Jane's Fleet Command
|a game by||Sonalysts|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 1 vote|
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The world's foremost authority on modern military hardware, and one of the gaming world's most respected heavyweight military simulation developers have pooled their mighty resources to create... Missile Commanc?
Everyone we've spoken to about Fleet Command has had the same reaction. Before they played the game, they were expecting so much: finally, a full-on naval simulator on our PCs. It looks quite promising. You press start... "Oh, is that it? Really? I was, I dunno, expecting more somehow."
This... Is CNN
Months ago, our eager little eyes were yanked about by EA's press department when CNN used a carefully mocked-up version of the game's Cruise missile launching sequence to disguise their own inability to get a cameraman on a ship during the second Gulf War. Ooh, how we lorded it up that day. "See how sophisticated computer games are? That's CNN, that is. Using a computer game." It was as though a dozen Christmases had come at once for EA.
However, playing the game in the cold, hard light of day reveals just how ordinary the whole damned thing is. For a start the graphics all seem about a year or two old, and the collision detection is downright awful in places. It's not as though there's ever more than about four different ships on the screen at once anyway, so simplified models are just a sign of laziness on the part of the development team. As with the whole game, there's nothing fundamentally wrong, there's just no life to any of it. It's all so dull.
Playing the game, it rapidly becomes clear that no one involved with it was too clear as to whether they were making an arcade game or a simulation. It constantly hints at both, without ever really achieving satisfactory levels of either. Take training: you're given a run-through of how to control the game itself, but no idea of how to control a modern naval fleet in combat. The manual is full of key commands such as "toggle platform range circle" without actually telling you what use the platform range circle is in the game.
The real clincher comes while playing through the different missions or campaigns on offer. It becomes apparent very, very rapidly that each and every game of Fleet Command boils down to clicking once on incoming missiles to head them off, and clicking once on enemy targets to send your missiles back at them. Everything is so automated that you actually do very, very little indeed. It really is just Missile Command with moveable bases.
Maybe that's what modern-day warfare is: clicking buttons. If so, then why aren't I a General in the Navy, as I was the best Missile Command player in my area? But they don't just let monkeys sail battleships. Not that you'd know it from Fleet Command.