|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA LA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 25, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Territories will be clearly displayed on a map. Not only can you see the overview of your empire at a glance, but during battles you can zoom right in on the action, affording you the best view of you and your opponents' units and the terrain. Selecting units is a crapshoot. You can adjust the sensitivity of the cursor to be more or less magnetic to units in close proximity. You can use the D-pad to instantly select a particular unit, and you can use the X button to select all specified units onscreen. Units can be selected, moved, commanded, and deselected as required. The ease and accuracy of these commands, however, is inconsistent.
Commander's Challenge is a very colourful and nicely detailed game. It doesn't push the envelope as far as graphics are concerned, but you'd be hard-pressed to see a game this good looking on a PC five years ago. You don't even lose detail when you zoom in. Excellent shading technique lets you instantly determine relief from a crater to a hill and all levels in between. The in-game animations are virtually flawless with smooth movements and nicely rendered explosions and real- time damage. The live-action cutscenes are good but not great. They are a little jarring, and they don't necessarily fit with the overall style of the game. The sound effects and music are prefect, but nothing that we haven't heard in past versions of this series.
Commander's Challenge is a game that requires a tremendous amount of patience, skill, determination, trial and error, and plenty of luck. It's very frustrating to lose a mission because you pressed the wrong modifier button or because the cursor didn't go where you intended it to go. It's about as good as a console version can be at this time, but it's still far from perfect. At the end of my time with this game I had encountered equal amounts of hate and love for it. Things balanced out in the end, but overall I can't say the experience was worth the anger I experienced. I recommend this game only to very serious fans of the series that can overlook the idiosyncrasies and imperfections of a PC game trapped in the body of a console.
CCC Senior Writer