Men of War 2 review: As volatile as the fortunes of war

Rich with content and systems, if you can break through to them
BestWay / Fulqrum Publishing

“Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in war, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces.” This is what Caesar, probably one of the most prolific gamblers in world history, wrote about chance in warfare. Playing Men of War 2 this quote came to mind again and again, because it’s a real-time strategy game that embodies it.

Sometimes a lone enemy jeep will pierce your frontline, somehow darting through a crossfire of anti-tank rounds unscathed to take out an entire infantry squad with a series of headshots before it vanishes back into the fog of war, leaving you raging like Bruno Ganz’ famous portrayal of Hitler in that memed-to-death scene from Downfall.

However, sometimes Fortune is on your side and a handful of brave men will somehow hold off an entire enemy battalion from a small, battered village, taking down waves of foes as if they were the protagonists of Hollywood’s latest blockbuster glorifying a certain unit’s exploits. In this way, each match you play in Men of War 2 is a rollercoaster of emotions capable of telling its own story of thrill and tragedy, elation and frustration.

Men of War 2 screenshot showing a light tank in a forested area.
You won't have much time to watch the action from this close. / BestWay / Fulqrum Publishing

This can be an asset as well as a detriment. Perfectionists will feel their patience run dry very soon with this World War 2 strategy game: Your units can miss their shots entirely or rounds may simply bounce off the terrain or armor, doing no damage. Likewise, a lucky hit can destroy even the most powerful tank in one go and the explosion of a nearby fuel depot may burn down your carefully prepared defense position on a whim. 

Men of War 2 is as much about cautious scouting and strategizing as it is about dealing with the chaos that’s created as soon as the first shot is fired.

Fueling this feeling of chaos is the fact that Men of War 2 is incredibly punishing. It’s basically the hardcore version of Company of Heroes where every unit may as well be made of paper. If your infantry gets ambushed in Relic’s RTS you can always smash that retreat button and have them run home. In BestWay’s RTS those men are dead. One shot, they hit the ground. Equally lethal in both games are things like air strikes (though fortunately Men of War 2 limits how many of these you can use per match) and artillery, which annihilate entire units out of nowhere.

It’s a constant cat and mouse game you need to play. Vision is key in Men of War 2 – if you spot an enemy unit without being spotted, you can move to take it out before it can even react. At the same time you don’t want your units too far from the action, otherwise the enemy may complete their goal before you can bring the necessary firepower to thwart them. Tactically, this is a very challenging title that feels satisfying and frustrating in equal measure.

Men of War 2 screenshot showing a light tank firing on infantry.
Men of War 2 is highly customizable, allowing you to add realism and challenge. / BestWay / Fulqrum Publishing

As you’d expect from the Men of War franchise, Men of War 2’s simulation is deep and detailed: Every single soldier’s ammunition count is tracked and vehicles are modularized so that different parts like tracks, guns, engines, and even each crew member can be destroyed by hits, impacting performance. Fuel supply is another thing to keep in mind – you can’t endlessly send vehicles from one side of the battlefield to another without having a plan to refill them. This adds another layer to each match that’s really enjoyable – it’s not just about combat, it’s also about planning logistics to keep the fight going.

You can fortify positions by digging trenches, laying mines, and hauling sandbags. Alternatively, hiding units under camouflage nets can be effective for ambushes and to hide vehicles or guns from artillery. You have tons of options in Men of War 2 – though you may not know it, because the game doesn’t do a fantastic job at presenting them to you. 

The UI is fairly minimalistic with your different orders appearing as see-through icons in the bottom half of the screen. This may be great for immersion, but is a fairly poor choice for anyone not already familiar with what each of the buttons do. Though many of the icons are somewhat self-explanatory, you’re still putting an obstacle into the player’s way where there shouldn’t be one – the game is punishing enough without users having to decipher what their buttons do. Men of War 2 does have an extensive tutorial section, but it doesn’t always succeed at teaching players very well, so people will inevitably go into campaign or multiplayer mode with knowledge gaps.

Speaking of game modes, though: Their enormous variety is one of the big strengths of Men of War 2. There are narrative single-player campaigns, procedurally generated solo campaigns, several options for co-op PvE, and of course a plethora of multiplayer PvP options. It feels like everyone will find something to their taste in Men of War 2, which is great. You can also choose between different gameplay modes, such as the punishing realism mode that doesn’t show any health bars, among other changes. In short, you can really tailor your experience to what you feel comfortable with. One big minus is that there is an always-online requirement at launch even for single-player content, though BestWay already pledged to change this.

Men of War 2 screenshot showing a fire in the middle of a village.
Men of War 2's maps really the tell the story of a battle, on top of terrain playing a key role in the fighting itself. / BestWay / Fulqrum Publishing

Another aspect of the game I really enjoy is the battalion system, which allows you to customize your own armies like you’d do in a tabletop war game – think Star Wars: Legion or Warhammer 40,000. You have three Echelons available in each match you can draw units from. Echelon 1 is what you start off with and has the lowest points capacity. Echelons 2 and 3 can be packed with more expensive units and become available throughout a match, leading to a natural escalation. Sure, you could bring very expensive tanks right at the start, but you won’t have much to escort them – and as described previously, even your Panthers or Tigers will feel like wet paper if they aren’t carefully used.

This really promotes bringing a diverse line-up of troops to battle – and not just troops. You can bring additional ammo crates, for instance, which is a must-have for your artillery forces.

Though Men of War 2 isn’t a visual masterpiece – the unit art, for example, is a little lifeless – its handcrafted battle maps are quite beautiful and the way they change over the course of a battle with villages being razed, trees falling over, and the ground getting scarred by craters is really immersive, helping to tell the story being woven in each match.

Unfortunately, a variety of technical issues and other janky bits further take away from the solid gameplay experience. Some of these are visual glitches, such as the areas beyond the map’s boundaries appearing in gray, others interfere with the game – sometimes, your reinforcements will just stop moving at random points on their way to where you ordered them, forcing you to look for them and manually re-issue their movement orders. Your infantry will often decide to simply ignore your order of throwing a grenade at a target, simply switching back to their gun – which is often leading to their death, because guess what? A rifle won’t take out that tank or artillery piece they’re standing right next to. 

Men of War 2 screenshot showing a visual bug.
This isn't exactly helping the immersion. / BestWay / Fulqrum Publishing

With an already punishing game, such unnecessary sources of frustration can be the drop making the bucket overflow – it’s already tough fighting the enemy, so fighting the game on top feels bad.

Feeling more approachable than its byzantine predecessors, Men of War 2 is a solid entry into the iconic franchise, keeping its core tenets intact: It’s challenging, highly moddable, and offers tons of ways to experience the game – unfortunately, it comes with the same baggage of jank, preventing it from reaching higher spheres.

Score: 7/10

Version tested: PC (Steam)

Marco Wutz


Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: