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.
- 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.
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.