It took me three attempts (and quick blitz through the tutorial after no.2) to complete the first scenario of Unity of Command 2. As someone who hates repetition, I was surprised to find myself still having as much fun as when I started. While I’m already seeing ways in which UoC2 could provide clearer information to the play (Zone of control gaps), I’m also very impressed about how well the majority of the features explain themselves. The subtler concepts require a bit more work, but it fits in with the tried-and-true “east to learn, hard to master” motif.

Jack’s working on our full review as we speak, which should land on the same day the game launches, which is next Tuesday. Since we were fortunate enough to get sent a space code, however, I figured it was worth taking for a spin. I tried playing the original Unity of Command a few years ago but bounced off it quite quickly. Not sure if it was the theme (Eastern Front has never really been my jam), or the slightly more ‘puzzly’ nature of that game’s design, but I bounced off it fairly quickly.

It’s possible the same criticism could be levied against the sequel, but I suspect it really depends on the scenario in question. Present any kind of pre-set tactical or operational problem, and you’re essentially trying to figure out which place you should attack first. This was never going to be a pure sandbox game, but given the addition of card-play, improved logistics and less set-piece design I think there’s still plenty of room for the more desired levels of tactical decision-making. The AI is no slouch either, and I’ve seen it react three different ways (more-or-less) to my essentially same-y strategy across the attempts.

I’m not going to say too much more here – I don’t want to steal Jack’s thunder, but suffice to say I’ve only played an hour or two and I’ve already enjoyed myself more than I have with a lot of games I’ve played this year. Given the reputation of the original game and given how long it’s taken this game to actually see the light of day, it’ll be interesting to see what the wider reaction is.

Several of our peers in the video-world are already putting up impression vlogs and gameplay snippets (since there’s no embargo) if you want to get more pre-release impressions. In the meantime, I’ve taken some sample screenshots of the opening scenario. Enjoy!

Unity of Command 2 is available to wishlist on Steam and will release next week on Tuesday, November 12th.