Review: Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Needs Sea Legs

After Carrier Command: Gaea Mission becomes a past release rather than a current one, Bohemia Interactive needs to take a hard, hard look at their game and ask themselves two questions: Why did they graft such a worthless shooter onto an otherwise mostly decent strategy game? And why the hell did they make players play through that worthless shooter just to get to the tutorial necessary to even remotely understand the strategy game?

Both the creation of an awful first person shooter, and the requirement that players must slog through it, are bafflingly bad decisions that almost cripple their game. Despite this, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission manages to be a clever, though flawed strategy experience. Done on the cheap and showing it like a peepshow, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission oscillates between high and low quality. That it mostly ends up tepidly on team Good is a hopeful sign for future possible installments, but on its own, the game mostly struggles to justify its existence.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
Platform: Xbox 360, PC (reviewed)
Developer: Bohemia Interactive, Black Element Software
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive, Mastertronic
Released: Oct. 1, 2012
MSRP: $49.99

The return of a classic?

The original Carrier Command – released for PC back in the ancient mystical days of 1988 – is regarded among those who played it as a classic. With innovative use of filled-in vector graphics to create (for the time) cool 3D environments, multiple game modes and a clever combination of RTS and Vehicle sim gaming, it blew many minds back at the end of the Reagan era. The game concerned a near-future struggle over a tropical archipelago between ‘terrorists’ who control an advanced fleet of aircraft carriers, and nations reduced to using conventional carriers to stop them. Victory is achieved by defeating the enemy fleet or by gaining control of the individual islands.

Alas, the series has never had a sequel, nor did it spawn a genre of imitators. Instead it’s lived on in the memories of older gamers who remember a time when PCs and Console games were a lot like Portugal and Spain, which is to say, speaking languages that seem eerily similar to everyone else but mutually unintelligible to one another. But perhaps as the gulf between PC and console gamers is narrowed (in content if not in system specs), now is as good a time as any to attempt a revival.

In Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, the setting is updated from future war to future space war, as a fight over resources on Earth has spilled out into interstellar colonies. Players fight as part of the Unified Earth Coalition against the cartoonishly villainous Asian Pacific Alliance, for control of water on a moon called Taurus. Otherwise, the basic concept from the original game remains, with some interesting, and in many cases unfortunate twists.

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3 Comments on Review: Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Needs Sea Legs

Patches

On October 5, 2012 at 2:47 am

Quite the dissapointment… Especially for a guy who played the original one…
Not the first place I heard this game is sub-par…

Seems to me that Bohemia:
- Tried to changed the original formula too much… Especially the FPS part that has no place if you want to follow the ‘Carrier Command’ IP…
- Botched a lot of thing… If you want to add an unecessary ‘on foot’ shooter, at least make it fun to play… A lot of thing you can drive have bad controls, it seems… The AI (smartness & pathfinding) less than acceptable… Etc…
- Ask too much $$$ for a game that still seems in a beta stage…

After reading this review (and other feedbacks from Forums and such), it seems that I’ll have to pass this mess, unless they do a major fix to a lot of the problems this game has…
And be stuck with remembering fondly how good the original game was…

Alex

On October 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I can only sincerely applaud this review(er). Most detailed and accurate description of what this mess of a game is … while I myself am still struggling to understand, what happened to me, the last couple days.

I share the same problems with the controls (playing on a PC – same Mass Effect Mako deja vu – tried the gamepad and gave up). I won’t repeat the rest – it is all in the review.

My first enjoyable moment I had with this game was today – skipping the campaign – and starting a player-vs-cpu match. You can see the glimpses of what could be a great, fresh attempt on a first person strategy game, jumping from unit to unit, dishing some damage, and jumping back, managing the islands. It could be a great multiplayer game. But it is neither.

It has the same highs and lows like the ARMA games from Bohemia, only on a smaller scale. They need a professional game designer? They need to evaluate how and on what to spend the money, they made thanks to DayZ. This is not worth US $50 (nor 60-70 they ask for it in Europe/Australia!). Try harder?!

slurpee

On November 21, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Excellent game! poor review. I had no problems.