Commander: Conquest of the America
A Little-Known Fact of gaming is that at any given time, there are at least five Civilization clones doing the rounds, masquerading under historical realism trappings, wooing those in Germany and Scandinavia who lap up this genre almost as much as they enjoy sub-par techno trance music.
Commander: Conquest of the Americas is one such game, setting itself in the 16th century and asking you to lead a European heavyweight to glorious trading victory by opening ports throughout the New World of North and South America and exploiting the natives for everything they're worth.
Essentially it's a dual exercise in fleet management and colony building. The former being how you ship goods about to find the best price, usually at your off-screen home port, but occasionally at other factions' ports should they need certain goods to help a production chain. The latter being how you decide to staff said colonies and what buildings you place to maximise revenue (cotton can be turned into fine clothing with a weaver, clothier and local branch of Gap in place, for instance).
Add to that, a regular tax levy on colonists, a need to house soldiers to fend off native raids or attacks by European factions that dislike you, and a pseudo role-playing affair with XP-gaining ship captains and crew for those rare but inevitable sea battles and you're just about done.
Most of the challenge comes, as always with these games, from the micromanaging of an ever-increasing set of units and colonies with plenty of scope for tech advancement in terms of ship types. Pity, then, that the actual ship battles, while often grand in scope, lack a sense of fine tactical control, mostly down to a badly thought through user interface and a lack of real options.
Presentation is par for the course for these things - functional rather than welcoming - and while there's plenty to keep you occupied, there's nothing in the way it looks or the way it plays that we haven't seen before, realised far better.
Commander is a competent entry into the vast canon of resource managing, semi-tactical strategy games, nothing more. It does the job, entertains while it does so, but lacks any passion to sustain in the long-term.
Download Commander: Conquest of the America
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP