|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nitro Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Paradox Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
As with any economic/civilization sim, balance is the key. You have to keep the boat afloat, but once you achieve a degree of success, the next step is to overwhelm and overpower your enemy. This is accomplished by becoming unbalanced, empowering yourself in specific areas in relation to your enemys weaknesses.
If you can gain the advantage, the spoils will be yours and you can once again balance things out, increasing your overall status. The rich get richer, and the powerful get more powerful. Of course, you may play the game differently than I do, and I may play the game differently from time to time as well. Such is the beauty of a good sim, and Commander: Conquest of the Americas is a good game.
Conquest of the Americas is a somewhat misleading title, since you dont actually invade inland to any great extent. It seems like the first part of a series, meaning it's a little short and leaves you wanting more. It lacks a multiplayer component so it's not long on replay value.
Logically, you invade from the coast, since travel by sea was the only mode of transportation for such undertakings. In a nutshell, you land in a region filled with resources and establish a port to exploit these treasures. Where you land, what you choose to exploit, and how you export it is up to you. So let the adventure begin.
As with any complex game, there is a learning curve. Commander: Conquest of the Americas is not without its frustrations so youll have to be patient, something Im not particularly good at. Im also not a big fan of trial and error, but it does work in this case. You can jump right in and learn from your mistakes instantly. There are some in-game tutorials to get you started, just dont expect to kick butt until you get some experience under your swashbuckle. A series of advisers will assist you at the beginning of the game, giving you various challenges and hints on how to best achieve your goals. Progress will ensure the advisers challenges become more difficult and complex. Each adviser will oversee a specific discipline such as religion, law, military, and economics. Keep the advisers happy and youll do well in the game. If your performance begins to suffer, and it will for a while, the advisers will lose confidence in your abilities, ultimately ending the game on you. Get used to it. One of the biggest problems is that there never seems to be enough money to do what you have to do.
The gameplay is patterned, especially in the main campaign mode, so the more you play it, the more youll feel comfortable with it. But this is ultimately to the games detriment since the lack of any multiplayer also limits the replay value. The free mode is not as structured, but that lack of structure makes this mode less challenging and perfect for experimenting.
Some elements of the game can be automatically simplified, but most of these are actually fun to play in real-time. You do have the ability to give orders and fast-forward to the results if youre impatient. But things such as combat are best played in real-time where you have control over the kinds of ammo you will deploy and where to aim your weapons. You dont want to shoot a cannon ball at the sail, you want the cannon ball to destroy the hull. Chain shot will shred the sails rendering the ship immobile, but will have little impact on the hull or the crew. Its choices like these, in every aspect of the game, that makes it a fun, deep, and personal experience.