Its Been a while since the PC enjoyed a decent squadbased strategy game, especially one based during WWII. The hardcore few are well catered for with Combat Mission (reviewed last issue), but those hoping for a more focused tactical experience along the lines of Sudden Strike are sure to be more than a little disappointed, even though all three games come from the same stable.
Despite pretensions otherwise, WarCommander is a very shallow game. Placing you in command of up to a few dozen troops, what it adds to the mix by letting you control the odd tank or build command bunkers, watchtowers and field hospitals, it takes away with its dire interface and almost laughable Al. Selecting groups of units is a horrendously complicated experience, which would be fine if there was a wealth of tactical options to make up for this shortfall, but there isn't apart from the odd special ability like throwing grenades or selecting an aggressive or defensive stance for your troops, there isn't much else they can do. Unfortunately soldiers frequently throw grenades at their own feet rather than at the enemy, and when you do tell them to run off, they tend to take the longest route rather than the shortest. Worst of all, there are a few occasions where after completing mission objectives, the level refuses to end, which kind of puts a stop to what is already a laborious advance through enemy territory.
Though many of the bugs will no doubt be resolved with a digital elastoplast, interface aside, the game can never hope to compete with the depth of Combat Mission, the tension of the venerable Close Combat series, or the sheer fun of Cannon Fodder. The graphics, though adequate, are confusing, with troops getting lost in the scenery and it's difficult to pick out the right soldier in the heat of battle. But it's not all bad; time passes during each mission so you can push forward when night falls, or hold back if the rain starts. However, this is hardly a justifiable reason to buy what is a substandard game in almost every respect, and though it does try to be a little different in mixing C&C with X-Com, we'd rather have a formulaic RTS buffed to a shine than a hackneyed attempt at innovation that is as flawed as it is unfinished.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP