI and NVIDIA cards, nonfunctional quick battles, nonimmersive campaign. Spare yourself the money to buy this unfinished piece of wanna be wargame. Life is too
    Crap game of a once good game developer. This unfinished bug ridden alpha has nothing in common with its predecessors CMBO, CMBB and CMAK.

    Nonexistant TacAI, pathfinding is a joke, abysmal gfx programming, many problems with ATI and NVIDIA cards, nonfunctional quick battles, nonimmersive campaign.
    Spare yourself the money to buy this unfinished piece of wanna be wargame. Life is too short to waste time on this.
    Expand
  23. JohnD.
    Sep 27, 2007
    2
    Terrible dissappointment. Some things can be fixed (but won't be - like trenches turning into indistinct blobs from a few hundred yards out) and some can't (like no proper WEGO).
  24. GregoryL.
    Oct 5, 2007
    1
    Broken, unfinished, unplayable multiplayer.
  25. AnonymousMC
    Sep 14, 2007
    1
    Awful, awful, awful. This is a shameful offering from a once great development team. Still riddled with bugs after patch 1.02 and 1.03 and the infantry combat is laughable.
    Stay away from this game until it is patched to a level where it is at least average, though it will not save you from the horrible setting and complete lack of unit diversity.
  26. ChrisN.
    Sep 26, 2007
    1
    What a disappointment. I waited four years for this? Shame on Battlefront.
  27. DollarG.
    Sep 27, 2007
    1
    I have never in my life been so dissapointed. This , and the AWFUL "theatre of war" finally made me abandon Big Time Software (Battlefront.com)... a horrible, horrible game.
  28. JohnS.
    Oct 24, 2007
    0
    Incredible bug ridden piece of crap. LOS/LOF is totally fucked up. Pathfinding is a joke. Multiplayer is still absent/not-functioning even after the 1.04 patch. Stay away from this kind of crap! Battlefront obviously tried to rip off their loyal customer base, which build up over the past with the CMx1 titles, to make a quick buck. You better burn your money instead of wasting it with CMSF.
  29. Apr 4, 2013
    0
    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 aThis 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.)

    Cons:
    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.

    Pros:
    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.
    Collapse
Metascore
62

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.