Men of War II Review — Explosive Reenactment

Men of War II should be familiar to any RTS player, with easy to learn but hard to master deep strategic mechanics.
Men Of War Ii Featured

The last game I reviewed was Little Kitty, Big City, an adorable romp through downtown Tokyo where players play as a mischievous kitten trying to find their way home, knocking over every flower pot they can along the way. Immediately after finishing Little Kitty, Big City, I jumped into Men of War II, a long-awaited sequel in a series depicting true-to-life action of one of the most dramatic, violent, and arguably important moments in human history—It’s funny how life works like that, huh?

Men of War II is a sequel to the original 2009 Men of War, created by the same studio, Ukrainian developers Best Way. While I never played the original Men of War, I did dip my toes into the series with Men of War: Assault Squad II, which, if I remember correctly, feels like a much smaller-scale version of the game I got to play for this review.

Men of War II should feel familiar to any Real Time Strategy genre fans. This is, of course, fitting, given the game’s long-standing foothold and reputation in the community. Regarding the core gameplay, RTS players who have never touched a Men of War game will still feel right at home with the familiar controls and mechanics despite the increased strategic depth Men of War II adds over its predecessors.

There is a lot of strategic depth. There were so many intricacies that I feel like I would have missed if the developers hadn’t supplied me with a little tip sheet for my review. Some things I should have known, in hindsight, Like keeping your riflemen far from the enemy to make use of their range. Other things, like the fact that said riflemen could fire further than they could see, surprised me and changed the way I played immediately as I realized that scouts are actually really important.

The game really separates itself in its absolute wealth of game modes in which to play said familiar mechanics. 

Men Of War Ii Infantry Charge
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Most RTS games feature a campaign of six to 12 missions and a multiplayer mode where players take what they’ve learned against AI and wield it against other players. It’s fun, sure, but I find this usually limits the play life of these games, at least for me. You can only do the same thing so many times before it gets boring.

Men of War II, of course, features your standard campaign and multiplayer matches but also has not one, not two, but four additional game modes with their own sets of rules and twists. Battalions feature an advanced 5v5 version of the typical gameplay, and Combined Arms takes a more complicated and strategic approach to your 1v1 style game. However, the most interesting modes to me were, without a doubt, Conquest and Raid.

Conquest is a new campaign-style game mode added to Men of War II. In it, players battle to control territory against an AI opponent. Currently, Conquest sees you playing on either the Western or Eastern European front, as either the Soviets, United States, or Germany, who are all of the available factions at launch.

Men Of War Ii Night Battle
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Personally, I’d love to see this list expanded, including the Pacific or North African theatre. I’d even love to see campaigns that are less represented, such as the Anglo-Iraq war, Greece, China’s struggle against the Japanese invasion, or other battles in South-East Asia.

The game plays like a high-tech game of Risk, with you moving battalions from battle to battle, capturing territory on a map. These battalions use player-customized unit load-outs, allowing you to really customize how you take to the field. These load-outs begin with basic infantry and war machines you upgrade through research using currency won from battles.

Interestingly, Men of War II mixes up the usual monotony of RTS games by having a diverse array of units and tech to use and throwing in some unique and special troop types for you to deploy. These are unlocked mostly through achievements and create some real uniqueness on the battlefield.

Men Of War Ii Tech Tree
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

You and your AI opponent take turns in campaign mode, with each player attacking the enemy’s nearest territory on their turn. This has you constantly shifting between attack and defense; Attacking a territory in one turn almost certainly means you’ll be defending it in the next.

Raid is very similar to Conquest, but instead of a map, it sees you playing on a series of randomized maps that get progressively harder. It’s a sort of roguelike game tossed into Men of War II, which I found pretty cool.

I had a few problems with the game, but I think most players would probably ignore them entirely.

The biggest issue I found was that the factions didn’t seem to be created evenly, largely due to historical accuracy. The German faction has a lot more unique units and war machines than the others, which makes sense considering they simply produced and experimented with more during the war than most others. Meanwhile, in some cases, the starting units for factions feel grossly uneven; The Soviet T40 tank, for example, always annihilated the German P1, and both were the starting tanks for their factions in Conquest.

Men Of War Ii T40
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

I encountered a pretty obnoxious camera control bug. My middle mouse button (which universally controls the camera) broke seemingly at random as I played. Having to resort to keybinds for camera control was pretty unpleasant, especially in a game that requires you to constantly move the camera.

The Final Word

Men of War II is a fighting return for the legendary RTS franchise, featuring deep strategic gameplay and unique new game modes to keep you playing forever. Fans of historical strategy games are in for strategic intensity and explosive action in Men of War II’s epic battles.

9

Try Hard Guides received a PC review code for this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in our Game Reviews page! Men of War II is available on Steam and Epic Games.

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

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