View Full Version : Force Commander Review

03-23-2000, 03:32 AM
Ahh....... yes. The inevitable RTS based on Star Wars. Three years ago I held PCGamer in my hand as I sweated with anticipation at the sprits moving over the land and here I am, three years later, not looking down upon my troops but running the ground with them. Fighting alongside my troops and obliterationg the enemy. I will say it now, I have played the Imperials in every skirmish I have played but this review is based on gameplay and the like and not which side I prefer. I have played the game nearly three days straight(unlike DailyRadar I usually play the game more than two hours before writing a half-assed review) and I have loved it to death even for the areas it falls short upon.

When the package came I calmly kicked back in a chair and read the manual. That was a very hard thing to do as my eyes continuously glanced at the two-CD set sitting by my PC with the handy reference card. Still I laborously read through the manual. The manual is great with a good back story on the characters and overview of the controls. It looks like a field manual, reads like a field manual, hey, IT IS A FIELD MANUAL! I can practically smell the Dewbacks already as I fire up the installation and am treated to numerous pictures as I drool over the reference card. Upon it's completion I threw away the read me and ran into the game. Nice Lucas Arts intro. Heavy rains showering upong a lone AT-ST as it zooms out to a logo of LEC. I'm loving it already!

Next comes the usual Star Wars crawl done just as good as Lucas could have done and after a brief time the camera shy's away to show star destroyers launching Barges and transports towards a planet surface. My jaw drops as the vehicles land and the stromies run down the platform and into battle. This is truly the greatest introduction I have seen in many a year as I feel the adrenaline pumping to the awesome music and the battle in front of me. Not a few explosions here and a AT-AT walking there but a full blown cinematic war. Impressive indeed. After I see our main character going through a little spiel with his superiors, though I won't give anything away for those in the UK or just too lazy to go get it.

And so I dive into the interface and adjust the options and find the resolution lacking. With a euphoric sense of battle I quickly leave and change it knowing that resolution affects graphics (Apparently DailyRadar is not aware of this. And they run a PC website?) and rush back in and fire up the campaign to begind my training. I find it a little odd that the loading screen for Tatooine is Hoth but I brush it aside as I see the sand swirling across the desert and since then after playing non-stop here I draw my conclusions-

Graphics- Excellent. With My GeForce it is so beautiful it really immerses you in the game. So many times I was willing to lose units just so I could have the camera among the units as I rushed. The animations and cinematics are excellent though the lip syncing in the display is way off of the dialogue. The unit animations are a little stiff but considering current technology and all that goes involved it is way ahead of any RTS. I dislike the AT-AT's turning though it is better than the video where they instantly just swiveled around. All in all with excellent weather and night time effects this is really a great package.

Interface- Fairly good and not at all complex. It does take up a good amount of space but I tab it unless I need it. The ability to name your own units was probably my favorite portion of the entire game since I had a closer relation to the units and watched out for them instead of just needlessly throwing them this way and that. Otherwise everything that should be here is here and the ability to designate leaders and set camera angles as well as save camera angles is a really nice touch. The postures are useful in most situations though I found most of my time was set on guard mode. My one complaint is that when you hit escape and that ugly model comes up. It looks like it was drawn in crayon and then rendered. It really looks bad. Perhaps having given it a touch up making it look more chromish and realistic would have helped immensely.

Units/Balancing- Top notch. Every unit for every side has a unit that is just made for destroying on the other side and vice versa. Ties rule the air but are like toothpicks to the Anti-Air guns. Mobil proton torpedo launchers can slaughter units but when faced with heavy oppositiong crumble quickly.

Gameplay- I've played the game for two days and hate you all for being pulled away to write this. Does that tell you? The gameplay is excellent though a save feature for skirmishes would have been nice. It would have made me happy for some games can drag for several hours and with no save it makes completion difficult. I do love the way the terrain affects gameplay though.

Camera- Hard as hell to get used to and gives a little trouble every now and then. But after 30 minutes most people should have it down pretty well and after an hour it should be near second nature. Excellent abilities to orbit, pan, and zoom with great levels of detail. A little daunting when in cavernous areas but otherwise quite respectable.

