Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

 

16 cert, Mastertronic, Xbox 360 (also PC) ***

This reboot of the 1980s classic is nothing if not ambitious.

With elements of first-person combat, driving and dense war strategy, you’ll be hearing and reading in-game instructions hours into gameplay. As you wade through the 38-page manual and examine the images and lists of commands (your controller buttons will have multiple uses), Carrier Command feels initially like a homework assignment. But once you get past the onerous instructions and perfunctory first-person combat, it becomes a wide-ranging and sophisticated war campaign.

The game takes place in the near future, where new continents are fighting for natural resources. Our hero crashlands with a small platoon on a foreign planet and, piece by piece, assembles his battleship, battalions and comeback. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is not especially well-presented: The acting, dialogue and graphics are mediocre. The strategy, however, is sophisticated, which is what really matters. It’s a specialist game, for sure, but if you’re part of that niche, there’s fun to be had.

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