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Game Info:

 

Commander: Conquest of the Americas

Developer: Nitro Games

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Available on: PC

Genre: Historical Real Time Strategy

Single Player

ESRB Rating: Teen

Retail Price: $39.95

 

System Requirements

 

Minimum System Requirements:

 

XP / Vista / Windows 7

 

2.0 GHz Core Duo or equivalent

 

2 GB RAM

 

A card with 256 MB of dedicated memory with support for pixel shader 3.0.

 

NVIDIA 7800 or equivalent.

 

DirectX 9.0c

 

Laptop versions of these minimum video requirements may work but are not officially supported.

 

4.0 GB Hard drive

 

Thank you GamersGate for giving us this game to review!

Commander: Conquest of the Americas takes place from 1500-1650, and you can choose to play one of seven European factions.  Your goal is to colonize the Americas and brings back lots of imports to your home town.  Your first colony will only require fifty colonists but subsequent colonies will require five thousand or more to be founded.  You can’t just rely on your colonists to be fruitful and multiply; you have to keep bringing in more people from the home world.

Once the people are in place you’ll have to build up the town and supply them with basic needs such as a hospital, court system, church, and entertainment.  A morale meter will show up in the town and an arrow will indicate if it’s going up or down.  An exclamation point will appear if your attention is needed.  Unfortunately, it won’t spell out the problem for you; you’ll have to figure it out and remedy it on your own.  I often found the problem to be trading an item that\'s no longer available, or the town cannot accept any more soldiers or colonists.

Highlights:

 

Strengths: Fun game play, various difficulty levels, Free play mode

Weaknesses: No multiplayer

Moral Warnings: You can blow ships out of the water, but it’s a pretty tame T game

 

The more people in your town, the more resources they can gather. Eventually, you’ll have to build plants and warehouses to process and store the goods.  You’ll often come across natives who may help and teach you how to develop your resources.  On the other hand, you may get your warehouse raided by natives when your colony grows too big.  To protect yourself from natives you can build mission and natives relations buildings.  It also helps to have a garrison and a fort to prevent attacks from your European rivals as well.  If you have a lot of soldiers your losses will be greatly reduced and the chance of your colony getting taken will decrease.

It takes money to make money and you will start off with some gold and will earn more by trading, completing quests, and through diplomatic relations.  There’s a free play mode where you can do what you want and see if you can last 150 years or you can take quests from four advisors and see if you can keep them satisfied for 150 years.  There’s also a battle mode and a quick battle mode if you enjoy the battles. There is also an option to auto resolve the battles if you don\'t like watching them.  Fleeing is never guaranteed but it’s an option.  Your captains will gain experience in battle and you can grant them special abilities as they level up.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

 

Game Score: 78%

 

Game Play: 15/20

 

Graphics: 8/10

 

Sound: 7/10

 

Controls/Interface: 4/5

 

Stability: 5/5

Moral Score: 94%

Violence: 7/10

Language: 10/10

Sexual Content: 10/10

Occult/Supernatural: 10/10

Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10//10

This game takes place in the Americas and you never get to see Europe, the ships literally sail out of view.  Once you\'re in your home port, you can manage your cargo, trading docks and warehouse.  When it comes to building ships, you can do upgrades at the time of building. They will cost more and take longer to build, but it\'s worth it in the end.  Many advisor tasks will demand more trading or war class ships. In order to meet the deadline, you will have to utilize many ship yards.  Make sure all your colonies have one!  Lastly, there are two classes of ships, coastal and oceanic.  Only the Oceanic are strong enough to make it back to Europe, the coastal class ships are good for trading between your colonies.

Your commanders can control up to five ships.  If that’s not enough naval power, you can link fleets together to form a squadron.  Squadrons come in handy for big battles and taking over rival colonies.  You can assign your commander to patrol an area, manually trade, or configure an automatic trade route.  Automatic trade routes are great but they require a lot of babysitting.  When you’re setting up a route, it will let you know if the route won’t work.  However, if something breaks it later on, you won’t get notified.  So keep checking on your trade routes and make sure they’re still profitable.

Sometimes you’ll need to acquire a resource that you don’t have access to.  This is where diplomatic relations come in.  You can trade items with those who you are on good terms with.  This is also the area where you can negotiate pacts, alliances, and declare war.  It’s way too easy to declare war in this game; the option button and declare war buttons are right next to each other and if you click the declare button by mistake you can’t undo it without re-loading or paying to make amends.  A confirmation box would sure be nice here!

Stability wise, I have not had any problems running this game.  There are some patches available and there’s still some room for improvement.  A multiplayer addon would be nice; it’s a bummer that this game is single player only.  For those that like battles, I can see how playing against people online would be fun.

Graphically this game is a mixture of 2D and 3D views.  Most of the game play is in a map overview that shows boats sailing to and fro.  The colonies are represented by their country\'s flag.  In the diplomatic or advisor window, I like how the facial expressions change when they are happy or upset with you.   When you go into battle, the view changes to a 3D real time strategy perspective.  The battle system is identical to East India Company.  The battle mode is in a third person perspective where you can see and control all of your ships. You can have the computer handle the fighting or ammunition, or you can change their formation, ammunition, and decide which ships to attack. The water effects look nice and the ships and explosions look realistic.  Even with the battle at fastest speed, it\'s still too slow paced for me.

The sound isn’t anything spectacular; I think a lot of the voice clips are the same ones from East India Company.  The background music is pleasant to listen to and is very similar to East India Company as well.  I’m guessing it’s the same composer.

From an appropriateness standpoint, this game is pretty tame.  The only violence is when you’re battling other ships.  One of the advisors is the archbishop who wants a church in every town and doesn’t like to see taverns built in your colonies.  Some of the resources you can make include booze and cigars.

Overall, Commander: Conquest of the Americas is an enjoyable game.  If you liked the East India Company series, definitely check this one out.  As fun as it is, in all honesty I’m not sure it’s worth the $40 price tag.  Without multiplayer, I’d recommend waiting for a sale before adding this game to your collection.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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