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Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Review (PC)

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Summary

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)


Carrier Command Gaea Mission

Carrier Command Gaea Mission

© Bohemia Interactive

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is a remake of 1988's Carrier Command that put players in command of a air craft carrier style ship as they battle for control of islands on a distant planet. The game includes two distinct single player modes, a story based campaign mode and more open strategic mode, with each mode offering some unique game play features. In addition to the two single player modes Carrier Command Gaea Mission blends elements from multiple video genre including real time strategy, first and third person shooters. While the game offers ample game play options that may attract gamers it is a Jekyll and Hyde when comparing the two game modes.

Game Details

  • Title: Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Theme: Sci-Fi
  • ESRB Rating: M for Mature
  • Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
  • Developer: Bohemia Interactive
  • Game Modes: Single Player
  • Pros: Fun micro-management in strategic mode; Simple and intuitive controls; Strategic mode offers good replayability
  • Cons: No multiplayer component; Poor AI and first person shooter mode; Lackluster story/campaign mode. Feels forced

Having never played the original, the story and background of Carrier Command: Gaea Mission peaked my curiosity upon reading the press release and summary. Set in a future in which Earth has been turned somewhat inhabitable, mankind is forced to seek out other worlds for their resources and most importantly water. Discovered on a distant moon named Taurus, an abundance of water has been discovered setting into motion a war between two rival factions from Earth; The United Earth Coalition and the Asian Pacific Alliance.

Unfortunately for Carrier Command: Gaea Mission the intriguing back story outlined is one of the few bright spots for the story based campaign mode. The story begins with a first person shooter mission that has players controlling an officer in the United Earth Coalition faction named Lieutenant Myrik. In this opening mission, it is immediately noticeable that the story is heavily scripted and quite linear, lacking any depth of player choice or story variation. Enemies have very basic AI at best, and the over all feel of the game play is just plain tired. While not off to a good start, things do get better. The missions move from first person missions to vehicular based and strategic missions, both of which play better than the first person missions.

The story mode offers plenty of game play with long missions and scenarios that will give you plenty of hours of gaming, that is if you don't grown tired or frustrated with it. The story itself and voice acting come off as uninspiring and forced that it's something that will be played once through and rarely played again.

While the story mode left me wholly unimpressed and expecting similar feelings for the strategic mode, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed the more I played. In strategic mode, players will battle head to head with the opposing APA faction for control of 33 islands on Taurus. At the start players can set up any number of options including how many islands each side starts with, resources, units and more. The overall objective in the strategic mode is to gain and keep control of all 33 islands. This is done by island hopping with your carrier unit and launching assaults on enemy controlled islands with air and land based units. In addition to being a mobile base of operations the carrier unit also provides defensive capabilities when islands under your control fall under attack.

Each island you battle for is unique and well detailed graphically offering different challenges with each assault or defense. The carrier unit itself can hold and transport up to eight units that are used in combat. They include drones used for survalence or defense, Mantas for aerial assault, and Walrus, the amphibious ground assault vehicle. While eight units does not seem like many, it works and any more would make micro-ing difficult to manage. In addition to playing from a typical strategic point of view, players can also take control of individual units in combat and play in first or third person perspective.

Bottom Line

Carrier Command Gaea Mission, is a game that tries to do too much rather than focusing on its strengths. The story mode simply misses the mark in many aspects including enemy AI, linear story/missions, and voice acting to name a few. A multiplayer component for the strategic mode rather than the story mode would have made for an better gaming experience overall. The strategic mode is where Carrier Command: Gaea Mission shines. This game wants to be a strategy game and the first and third person missions/perspective in both the story and strategic modes, to me ultimately take away from that.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Carrier Command: Gaea Misson, Member wraith2021

