Ever wanted to be in the thick of it when ‘it’ hits the fan, well now you have the option to command 8 people to do it for you.
This game you assume the role of an army tactician, controlling two teams of 4 hardened army soldiers stranded in the fictional country of Zekistan. Similar to other strategy games, you tell your men where to go and what to fire at.
As well as where to throw grenades, give covering fire etc, they will always obey commands you give them. This doesn’t mean they are stupid though, each man acts with high level of intelligence and will fire automatically if in immediate danger and won’t point weapons at each other ‘just in case’.
They will scramble for nearest cover if instructed and in danger. This may put a lot of people off, not being able to ‘actually’ fire a weapon, but you get a lot of satisfaction knowing your plan has come together when you flank a heavy machine gunner because you kept him busy with your other team.
The game is played from just behind your team leader; although the ‘camera’ is far back enough to pretty much see your whole (selected) team of 4. Correct use of your two teams is the strong point of the game, each one contains a Team Leader, this is the main man you give your instructions to, and he passes them to this squad, its called Chain of Command. You also have an Automatic Rifleman, Grenadier and regular Rifleman. Overall your two teams have a variety of commands from simple move to, and fire at/check for enemies, to move two by two, and provide cover fire, and you have to think what procedure is best to use when.
Cover fire for example is useful to keep a group of terrorists busy when your other team sneak around their side; sadly providing cover fire uses a lot of ammo depending of the length of time you continue to fire. You also have access to fragmentation Grenades, smoke grenades, and an M203 grenade launcher, correct use of these are vital as you only carry a few of each. Some missions you can also order mortar fire or an air strike to take out tanks, again you have to be careful not to waste these, and also be careful to find decent cover. The first time you use a mortar fire attack your room will shake (and the neighbours might moan too).
There is also the ability to point your men in different directions to cover blind spots, this is made easier using the ‘Fog of War’ this basically blurs out what your soldiers can’t see.
You have to go through 5 small levels of training, but it’s essential anyway otherwise you would get pretty confused at some of the commands, and you’ll need all of them at some point in the game. The training explains every little press on the pad that is needed, but sometimes it goes over things you already know and you just want to finish it. When the training the story starts, your helping a convoy through the fiction country of Zekistan, but a sudden surprise attack leaves you in the thick of it.
Each soldier is different and have they own personalities, this pretty much only governs what they say, and sometimes come up with remarks like “this is like being back in the ‘hood. This is when it hits you that this game is fairly different from your regular game. You start with everything, you don’t gain new moves, or weapons as you progress through the levels, you are given all the weapons, knowledge and tactics in the training and now you play through the game, deciding what situations need which solutions. It’s very loosely like a strategy heavy puzzle game.
When you do actually find an enemy your selected team won’t engage in a fire fight if you have decent cover, they wait for your command. You can use wall, cars even old sofas as cover, but I’ll advise you, bullets soon rip through the sofa and crates you find, so they don’t make good cover for long. Little symbols appear over you team, and any terrorists, these help you know what they are doing whether it be using cover, engaged in combat, or dead (the blood coming out of the limp body IS a giveaway though) oh and if you do sustain a fatal wound, you can carry you man back to base to give him aid and restock ammo, but another man has to carry him, this slows you down and he can’t return fire… lose one to many men and you automatically fail the mission.
Graphically as you would expect it’s a delight, nothing mind blowing but there are great details down to the badges on the soldiers and bullet holes in cars. Sound is fairly amazing, your team shout orders, bullets whiz past you and explosions bombard your surroundings, the atmosphere playing this game really does give the sense of battle.
One option this game gives you is to save a replay, this allows you to watch your game being played and you can ‘jump in’ at any time. This is best used if you make a fatal mistake and a team member dies, you can go back to just before, jump in and carry on without doing the whole mission again.
There is an online co-op mode where you take control of only one of the two teams. Only half the job, but still great gameplay with no lag. Plus you can still save it. There is a real sense of team work as you progress through the game, although you tend to find one either you or your online buddy gives orders, and the other follows, both try and do your own thing, and you won’t survive.
Although it is only accessible using a cheat it is worth mentioning the army version (why this game originated) is still in the game to be played. This version contains larger levels, harder enemies, a few new options like civilian amount, and enemy aggression too. Sadly the controls are not all the same, so you have to learn the basics all over again.
Overall this game is a little different to what you’ve played in the past, and eases you in, and then throws you in the deep end. Tense, thrilling and terrific.
A great game, and was very surprised how well I got along with it, I thought it would be very confusing but I soon got the hang of it.