Best to Leave Military Simulations to the Professionals…
When I was a small child, I remember certain members of my family having an interest in military simulation games. They would go to conventions in hotels which would have these big boards made out of hexagons of varying texture and height. These boards were used in conjunction with miniscule models of various tanks, vehicles, and infantry. Then several people would take turns moving their little models to other various hexagons and attacking them. The game took into account firepower and chance, and looked to my young eyes like a pretty exciting game.
This type of board game is what Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Exceed is all about. It takes the exact same approach as the board game, and on the surface seems to be a fairly enjoyable experience. However, a lack of gaming variety, poor visuals and audio quality, and an almost total disregard for realism in the game really hinder it from becoming the fun experience that it could have been.
There are several modes in Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Exceed, but at its heart, there’s really only one way to play. The game will give you an objective (whether it be to capture a certain amount of enemy bases or to obliterate a certain target) and you are to see that this objective is fulfilled. In mission mode, you’ll only have one objective, but in the lengthier campaign mode, you’ll have several objectives to carry out among a common enemy.
Controls in Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Exceed are fairly simplistic and just have you essentially dragging and dropping your different units and selecting different actions from an assortment of side menus. While the control is nothing truly inventive, at least it can be said that it serves the game’s purpose well, which is somewhat noteworthy in a title such as this.
Once you know your goal, then you’ll have to use your brain to achieve it. You’ll be given a certain amount of different types of vehicles and troops to accomplish different goals, and you’ll later be given the opportunity to build bases and other military facilities to aid you. Each unit of military strength you have is measured in terms of its firepower, cost, and strength. The game has a fairly complex system for analyzing your militaristic power, but I’ll spare you the jargon and put it simply: blow things up and you can’t go wrong. Although there are lots of little intricacies in the battle system of Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Exceed, one strategy works far better than any other. Walk right up to your target and hit it. It doesn’t really matter what it is, because you’ll be able to blow it up. This is a major problem with Dai Senryaku, because it’s supposed to be all about strategy but ends up being about firepower. You have the budget to get tanks with big guns, and you win. Terrain is a minor obstacle, but it becomes no more than an inconvenience in the long run.
In addition to its tactical weakness, Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Exceed looks and sounds pretty bad. Since this title is considered a budget title (most retailers sell it for about $20.00) and was released for the Xbox back in 2005, I wasn’t expecting too much. However, the entire thing looks like an early nineties single-token arcade game, and the sound is so repetitive that it makes you feel a little crazy. One really terrible thing about the game’s overall look is how the HUD system can get in the way of moving your troops or firing a weapon. The HUD will display the names and credentials of the vehicles and troops in the field right over where you were trying to move something, and you’re left very frustrated because you can’t see where you’re supposed to be going because there’s some name in your way. The sound is particularly horrible because it consists of a 40-second loop of music and a handful of generic dialogue snippets that are used an obscene amount of times during every stage. The result is maddening. I’m not usually one to obsess over poor visuals or sound, but this one honestly made enough of an impression to merit the extra verbiage.
One redeeming quality of the game, however, can be found in the map-making mode. This mode is essentially for all of those who make the strategy boards as a professional hobby. It gives you all of the different hexagonal tiles of varying terrains to work with and lets you create challenging boards with ease. You can play through simulations on these boards as well, so it is a pretty rewarding experience when you’ve created a board that is conducive enough to strategy that you find yourself somewhat enjoying the game.
And as fun as these moments might be, trust me, they’re fleeting and far between. The game as a whole just suffers from its poor production and a whole host of missed opportunities. I could have seen this game being an interesting and relevant military simulation that would have brought joy to those who count military simulation as their hobby of choice. However, the repetitive gameplay, weak strategy, and downright poor visuals and sound make it just another budget title to avoid.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 1.5 Graphics
Very poor – Look like they were dug up from an arcade over a decade ago. 3.5 Control
Pretty good and simplistic drag-n-drop controls serve the purpose of the game. 1.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Terrible looping background music and a tiny assortment of over-used dialogue clips make this a mute-only title. 2.0 Play Value
This game can best be described as a missed opportunity. There was so much it could have done, but it just didn’t. 2.1 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.