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Platform: PC

Genre: Strategy

Publisher: Eidos

Developer: Pyro Studios

ETA: Summer 2003

 

Related Links:

Review: Commandos 2 (PS2)

Review: Praetorians (PC)

 

 

 

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Commandos 3

 

commandos 3 pc preview          commandos 3 pc preview

 

Update (September 28, 2003)

Iíve long been a fan of the Commandos series. Iím an absolute sucker for goal-oriented games. I can forgive a game virtually any storyline, but I canít abide a game with no purpose. Short snappy goals are often better than long drawn out ones, but as long as the drive is there, Iím in for the duration. From Splinter Cell through Tony Hawks, I love knowing what has to be done, and then getting right on with it.

It was strange, then, that I felt kind of let down by Commandos 2, which pretty much epitomizes that virtue. Maybe itĎs just that to take something big and difficult and then increase the scale by an order of magnitude is kind of a slap in the face, and takes some getting used to. Itís hard to say that the game wasnít better than Commandos but, for a game so much bigger, I certainly played it less.

Nonetheless, one of the real treats of ECTS was getting to see a closed-doors presentation of Commandos 3; I was asking a few questions before a showing for overseas media, but my timing was so good that I got a seat. I also got complimentary mints. Who could ask for more?

Responding to some of the criticisms leveled against the previous outing, Eidos are pushing the improved gameplay at least as much as the technical improvements of Commandos 3. The presentation by Eidos strongly commented on the fact that there is more guidance towards objectives in this game, as well as a comparative ease of play. Whilst a part of me rebels at the idea that I need a game to be dumbed down in order to get on with it, thereís no doubt that theyíve hit the nail on the head with that one. Loading the first mission of Commandos 2 was like running into a brick wall.

This time, things are going to be different; the game is not going to be bigger than 2, for a start. Eidos estimate around 25 hours of single player game, with missions roughly 10 Ė 60 minutes in length Ė none of the leviathan enterprises of Commandos 2, then. With shorter missions, more direction and what, according to Eidos, will be a more continuous storyline, it certainly looks like the game will play to a wider audience (and hopefully not estrange the old one.) There will be 3 campaigns in this version, with 12 missions in total. You can choose to play the campaigns in any order, or switch between them as the mood takes you.

Pyro, the developers, have added several nifty features to the game, including the ability to peer through keyholes, full 360 rotation of viewpoint for the indoor sections (not before time), team based multiplayer and some simple mission continuity Ė on certain missions, the number of enemies you manage to take out will reduce the number of enemies on the following level.

The multiplayer sections of the game have great promise. There will be three modes, with up to 12 players (6 on 6), although it doesnít look like anybody gets to play as the Nazis. Weapons in these multiplayer missions can be bought on a credit system, perhaps a little like Counter-Strike, only from a ranged 3rd person perspective. There arenít a world of multiplayer games out there like this one, so no matter how good the implementation thereís no guarantee of online success, but itís certainly worth keeping one eye open; it may carve a big niche.

The graphics are jaw-dropping in places, the cut scenes especially so; all rendered in real-time in the game engine, with planes flying overhead, beautiful shadow effects and detailed models. It has been a long time since an overhead strategy game really knocked me for six, so this is a pleasant surprise. Time will tell how versatile the engine is, but in the demonstration I saw there was little to disappoint Ė some of the lens flares were nasty, but thatís about it.

 

The sound, from what I heard of it, was impressive, with appropriate bangs, whumps, and rich explosions. The voiceovers are notably improved from the previous two games, with consistent accents (for a change), and just enough over-the-top gung-ho about them.

Just about every modern WWII game attempts a playable D-Day landing scene, and Commandos is an exception only in the quality of its execution. It looks about as stunning as any I have ever seen, as from overhead thereís so much going on with bullets striking the beach and particle effects going crazy. Itís nice to 

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see it all attempted from a fresh perspective and, although Iím dubious about the entertainment value of watching people get killed in their thousands, you can expect some truly thrilling atmosphere in those levels.

Just so long as Pyro donít swing the pendulum too far back towards easy, Commandos 3 should provide everything that disgruntled fans of the series have been hoping for, with a fresh new engine and Ė we hope Ė a fresh new feel.

Matt BLB

 


 

By the time a game series hits its third installment, I begin asking the question ďwhat new stuff could this game possibly offer?Ē  Even games that I thoroughly enjoy tend to start becoming redundant after a couple of sequels.  So, hearing about Commandoes 3, the second sequel to a game I found only mildly enjoyable in the first place, didnít exactly fill me with giddy anticipation.  Still, the game has been a hit on both the PC and consoles and each of the previous installments have been solid, highly polished strategy games.  So, even if it seems the series might have already served it purpose, there are sure to be a number of hardcore fans of the series and the genre who are really looking forward to the game.

 

Pyro Studios has been hard at work trying to make sure those fans and possibly a whole batch of new ones like what the game has to offer.

 

Commandos 3 is the third incarnation of the real-time strategy series that debuted on the PC in 1998.  This game revolves around key events and locations of the last years of WWII.  Players will be able to take to ground, air, and sea in an effort to take the battle to the evil forces of the Third Reich.

 

Features:

Historical WWII campaigns: engage the enemy across Europe, from the Eastern front of Stalingrad, to the Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin, to the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, each offering unique tactical situations .

 

Multiple paths to victory:  prepare your commandos for a variety of strategies as enemy bombing raids lay waste to environments, requiring you to change your tactics and approach .

Guerrilla warfare: utilize ambush tactics, stealth, sabotage, and demolitions to disrupt enemy advances.

 

Multiplayer combat: test your skills head-to-head with up to 8 other players via LAN and Internet

 

Improved accessibility: Commandos 3: Destination Berlin features more detailed, smaller maps providing more action-orientated missions that form part of an overall campaign.  A strong narrative drives the story via cinematic briefing screens.

 

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Screenshots and movies reveal a game that maintains the look and feel of the original while improving the overall quality of the graphics.  Time will tell whether the graphical facelift and improved multi-player component will be enough to keep the game on the best-sellers list.

 

- Tolen Dante

(June 8, 2003)