|System: DS, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Game's Workshop||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 17, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The squad commands that this game seems to take its title from also seem broken. It's incredibly awkward and annoying to actually issue orders to your entire squad, so you're instead forced to direct each member of your squad individually. This isn't that huge of a problem, seeing as there are a maximum of six members in your squad at once, but still, it definitely would have been a tactical leg-up on other similar games to be able to issue orders to all your units simultaneously.
That's not to say that the game itself is broken, because there are definitely a number of good aspects to this game. One very interesting, ambitious implementation in Squad Command is the fact that every battlefield is (nearly) fully destructible. When you take into account the idea of attacking in the line of sight, and keeping in mind that the same rule applies to your enemies, finding cover becomes pretty important. The fact that nearly everything on a map can be blown up actually provides for some pretty strategic maneuvering, and it is a lot of fun.
The plot, while objectively underwhelming, will likely appeal to fans of the Warhammer franchise, if it can be called that. There are numerous story sequences scattered throughout the game, which focus the spotlight on the Imperium (soldiers who apparently serve the Emperor) and their struggle against the Chaos. Not much context is given, and the story doesn't serve as large a purpose as I would have liked to see, but still it gets the job done.
Another problem that most DS gamers will probably be willing to overlook is that of the graphical quality of Squad Command -- or rather, lack thereof. Sadly, the visuals are sorely lacking in this game, especially when compared to those of its PSP counterpart, which actually look quite nice. The cutscenes present in the PSP version of the game are nowhere to be found in the DS iteration, and the framerate, environments, and characters all look noticeably worse. Still, DS owners likely aren't used to getting the graphical crème of the crop, aside from occasional exceptions, so this shouldn't be that huge of a deal.
Finally, to round out the experience, there's a surprisingly fun multiplayer offering packaged with Squad Command. There's both multi-card play and my personal favorite, download play, allowing you to battle it out with up to three of your Warhammer-loving friends. WiFi would definitely have been awesome in a strategy game like this -- or any strategy game for that matter -- but I'm perfectly happy just to have some multiplayer action available in this title.
All in all, Squad Command is something of a mixed bag. Yes, there are some significant problems. The lack of a grid is probably the biggest pull-down for this game; if it had been a bit more structured, it could have really been great. But that problem doesn't negate all the good things about this game. It's still addictive, and it's still fun. Squad Command may not be the best strategy game out there, but it's by no means the worst.
CCC Freelance Writer