Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE Review
Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: 3000AD 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: 3000AD 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 7, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-32 (online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

When the going gets rough, players can input commands and engage an auto-pilot mechanism to handle navigation or combat maneuvers. While this is an interesting and occasionally life-saving feature, it's not much fun sitting around waiting for the on-board A.I. to finish cleaning up whatever mess you got yourself into. Doing the dirty work yourself is not as engrossing as it should be. Unfortunately, teamwork doesn't pay off much either. Your squad mates are unreliable at best. Usually they'll follow your commands and provide needed assistance when going toe-to-toe against large numbers of enemy ships, but they have the unfortunate habit of getting themselves killed. Also, the enemy A.I. adapts and responds to your tactics on the battlefield. It's a nice way of saying it doesn't take long for them to find quicker ways to kill you.

Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot

One of Echo Squad's strongest points is in the graphical department. 3000AD did a great job of making space combat a colorful affair with a background of brightly hued nebula, gaseous anomalies, and other interesting visual elements scattered throughout the cosmos. After playing in similar regions of the galaxy for a while, it does begin to feel like you're looking at the same backdrop over and over again with little variety, but it is pretty.

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The cockpit HUD is elaborate and colorful. It's not nearly as interactive as it looks, but it does contain important readouts on navigation, armament, and enemy vessels. Getting down to planetary surface is also quite stunning with beautiful water and cloud effects. In the tutorial, dipping down into a planet's atmosphere to cruise the surface is pretty cool, and it's expected to come into play in future episodes, but getting back into space from within the grasp of a planet's atmosphere is another story completely. If you've taken damage at all, you can forget about escape without repairs and refueling at a surface base. Even with a mint-condition ship it's difficult to breach the atmospheric barrier without a struggle.

Aside from the fact there's no one playing on the online servers, the multiplayer experience is buggy and unstructured. NPC vessels flit in and out of existence mysteriously, and playing against the computer offers little new from the main campaign. It's a free for all to be sure; it's just not an enticing one by any means.

Despite some substantive attempts to make the genre revival easier for new players to pick up, Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE remains a niche title through-and-through. If you hunger for oldschool space combat, then it's possible to derive a certain level of nostalgic enjoyment from the first installment of Echo Squad. However, the game fails in making the space combat experience more accessible to casual PC players.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.8
Graphics
A slick cockpit HUD and colorful space scenery are nice to look at.
2.4
Control
It takes way to long to get comfortable with the controls, and even then they're a nuisance.
2.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Voice-overs collide at times and are often drowned out by the engine and other sounds. Constant repetitive messages and irritating beeping from incoming missiles is enough to most players mad. Other sounds effects are so-so.
3.0
Play Value
Nostalgia factor may pull some through the space muck unscathed, but it's too easy to get bogged down with the repetitive gameplay and initially frustrating controls.
2.8
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The first episode contains 16 missions including escort, recon, tactical strikes, dogfights, and more.
  • Advanced mission system with real-time adjusted variables based on A.I., which ensures that the same scenario always plays differently.
  • Advanced A.I. engine with NPC characters (also player's wingmen) who act intelligently and react to combat conditions around them.
  • Support for USB joysticks as well as native support for most analog game pads.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge Galactic Command: Echo Squad SE screenshot - click to enlarge

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