The original broke the mould of gaming back in the eighties, it offered something that was daring and challenged the player to either get good, or die. This type of relentlessness has died completely, and in recent years games tend to hold the player's hand, and wrap them in a security blanket. Gamers expect the best graphics, the best animations, the best and easiest controls. If you are one of those type of gamers, then this game is not for you. When Bohemia Interactive set about doing a remake of Carrier Command, they did it in a way that would stay true to the original, the head of the company was a huge Carrier Command fan, and most of the programming team grew up playing it. So it was no surprise that, upon release the game didn't fare well among other reviews. After all, those reviews were done by people who didn't even know the original existed until hearing about this game. So the molly-coddled reviewer complained about how hard it is, and how they gave in after a short time, and for good reason too. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission was designed with one thing in mind, be true to the original, but bring it into the 21st century. This one goal is what sets the game apart from others on the market, throwing dirt in the face of conformity that seems to have polluted the games market in recent years. Unlike in the eighties, when purchasing Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, it was done online and arrived through the post in a standard PC DVD case, it contained the manual, DVD and a cardboard printout of the controls for each vehicle, which folds into a triangle and stands on your desk for easy reference. For those of us who remember the original, this remake of the game breathes a new lease of life into a classic. When I received my copy of the PC game, there were a few patches that had to be installed, and this brought it up to its latest version with patch V13.0014. I can't comment on the bugs other people have reported, and reviews written before December 2012 would not have had this update, which to my knowledge has addressed the issues which they found in previous versions. That said, lets me get into the nitty gritty of the game. Like the original, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission has two modes of play, 'Campaign' and 'Strategy'. Unlike the original with its 'Action Game', the campaign does not throw you in the heat of battle with the enemy carrier, in fact it does not even put you in control of a single vehicle. The campaign starts as a first person shooter, although the engine struggles with this, as it was designed purely for the purpose of Carrier Command, and it is noticeable from the start. This however is not a bad thing, and they use the campaign mode as a tutorial of sorts while telling a story. This is the first time this method has been used to introduce a player into a game, and the concept has thrown many reviewers, thinking that this is the main game. It is not and never was intended that way, and although your character can not jump, it offers the ability to storm enemy complexes, which otherwise would not have been possible. The weak story and bad voice acting can sometimes seem laughable, but all is forgiven once you get into the action. As I said before, the whole campaign is basically a tutorial with perks, and when looking at it in this respect it does its job really well. Similar to the original, the Strategy Game is an open sandbox which allows you to configure the settings to suite the type of game you want. you can set the level of difficulty be setting how many islands you and the enemy start with, and the method of winning the game. This is done with slider bars, that give the player enough freedom and re-playability to keep them going for years to come. As with the original, the game has a network of islands which need to be captured, the blue ones are under your control, the green are neutral and the red ones are enemy controlled. The MANTA and WALRUS have been given a modern update, and so has the carrier, which looks more like a classic carrier with a futuristic twist. There are four MANTA platforms, and four WALRUS docks compared to the original, which only had one of each. These docks are a sight to behold, and to some extent are an ingenious design, not necessarily the MANTA platforms, but the WALRUS docks, which are located at either side of the carrier. These docks are platforms which swing down as they open whenever the corresponding WALRUS approaches, placing a platform in the water which the WALRUS drives onto, and then it swings shut again housing the WALRUS in its bay along side the MANTAS. In the original the islands were flat squares with the odd volcano and a few defences and runways for protecting MANTAs. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission has gone far beyond this design, making each island individual and complete, capable of being explored by MANTA or WALRUS. The game has a complete weather system, and depending on the island the conditions will vary. On snow covered islands it can snow, have blizzards or be calm, on other islands it can be sunny, raining or even have thunder storms, Trees and grass sway in the wind, sun beams through the leaves and shadows cast depending on how bright it is. Graphics aside, the game has been updated in many other ways, the vehicles can now have armour, allowing them to support different types of weapons, heavier armour determines the maximum speed. Each armour type changes how the vehicle looks, so MANTAs can have configurations of heavy fighters which are slower but pack more punch, or scouts which are faster and more manoeuvrable but can be destroyed easily. The WALRUSes armour determines the type of vehicle, heavy armour is tank like, this allows the WALRUS to support heavy weapons, where light armour allows the support of lasers and machine guns. Given the complexity of the terrain, the WALRUS path finding does a great job of finding its way around rocks, trees and over hills, but on occasion they can get confused, even on a straight road, on these occasions you have to jump in and take control, to get it back on course, but this does not affect the game in any way as it has been vastly improved over the previous versions. As more patches are released these hiccups will be completely eradicated. As with the original there are two ways to take an island, destroy the command centre, or take a hack capsule, which hacks the command centre and makes it yours. Getting to the command centre is more tricky than the original, as it requires sometime taking out shield generators or firewalls which are dotted around the island, and the defences are a lot harder, meaning you have to think about the tactics you wish to use to storm the island. One of the best parts of this new rendition of the game is the ability to jump in the cockpit and give order to your other units to assist you without having to leave control of the vehicle. This seamless jumping between taking control and issuing orders is where your skills and strategies as a player will need to be honed, and this game does not hold your hand or help you determine the best course of action in any way. I could go on about the ability to attach a harness to a MANTA so that it can pick up and fly a WALRUS into battle, or the various weapons, but i'm not going to, instead I am leaving it there. THE CONCLUSION This game has had a lot to live up to, and they would have fallen short had they pulled to far away from the original. Bohemia Interactive have ben bold enough to go against the grain, and produce a game which does the original proud. If you are an old time fan of Carrier command, then definitely check out Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you are too young to have played the original, but are willing to persevere, the game is worth getting, and if you stick with it, it will be rewarding. Given that it still has a few nonessential bugs that they are still working on patches, which is a good sign.

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