Of all the new games and ideas I witnessed at E3 this year, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission struck me as the one most out of place. This isn't because it's a bad or underdeveloped idea, it's because it's one that's trying to rejuvenate something that's been dead a long, long time.
Being the advocate of old-school revivals as I am, witnessing the fully transformed Carrier Command brightened my soul. For such a seminal title to find its way back into the present day mix after all this time, that's surely something that warrants the attention of gamers everywhere.
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission interview
For those that don't know, the original Carrier Command released back in 1988 on the Amiga. It was critically acclaimed for its visuals and sense of scale and it looks like Bohemia Interactive isn't skimping out for this iteration. The game pits two advanced military carriers against each other whose sole intention is to utilise technology to capture a plethora of islands by any means necessary. That means building up resources, constructing units and taking over territory. Also, there is no mercy.
While it's more of a reimagining than a true sequel, think of Gaea Mission as a mixture of Supreme Commander and Battlefield. Not only can you control all your units from a top down, expansive strategic map, you can also assume direct control of a unit and make the fight a little more personal. It sounds complicated and it ostensibly is, but once you get the hang of it, Gaea Mission provides a rich and deep experience that could definitely take you by surprise.
Hey, red leader. RED LEADER! Damn, I forgot no one's driving that thing.
What's probably one of the coolest features in Gaea Mission is the ability to play the game however you want. If you're of a more strategy oriented background, you can bury yourself in the informative mission logs and maps while you send your units from point to point, capturing and destroying what you will them to. If you couldn't care less about maps, flanking and absolute strategy, you can easily possess any one of your units and rip right into the heart of combat, personally stomping your enemies into the soil. When both extremes fail to excite, you can always dabble in a little of both which is the real way to play. Well, for me anyway.
I mentioned constructing things and I know how intimidating an RTS is for some, but I implore you to take a step back. Gaea Mission implements a very thoughtful tutorial by way of, well... the Gaea Mission. Instead of slamming an immense block of concrete over the heads of new players, this mission is a story-driven campaign that slowly introduces the mechanics of the game to the player. Of course, if you don't want to be bothered by it, you can always skip it and get right down to the only business that matters; war.
Hey, kid! I'm a computer!
Gaea Mission contains a crisp and clean interface with a ton of little mechanics that make it stand out. For instance, when you're looking at your map there's a picture-in-picture image at the top-right that shows what your units are doing at that time. It's just one of those cool touches that make your decisions feel like they truly matter as you catch a quick glimpse of your tanks making short work of the enemy installation.
I guess my only issue is that Gaea Mission will not ship with a multiplayer component. In the age of cooperative titles and being able to control so many aspects of the game, I feel Bohemia Interactive is missing a critical selling point here, but it could always find its way into the game later. Even still, a strategy infused game like this is a nice deterrent from the games we're always used to seeing. Expect Gaea Mission to drop in the Fall for the Xbox 360 and PC and if you're as excited about it as I am, you can always pre-order the game and get in on the current beta access.
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