Men of War 2

Posted:  May 20, 2024
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Men of War 2 was provided by Fulqrum Publishing for review. Thank You!

I was pretty excited to get my hands on Men of War II. I had played the original games a long time ago and remember that I enjoyed my time with them before games like Company of Heroes (CoH) tended to take over the WW2 strategy era. But now that Men of War is back after a long absence, how does it stack up against the competition?

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Men of War II takes place on moderately sized maps, with 2 armies facing against each other.

Well, Men of War II plays a little differently. Whereas CoH plays somewhat similarly to Age of Empires, where you build a base and produce units, Men of War II adopts an approach far more centered on individual units and managing them well to preserve and make the best use. Rather than producing units in a barracks or tank factory, units come from off the map, with reinforcements gradually being unlocked as you play the map.

This means you're stuck with what you're currently stuck with, so you must protect your units. You can't just go and produce more because you wasted them all in a fruitless attack. If you run in and try to rush the enemy with your infantry, expect to lose the entire squad and potentially cause you to lose the battle.

Many game modes also require you to select a "Battalion" at the start of the game, which generally falls under Infantry, Armor, or Support, forcing you to adapt on the fly. Infantry relies heavily on the cover and is good for holding a position. Armor meanwhile, is capable of more brute force, and can drive into combat and route the enemy if you aim your shots well. While this idea is neat, playing on a team where everyone has selected a similar battalion can be tough. It could mean you are kept from having tanks until late in the game.

Men of War II largely based their success on ground control. Borders dictate how well your army is pushing against the enemies, giving you a visual representation of how well the battle is going. Holding key points on the map will also grant you points in certain game modes. Units in defensive positions or cover get a huge advantage over units in plain sight, so you'll need to think tactically and decide where to position units to defend a specific point.

Your borders also dictate where your "Frontline AI" will position themselves. Each team has a frontline AI that no humans can control and is sort of a defensive line that will attempt to hold your border while you're off managing an offensive move. Pushing the enemy back will result in their frontline AI retreating and yours advancing.

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Vehicles such as tanks can take modular damage to disable them. The tank is parked on the border between the 2 armies, denoted by red and blue lines.

The gameplay itself is solid. The cover system is great and forces you to think tactically. The enemy AI is quite competent. I'm not the best player in strategy games, but the AI on "Normal" difficulty puts up a fair fight, causing me around an 80% win percentage. There are 2 difficulties above Normal, which I likely would have lost.

There's also some controversy over the amount of single-player content available, but in my opinion, Men of War II offers quite a lot. There are 18 story missions spread across 3 campaigns. The missions vary in length, but in my experience, depending on your skill, each should take around 30 minutes or so. Then there are 20 Historical Missions, which tend to be larger conflicts and will take a fair chunk of time each. Finally, there are Conquest and Raid matches, which feature random generation.

Conquest battles occur on a map, where you have to progress, capture land, research technology, and get the latest equipment for your soldiers. Raids are probably the closest thing to "Quick Battles," which throw you into a match when you pick the type of units you want to control.

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There are 4 different single-player modes to enjoy in Men of War II.

But you may have heard by now that Men of War II requires a constant internet connection, at least for now. Weirdly, despite the plethora of single-player modes that would work just fine offline, the game still needs to be connected to be playable. Due to the community backlash, the developers have stated that they will offer an offline mode.

As for multiplayer, we have Battalions, a PvP or PvE game mode, where, much like the Single-player Raids, you are put in charge of a battalion of troops and have to lead them to victory, either with other humans against a team of AI or against other humans with AI fighting on both sides. These tend to take place on larger maps, and if you want a more casual time, it can be fun to do some PvE with human allies.

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Men of War II offers a variety of multiplayer modes, with more available if you host your lobby.

You also have "Classic." In this mode, you don't control a battalion; you simply control the entire army. You have a certain amount of points to spend, which you accrue as the game goes on, and you can spawn units from off the map by spending those points. This is probably my favorite mode to play and is more in tune with other games in the RTS genre, where you can decide the composition of your army.

There is a reasonably healthy player base right now, so you should be able to find matches without too much trouble. In my experience, there were around 8 games available to join at any point during peak time. I also played a match in off-peak hours, and the quick match option found me a match in about 30 seconds, so it's not terrible.

You can also access a "Mission" mode if you host your lobby. This mode lets up to 5 human players play the game's single-player missions in a cooperative mode, which is a nice touch and, if I remember correctly, one of the things that set the original Men of War games apart from other RTS games of the time.

