Destroyer Command Review

Anti-air platform, sub killer, transport escort, and more, the versatile destroyer was the workhorse of the US Navy in World War II.  In spite of the vital role it played, the destroyer never really captured the glory it deserved.  Destroyer Command finally puts the spotlight on this hardworking ship and gives players the chance to command it in action in a variety of different missions.

Destroyer Command gives players the command of a destroyer, or a division or squadron of destroyers, in either the Atlantic, Mediterranean, or Pacific theaters.  There is a wide array of destroyer classes available for command, 14 in all.  In addition, battleships, submarines, carriers, and a myriad of other ships will make an appearance, although not under the player's control.

The game gives players as much control as they want over the destroyer's weapons and propulsion systems.  Players can man the battery director's chair, or hop into individual stations, manning turrets, AA guns, and machineguns.  Gamers who enjoy entering their own firing solution are free to adjust a series of dials corresponding to target distance, speed, and the like in an attempt to hit enemy vessels.  Those not so enamored with such details can let the computer calculate the solution automatically.  A variety of stations are available, including helm, radar, engine room, damage control, and combat information center.  This last station provides a map of the theater of operations and the current positions of all friendly and spotted enemy forces.  Commands can be issued from this station, directing individual ships or fleets with movement and fire orders.  In fact, players never really need to leave this screen as everything that needs to be done during a mission can be done from there.  The majority of the available stations provide little functionality and players will not likely waste time during combat jumping between them all.  

The game's graphics are functional - not cutting edge, but not bad.  The ships look good when seen from the destroyer's observation deck, and the guns on the deck move towards their targets and recoil with each salvo.  Damage effects are merely generic though, with explosions appearing as orange plumes and damaged ships trailing smoke but not showing signs of physical damage from the attacks.

Games of Destroyer Command can be played as a individual missions or a campaign.  There are a variety of historic missions to choose from, as well as a customizable mission generator that allows players to specify the size and composition of the starting forces and a few additional parameters such as time of day and weather.  There are two campaigns available, one for the Pacific and one for the Atlantic.  The campaigns are just a series of missions, and the degree of success in one mission has no bearing on the next.  Once a mission is completed, the next is made available for play.  Players can retry missions in the campaign as many times as necessary to satisfy the victory conditions and move on.

The game also supports a multiplayer component, either over a LAN or through Ubi Soft's free online game service.  The game is also supposed to support integration with Silent Hunter II for multiplayer destroyer versus submarine combat.  However, as of this writing this is not yet supported by the game.  As for the other multiplayer game, we can't really comment on that either since we could never successfully connect to the game without a crash.