A good game... Just one that is so strong in one part... And so weak in another two.... I find it difficult to recommend.. I think some will really love this game, and others will bounce off it. I am somewhere inbetween... And after 8 hours, I just felt like I'd had my fill.
There are three parts to this game, the RTS battles where you can take the form a dragon to rain down fiery terror on your enemies while commanding your forces about and building a base... the strategy map where you move your forces around in a turn based environment, very much like the board game RISK.. and the part of the game that I call the Emperor simulator.
For me, the RTS part of the game is the weakest, and ultimately what made me run out of steam and stop playing. I spent most of my time in RTS battles and to be fair they are half decent. The graphics are competent, the AI is good on Normal difficulty and although the units all kinda look the same they are varied in their functions and what they can do. You have land, sea and air units and coupled with the ability to change into a Dragon to help out a crucial time or go on a daring raid to destroy a key building is fun! ....... For a while.
It just becomes stale, at least in my opinion. Granted, I am not an extreme RTS player so maybe I don't have the grizzled veteran stripes that would see me through, but I have finished a few in my time. World in Conflict, a few C&C games, Starcraft 2, Dawn of War.. and similar games... so I feel qualified enough to say that the RTS element of Dragon Commander stops being fun and ends up repetitive and at times... a grind.
Fighting so many similar battles, often on similar maps, repeating similar tactics over and over eventually erodes the fun for me and facing X amount more hours of it isn't something I relish. Most of the time selecting all your units and pointing them to the enemy base tends to work as a tactic, as long as you time it right.
The strategy map is half decent, knowing where to spend your turn by turn income and when to commit your forces is crucial to success... and that part is engaging. No real complaints .. or specific praise about the map. It is clean, functional.. and works. So.. good!
By far the best bit of the game however is playing Emperor. In between battles and troop deployments you will move around your command ship (a big airship powered by a demon) and speak with your generals, learn what makes them tick, settle disputes and do your best to people manage your commanders who are all very different and clearly have different ways of thinking and fighting. You'll also need to manage to needs of the people... in the form of approving or rejecting policies your council proposes.
Things like a national health service, conscription, gay marriage and censorship of the media. The choices you make have direct influences on the war, impacting finances, morale and available troops.
On top of that you also pick a princess to marry from one of the 5 races (I think) in the game, each have their own story arc, wants and needs and of course who you pick and what happens with them throughout the course of your game influence your standing with that particular race and how the others view you also.
It is well voice acted throughout, the characters are well written and they are animated to be full of life and colour. It was a real pleasant surprise!
I feel like I am just scratching the surface on this part of the game, but this facet of Dragon Commander is great... and for me..if they could of attached it to a more fulfilling game... like... well... I'm not sure.. .perhaps a fantasy kingdom manager in the mould of Anno 1404 or something? Rather than this repetitive RTS game... then I think this will have been a classic for me.
Thumbs up ... because it isn't a bad game... however whether you'll fall in love with it or not... is difficult to say.
Posted: November 25th, 2013