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  1. I had high hopes for TOW2. The game promised to have improved AI behavior, improved damage modeling, new campaigns, etc. After several days of playing, my initial impression is that the game hasn't changed all that much from TOW1. It seems like the exact same problems that ruined the first game are still here: 1) Campaign missions. How frustrating is it to micromanage your units for hours on end only to have your troops overrun because the enemy nearly always has a 2:1 ratio (or worse) in troops and armor? All games need to strike a balance between realism and fun/playability. Well, this is game is neither. Is it realistic to ask my four panzers and two squads of infantry to take a village that has two squads of infantry in buildings, three AT guns covering the avenues of approach, and four tank destroyers roaming around? It is suicide, especially given the game doesn't model smoke properly and off-map artillery is rare. 2) AI. I understand that no AI is ever perfect, but how many times do I have to watch my tanks take the worst path to the enemy? How many times do I have to watch a tank drive in reverse toward the enemy, or stop moving with the hull facing 90 degrees away from the enemy? How hard would it be to code it so tank crews did their best to have the front of the tank always face the enemy? I shouldn't have to always micromanage that. Worse, it is almost like the developers realize the AI isn't that good, and so the give the CPU player more units to compensate. 3) Sight lines. One of the most annoying things about the first game was micromanaging a tank to get just close enough to shoot at an enemy. Nothing is more frustrating then watching an AT plink your tanks while your tanks cannot shoot back. It's very simple: if an AT gun has sightlines to shoot at the turret of my tank, and my tank has sighted the AT gun, my tank should be able to shoot back. In addition, enemy AT guns routinely sight my crawling infantry at over 600 meters, while I cannot spot the AT gun. Really? Ten soldiers can't figure out where the shots are coming from, yet the AT gun can see my men? Did the game not model binoculars? 4) Low frame rates. The game runs like crap, regardless of my video settings. A quick glance at the forums made me feel better - obviously I'm not the only one with this problem. Then I felt worse, as there doesn't seem to be an easy fix. More bad coding, apparently. Given the limitations, assaulting an objective eventually comes down to one of two outcomes. One, you pray that your off-map artillery (if you have any) hits enough of the enemy AT guns (that you hopefully have spotted) to allow your troops to use actual tactics, or two, you bull rush the village with all your infantry and tanks and pray. Bull-rushing usually ends up with your tanks driving past AT guns only to be hit by random bazooka shots, while 90 percent of your infantry is cut down because they stop running halfway to the objective. What makes this all so frustrating is that TOW2, like TOW1, has so much potential. I've glossed over a few other frustrations (one Brit tank?) but regardless, the game feels unfinished. As a consumer, in addition to frustration, I feel somewhat cheated. Who did the playtesting before this game was released? Did they not notice the problems? I would never buy a car with a faulty engine or a house with faulty wiring, and yet I'm not supposed to be frustrated when I buy a game with faulty AI? Frustrating, Battlefront.
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