Field Commander Review

It’s hard to think of a more under-represented genre on the PSP than that of strategy games. Field Commander attempts to fill this gap by bringing military turn-based strategy gaming to the system, and with a combined arms attack from the ground, air, and sea it does a fine job of accomplishing its mission.

Field Commander places you in the role of a commander for an organization known as the Advanced Tactical Legion for Allied Security (ATLAS). ATLAS is created and funded by an alliance of nations working together to fight terrorism and rogue military outfits. You’ll have over 30 different types of units at your disposal to accomplish this mission, but you’ll need to follow a sound strategy and ensure that you use the right weapon for the job at the right moment or you’ll be forced to watch your powerful military disintegrate around you. The game’s campaign provides 30 story-based missions and does an excellent job in the tutorial and opening missions of introducing you to a few new units at a time. You’ll get a chance to learn the new units’ capabilities and some strategies for their use so that by the time the campaign hits its stride you’ll be an old war horse.

The game itself plays out as turn-based battles on a variety of mixed terrain maps. The maps are rendered in 3D, but are essentially 2D grids. Only a single unit can occupy a square at a time although submarines can pass under ships and aircraft can fly over land and sea units. The terrain has an effect on both movement and combat which depends on the type of units involved. For example, tanks can not move through heavy woods although foot soldiers can. You’ll also need to keep an eye on each unit’s supply level. If a unit is in danger of running out of fuel or ammo you’ll need to either get a supply unit to it or withdraw it to one of your cities before you lose it.

Some squares are occupied by cities or factories, with the cities generating income for their owner and the factories dedicated to producing new air, land, or sea units. Each side will also have a special headquarters structure and capturing the enemy’s HQ will result in victory.

Each unit can move once per turn and the game’s controls make it easy to command your units. The nub is used to select the desired unit and then to lay out its movement path. Depending on the unit type, it may also perform other actions such as attacking, loading/unloading other units, or capturing a structure. Move all of your units and then play proceeds to your opponent’s turn.