I could go on forever about other issues and compliments but it's really up to the player to decide. Don't listen to some company who only spent less than a day playing the game. Make your own opinions but know this, read the manual and listen to the tutorial and you won't go wrong. Do neither and you'll be as moronic as DailyRadar.

The deadliest predators need not pursue their prey for the deadliest predators are already lurking in the distance.

03-23-2000, 11:41 AM

03-25-2000, 01:42 AM
First class job on the review Apparition. I strongly agree with your views, sometimes I feel the sites like Daily Radar, thresh's, and such are writing these reviews after playing the game for 15 minutes, and without the benefit of a decent 'puter, not to mention with one thumb up their ass instead of on the keyboard. But just like movie reviews the plain fact is you have to watch/play it yourself. Fact is most of us who grew up playing with starwars action figures and such are happy as hell to be able to basically do the same thing again, remember staging huge battles on the bedroom floor and wishing you could really be in the star wars universe? I also remember the mysterious appearence of G.I. Joe, cobra, and most of the Transformers battles and the subsequent ass kicking the rebels got! HEHE! but i guess thats a different game. Anyway what Im tring to say is so what if the load time is a little long, and so what if the game is a system hog, the pure entertainment value of this game is just what I at least have been waiting for.

03-25-2000, 07:59 AM
I like ForceCommander too, but there are a couple things they could have really improved on (by the way, I've played this game for two days straight).

First, the pathfinding for units is very poor. When setting waypoints over rough terrain, units will get "clumped" together and either run around each other, or just run into a mountain side. Perfect example is a AT-PT on Tatooine when commanded to move on a path that was blocked by a herd of Banthas, the AT-PT would keep "running into" the Banthas without turning or stopping. It just continues to walk into it until the Bantha moves. Another time AT-ST was moving through the hills of Yavin 4, when it was "caught" on the clumping units and got stuck in the side of a mountain. It wouldn't move, or stop... no matter what I did.

Second, the AI needs improving. I could setup a few AT-ST just beyond the "dark edge" and see some units. My AT-STs would just sit there shooting at the enemy units, and the enemy units don't even move. Don't attack, don't run... they just die.

Third, the "custom" music is corny. I'd been much happier with some "classic" Star Wars music that went along with the "up and down" moments of the game. It's like they tried to "mix" Muzak with classic Star Wars. It just doesn't work.

Finally, My system is a Pentium III 600mhz, 256 megs of ram, GeForce256 DDR, and a 46 gig SCSI HD. My game loads really fast (about 10 seconds wait time), but somtimes in the game, the units have "white" lines coming out of them, it's very strange.

Overall, I give this game a 7 out of 10. The graphics are excellent. The soundeffects are excellent (however, the music needs improving). The gameplay is great (except for the AI and pathfinding). And the interface and camera views are top-notch. If you are a die-hard Star Wars fan (like me!), you'll appreciate this game. If not, you'll probably want to wait for it to hit the $14.99 bin.

03-28-2000, 04:55 PM
Regarding your GEForce problem. The NVidia cards have been known to possess a unique artifact problem that causes cast lines to flicker in the render window. Your best bet to remedy that problem would be a driver update. And if the update doesn't correct it you should notify NVidia. They are always interested in that information, even if they don't reply.


03-28-2000, 10:04 PM
Thank You!!
After reading all of the "bad" reviews on the internet (and nearly feeling sick from it) I'm glad to here that someone other than me likes this game. Yes I will admit there are aspects of the game that could have been improved, but all in all, I think its a good game.

03-30-2000, 11:58 PM
i find it interesting that judgement has been passed on a review that hasnt even been posted yet. thresh's review that is. those first impressions are based off of a few hours. it is just to tell the readers that we are working on one. the review will be based off considerably more. not counting the research time and writing time.

