Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Review

Carrier Command:Gaea Mission is another remake of an 80s game that was once held in high regard. Unfortunately, the makers of Gaea Mission decided that Call of Duty was too good an influence to pass up, and so have decided to stick on an FPS element to its RTS foundations and, by god, was that a huge mistake.

Skewing the more traditional foundations the original had, Gaea Mission takes the action to outer space. Rather than oil, water is now the big bad resource that everyone wants and is willing to kill each other for  leading to a a huge war between the United Earth Colaition and the Asian Pacific Alliance for the control of it. The UAC lost and is now eyeing up a nearby planet, named Taurus, that could enable them to repopulate, regain strength and take back Earth. The opening FMVs actually look rather pretty until the leading character opens his mouth; he sounds like Jason Statham after all of his teeth have been removed, and  after a heavy night out. For something that is supposed to have such a serious tone, not a whole lot of comedy in the world ending apparently, hearing this, as well as seeing how bad the entirety of the lip syncing is for characters, means the storyline and its motives come out as ridiculous. Furthermore the enemies seem to be trying to make a political point down here in 2012; the insignia they carry is a Chinese dragon. China being the big bad enemy now, is just taking over from Russia holding the same position back in the 80s and 90s, but it is tiresome and lazy.

The story doesn’t get better either as you are forced to work through an FPS element before you even get to start the actual basis of the game. It is absolutely abysmal, controller into TV frustrating, and an awful way to present , based on its strategy elements later on, a ok game. A ‘highlight’ of this is when you are directed to follow a train track to arrive at the carrier that you will start your mission off with; except you are given no direction, there is no sprint button and the HUD is as useful as a chocolate teapot. Why Bohemia, the ARMA strategists, allowed this mediocre FPS anywhere near this game is simply beyond me.

From here on out, the game doesn’t stop being frustrating, made more irritating by the fact that Gaea Mission really could have been a great game. The Carrier you eventually take control of has basically been shot to bits, and has little or no functionality. Slowly but surely you build up its capabilities whilst creating defence networks and fuel depots to keep the main element of your attacking force running whilst combating an enemy that is trying to do exactly the same thing. Gaea Mission allows you to directly control the units you create, an addition I entirely approve of and wish was in further RTS with a choice to have the opportunity to or not, bringing you into the battlefield and  allowing you to enact  traps you have created. Perhaps the addition of it here, is because the AI was simply not up to scratch before release day. Your units get stuck in scenery, go the longest routes to get to where you want them to and plainly ignore enemy units in front of them. RTS only work if the AI is up to scratch and allow you to fulfil your role as Commander and not having the job of having to hold your armies hand at every turn.

Music is poor and graphics are subpar. By no means do graphics make or break a game, but when explosions looks similar to the first and second Halo, over 10 years ago now, the excitement levels tend to drop off. Multiplayer is difficult to play as no one seems to want to play with you, and even when they do, it takes so long for anything to happen that drop outs occur more often than not. The strategy mode that completely forgoes the FPS rubbish, is nigh impenetrable without at least playing a few hours of the storyline, cutting off a lot of the fans who want to play an updated version of the game they loved on the Amiga, rather than what the story line offers you in the opening missions.

Gaea Mission is a missed opportunity with a big ugly FPS element on it that ruins the experience. It is only a tiny portion of the game, but is so bad that your expectations for the rest of the game are so low that it actually becomes an effort to play rather than enjoyable. Actually getting to the games namesake would have been worth it if the AI had not been so awful and were actually able to walk in a straight line without getting stuck between a rock and a hard place (enemies in this case). A real shame and a game that should be avoided for anyone who held the first in a high regard.

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