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Men of War II on the lowest settings, as you would run on Steam Deck.

Visually, the game is fine. It's not ground-breaking, but it does the job. Regarding audio, some sounds got a little irritating in the game, like when bullets strike metal objects. The stories also have voice-acting, and I found most voice-acting to be pretty poor and distracting. I most noticed it in the Soviet missions, when 3 characters spoke back and forth, and all of them were quite difficult to listen to. The general battlefield ambiance is okay, though, and there's nothing egregious outside of the voice acting.

Sadly, the always-online nature of the game creeps into single-player. As mentioned before, the game needs a constant internet connection to play. Still, it must also connect to a server to play even single-player. If your internet connection or the game's servers are struggling, you may experience lag in single-player matches or get kicked from the game entirely if their servers or your internet goes down. This also means you cannot pause the game in certain single-player modes. It's quite bizarre.

Men of War II - Steam Deck Performance

Men of War II starts ok; it supports 16:10 resolutions, and although quite a bit of the text in the game is small, it is just about readable. The controls do the job once you get used to them. Some hotkeys are unavailable simply because you need a keyboard to manage everything properly. Still, the basics are here, such as moving troops, rotating them, and the essential camera movement.

Unfortunately, despite the developers' stating that they had tested the game on the Steam Deck and that it has a native Linux build, it just doesn't run well on the Steam Deck.

Recommended Settings - 30 FPS, That's the aim at least.

In your SteamOS settings, set an FPS Limit of 30 FPS / 60Hz, and you'll want no TDP limit here.

I played with everything on minimum, and I mean everything. CPU usage is set to low, and everything else is as low as possible. You can probably get away with Textures being in a higher setting. We just want to keep the GPU power draw low.

Men of War II eats the Steam Deck's CPU for breakfast. In-game, it pretty much always maxes out the CPU at 85-100%, and you'll constantly be drawing 10W+ from it; this means there's no room for the GPU to get any power, and therefore, it's best to run with low graphics so that the CPU can cope. Unfortunately, expect frequent stutters and poor frame times. The game often won't run at 30 FPS, and I experience lengthy stutters of close to a second.

The Steam Deck LCD's power draw tends to be around 20-25W, so the battery life will probably be 1.5 Hours, and Steam Deck OLED users could expect around 2 hours.

GPU temperatures aren't too bad at around 75C, but the CPU always stays above 80C, holding around 84-85C most of the time for me.

The Crashes

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with Men of War II is that it seems to crash fairly consistently on the Steam Deck. I played single-player first, and when playing the USA Western Front raid missions, the game crashed 3 times in 10 minutes on the first mission. Then, I played in Soviet historical missions. It crashed 15 minutes into the first mission. I then tried multiplayer, but the game crashed twice before I could move any units in the match.

Because of all these crashes, the content of this review was written based on my experience playing on an actual PC. The game is pretty much unplayable on the Steam Deck, and I have no idea why. The RAM or VRAM usage never gets abnormally high. The game seems to run fine on Linux desktops, so it doesn't seem to be an issue with the Linux build.

These crashes were also confirmed to happen on the Steam Deck OLED model.


Despite having many options, Men of War II offers little accessibility. It has subtitles you can enable/disable, as well as changing things such as camera sensitivity and a couple of alternate control methods, but that's it.

There are no assists for colorblindness, which is a shame in a strategy game, as they often rely on colors to differentiate between friend and foe. No UI scaling is offered, which is a double shame as the UI is quite small on the Steam Deck.


Men of War II probably doesn't deserve all the hate it gets, it dropped below 50% positive reviews on Steam at launch and has now crept back up to 60%, it's close to where I would rate it now. The gameplay has some solid ideas, and the execution isn't bad. Some very odd design choices have been made about the always-online nature of the game, the complete instability of the game on Steam Deck, and the lack of accessibility that put me off the game.

The always-online issue has already been confirmed as being addressed. If fixes were brought in for the stutters, crashes on the Steam Deck, and some UI scaling, Men of War II could be a tidy strategy game to play on the go. Still, I can't recommend this game right now unless you plan on playing it purely on a desktop PC with a stable internet connection.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Men of War II could be playable on the Steam Deck, if it wasn't for the constant crashes and irritating stutters.


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Oliver Stogden
Oliver began playing video games at an early age, starting with the SNES console and Commodore Amiga computer. Nowadays, his interest is in the future of portable technology, such as handheld gaming systems, portable power stations/banks, and portable monitors. And seeing just how far we can push these devices.
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