04-02-2000, 12:45 AM
I have been playing Force Commander for a few days now and yes it is a good game but it seems to me that it was rushed because it seems to have some problems.
Like freezing in the middle of the game and having to wait 5 minutes before going again.
(And btw I'm running a pIII 500 64MB ram and a 3Dfx)
The biggest problem I have is that sometimes the game doesn't load at all (It's kind of hard to play if it doesn't load)

04-02-2000, 09:03 PM
This really is a great game, although I agree about the piss-poor AI and pathfinding. However, in the manual, it is written: "your units are only as smart as the orders they are given"- no doubt a disclaimer from LEC for a problem they couldn't fix. So you can't give "fire and forget" orders to just any unit (with the possible exception of the probot and TIE fighters, etc.), this just means you'll have to be more involved in your command strategies, and not overextend your forces. If you ask me, initial frustration has given way to an enhanced "i'm really there and can smell the laser burns and Tibanna gas" feeling.

04-03-2000, 01:11 PM
I agree with most of the statements here, especially the 'no save feature in skirmish' I would love that option. Other than that the game is sweet. I'm still running an old penII, 300Mhz, 184RAM, Diamond MonsII(VoodooII) - and the only problem I've experienced so far do to gameplay was when I needed to update my 3D card drivers, once I took care of that it was back to great gaming as usual. As for the units getting stuck and all, that is a problem but you just need to keep an eye on them - no big deal. I would have liked to see an AT-MT added to the game, those would have helped out a lot.

04-05-2000, 11:51 PM
Well, you see the ram is your problem. if you only have 64 megs of ram, FC constantly has to read your HD because the maps can't fit into the relatively small ram. If the maps are stored directly onto the ram, the game doesn't stop or anything because it doesn't have to read the HD. Get at least 128 megs of ram, and you should be fine. It caches sometimes, but it's not often.

Big dcks go Quack Quack

04-08-2000, 05:37 PM
I don't think the units getting stuck or clumping up is a programming problem at all, have you ever considered the dense quarters that you are sending them into? Look up some old war documentaries of the evacuation of France in WW2 "the Dunkirk evacuation" for you Americans who probably never heard that WW2 started in 39 and not 41. Troops get bogged down on conjested roads. This game is the only one i have ver played that actually made me feel like i was in charge of the troops, and not a god like governer like in warcraft. The Cp's are an excellent idea, your superiors are not going to give you units unless they see a chance of success, and by penalizing you for haveing to many units the game shows perfectly the principle of supply and demand. If you have too many units they are ussually unnessesary and could eb used elsewhere, Then after the death stars distruction you notice that you get a great number less trops at the start of the trap on yavin 4, this illustrates the great loss that the imp's suffered, think about it 1 million killed. Thats the same number that the naiz's lost from 6th army at stalingrad. this is a great well rounded game. Don't consider te units having truoble moving a programming error consider it the realities of war. Some units get lost on the way. consider this the next time you thik you see a bug or glitch



You are only half as smart as you think I am

04-10-2000, 10:56 PM
Well, I have a solution for the path finding issues. I you try and tell a unit to go around a windy road in ANY RTS by just clicking on the end destination, you are gonig to have path finding problems. Especially if it's 3d.

BUT: if you go and set way points (shift+right click) you can set up paths that can take you through the most complicated terrain.

Hope it helps.

04-11-2000, 01:12 AM
Just to get my 2 cents in, I burnt this game for my friend the day I got it and without any instructions at all he was playing with ease. He is so infatuated with it it's not even funny. He said the multiplayer action on The Zone is what pushed him over the edge. Give a try when you get a chance. Everyone's new at it so the games should be pretty even for now. I can't play it yet because my 233 K-6, 64 mb Ram just can't play it, at least in regular speed. I have a Monster Fusion but it plays in slow motion. My friend has a PIII 550 and his plays 3 times the speed of mine. I'm going out a buying a Athlon 800 this week. =)

04-11-2000, 05:47 AM
I Totally Agree with almost all the views here cept i would reall LUV it if my FoCom didnt crash like EVERYTIME! So far i've beaten levels by constantly replaying and saving them which becomes a drag even for my system which shouldnt even crash in the first place. I have a AMDk6-3 400,Voodoo3 2000 and 128 mb of ram, why the sithspit am I still lagging and crashing! YArg- Help