I just finished last mission in Highland Games campaign (South Branch one), and I'm somewhat disappointed by it.
Highland games is my favourite campaign so far (I just miss the german one, yet), I highly enjoyed every and each scenario in this campaign, from the desert ones to the urban fighting. It is a very well designed mix of attack and defences from the stressfull advance street by street while an isolated force defend a police station (really got that Black Hawk Down feeling there), to the exhilarating turkey shoot to a double column of technicals in the desert.
Well, the last mission of the southern branch of this campaign left me with a bitter taste for a very bad design choice...
Bashar is in our Hearts mission begins like Alamo. You just sit with Santa Ana this time. Dislodging Syrians from the ridge is, actually, far easy than it sounds in the briefing.
No extra clever tacticts, just pop the barrel of your 120s challenger guns hull down over the small ridge that, conveniently, cover your force and fire at every ATGM which pops out while big guns roll over trenches with anti personnel shells and your CAP take care of bunkers. then I just pushed on my APCs and swept the trenches clean. 10 mins and every trench was empty. EMPTY.
As briefing told me to secure these trenches, I left my squads in some of them with APCs overwatching from a close distance and MTB from the valley waiting for a counter assault. I thought it was a very short last stand, demonstrating that superior assets and night vision give an edge over a determinated enemy in trenches if you just keep you head low and let a decent combined arms tactics do the work for you. BUT, at 50.00 clock, a couple of enemy SF squad just pop out FROM NOWHERE in the trenches, even in the trenches I was occupying with my scots! and their reaction timing split seconds!. I got 2 squads, 2 APCs and a HQ wiped out in 10 sec.
Just why? where they were supposed to be hiding? under the sand? in a Vietcong style tunnel? why a squad of veteran and trained soldiers, who was occupying the trench for 2/3 minutes wasn't able to spot 10 guys in full combat gear with ATMs ready to fire? I really didn't liked this, it spoiled out my fun, as it was unlogical and somewhat "gamey".
Three choises then, continue fighting with the other part of my force, scoring a very bad result I hadn't deserved (and, as it is the last mission on the campaign, loosing that as well), reload a previous save, mount my boys on APCs and set a target order on the spot where the bad guys will materialize in a couple of minutes, or restart the whole scenario, hide for 40 minutes in order to let every scripted reinforce pop out and than play it again (but with no fun, as I already knew where the enemy is deployed etc.).
I'm really disappointed, as I think this campaign is very well designed (and I simply love CMSF...). Anyone has got the same feelings?