It doesn’t give the same feeling as when you hear the EVA say “Welcome back, Commander” but still Field Commander offers quite a lot of hours of gaming fun, stronger even, it’s one of the few top titles that have been released on Sony’s handheld. That other game of course being Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror.
As big fan of Command & Conquer, Total Annihilation and Axis & Allies (the board game) I was very curious of this turn based handheld strategy title and my curiosity was rewarded greatly. Field Commander succeeds through simple controls to deliver deep and challenging gameplay. But more about that later, first there’s of course the intro movie in which the story is told: as member of a secret organisation that calls itself ATLAS – UNO with balls – you have to save the world from the Shadow Nation that is conquering it.
Two sides and the world as betting ground, you obviously don’t need to expect a lot of originality but the tiny story only serves to have you do a lot of conquering, defending and recon missions on air, land and sea. For each mission you can choose between different divisions, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and – more important – their own special attacks. Destroying enemy units and taking over cities and buildings makes a meter rise and once it’s full you can start up your division power. Very handy and in some cases very necessary.
The battlefield – or map if you want – is a grid in which you can move your units in as many squares as allowed. Do keep your eye on the amount of fuel and ammo as you don’t want your units to run out of that when taking on hostiles. Driving arround with supply trucks to support your troops is the message.
Each mission contains a number of turns in which you and your opponent can move your units and have them do battle. If you’ve decided to take on another unit you can request an estimate on the amount of damage done and this way you quickly learn that even in a computer game you shouldn’t attack a tank with light infantry. The camera zooms in and you get to see the fight happen as well as the damage that’s being done. The less hitpoints your unit has, the less damage it can do.
The game is well balanced and the AI is challenging enough, especially in the later missions. Still there’s nothing that beats a human opponent and Field Commander has a very extensive and fun multiplayer mode.
Graphically things look very nice with a bit of a cartoony atmosphere, and also the sound is pretty decent although some tunes tend to bore after a while.
This is exactly what the PSP needed. Field Commander is a brilliant turn based strategy game with a tongue in cheeck atmosphere where wise generals and ever-screaming commanders rule. The wide choice of units, variation in both single and multiplayer and the simple controls make you immediately hooked on this game. Simple but deep, guess it wasn’t that hard after all