Commanders: Attack of the Genos Review
Commanders: Attack of the Genos takes one of the current bugaboos of modern science fiction, genetic engineering, and blends it with a view of the future straight out of the 1930a that's more Flash Gordon than it is Gattaca. The Genos are a genetically engineered super race of humans that broke off from the rest of humanity to form their own nation. After years of isolation they've come out of hiding with conquest on their minds and it's up to you to take command of the human forces and put an end to their plans.
The game's unique setting is presented with a unique art style as well. The game uses cel-shaded graphics to give it the look of a brightly colored comic book, and the story is presented through word balloon conversations between a few key characters. The units in the game look as if they were taken from the pages of a 1930s Sci-Fi comic book. It all works well together to create a game with a look and feel that's all its own.
The gameplay itself is not as unique as the presentation. The game is a console-style turn-based strategy game in which you alternate moving units across a grid-overlaid map with your opponent. Each unit has its own ratings in terms of movement allowance, attack range and power, and defense, and each is stronger against some opponents and weaker against others. The game maps feature special resource sites to generate money and structures to spend that money on building new units for your army. Each side also brings a unique commander unit to each battle, and each commander has its own special power such as the ability to attack multiple units at once or to instantly call in emergency reinforcements. While there are different goals to the missions in the game, they all basically boil down to wiping the enemy off of the map.
The maps have the look of 3D terrain, but are in reality 2D grids. Although you can't move your units up and over mountains and other terrain features, they serve as ways to break up the map grid and add chokepoints and other strategic features to the map. The maps also utilize a fog of war shroud that keeps the map hidden until explored and hides enemy units not visible by one of your own units. These map features force you to be careful about how you maneuver your units and make things more interesting than they would be if you were playing on what amounted to a fancy checkerboard.
If you're not a fan of strategy games, then there's nothing particularly different or compelling about the gameplay in Commanders to change your mind about the genre. For the rest of you, it does do a nice job of serving up some fun albeit straightforward strategy gameplay. While none of the levels will keep you locked in battle for hours, there's a good amount of gameplay here for your Microsoft Points. There are two campaigns, hot seat multiplayer play, 10 skirmish battles against AI opponents, and Xbox Live support for up to four players. Add in the unique setting and presentation and you get a nice little game for when you could use a quick strategy fix.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 80%. Not a bad way at all to add a little strategy to your XBLA game collection.