REVIEW – I keep confusing Starship Troopers with Battlestar Galactica, which is yet another example of how most of the time, the Hungarian translations don’t come out as perhaps expected. Aside from that, a book was made into a movie, then more, and there have been several game adaptations. Not all of them have been lasting, and I don’t think this one will be either.
I can only comment on the game itself because, once again, I don’t have much to do with the franchise either.
Back to 1997
It’s a real-time strategy game with the same cast as the first movie, which was released a quarter of a century ago. There are several missions to try and repel the bugs, and for anyone not very familiar with the work itself (the novel can be thought of here), what you essentially get is a dry, choke-point combat system, so it’s fair to believe that in that aspect too, it’s a lacklustre or just kind of non-product. From flamethrowers to snipers to turrets, it has everything you’d expect in Starship Troopers. Gathering resources is not an easy task. There are points on the map where you can deploy more troops, but if those characters are lost, you get the points back, so you immediately regain what you’ve lost. Troops can evolve into veterans as they gain experience, giving them more powerful abilities. Still, I think the big combat situation is that in most cases, we can grind our troops into interstellar destroyers (okay, I know, that’s Battlestar Galactica) like there’s no tomorrow. One thing the game may have nailed, however, is that in some places, it has the feel of our forces trying to hold on to the fortress while wave after wave of enemies come at us, and yet by using the right skills, we can turn the situation into a victory.
But what’s good is that the game is primarily hopeless when you’re constantly having to be in two places at once, because okay, while you’re dealing with the bugs’ nests, sometimes you also have to deal with your headquarters, and I don’t think you’ll ever feel like you’re outnumbered. Maybe the situation is similar in the movies (because there have been several of them). Still, if it’s that common, I’d instead go out tomorrow, in the middle of a heatwave in the blazing sun in the afternoon (I’m writing this at 10 pm for a reason, the temperature is more bearable now; hopefully, I won’t have to repeat this process this week). In Terran Command, remember to position your troops accurately because they stay in each other’s line of fire. I don’t think the management is that sophisticated in this area either. Somehow it doesn’t add up…
I remember the third movie was on AMC maybe two weeks ago at the earliest. From that, the TV news coverage was preserved, and that’s the style that Starship Troopers: Terran Command uses, and I think the visual style and feel are nicely done. It comes across as propaganda, but then that’s what you get when you turn on any state channel in the country I currently reside in. Except that it’s about the same as the Hungarian prices: they say everything is fine and dandy, but slowly, it all falls apart. But the execution is simply not done at the right level between the film and the video game. Even though the bugs look like dangerous and stylish opponents, they simply don’t stick around in the game.
The game itself doesn’t feel like fun, and even though there are several species of the bugs (there’s even a spider species with the blue plasma), Terran Command was simply a tedious experience and a short one at that. Buggy animations, faulty, sloppy AI pathfinding, the sound effects’ volume felt unbalanced, our tier four and five squads suddenly become unstoppable, there’s no gore… that should have been part of the experience; the game itself is simply not well written, there is no personal feeling for our soldiers because they are entirely anonymous characters, and even the replayability is not that great (let’s face it, I think it’s downright lousy). And I believe there was no skirmish mode, which perhaps should be a must-have element for a game of this genre. These reasons should explain the rating.
I give Starship Troopers: Terran Command a six out of ten because it’s not an utterly forgettable game, but it’s also a dime-a-dozen licensed title (which is why it might have been worthy of its place twenty years ago) that fans won’t be able to enjoy for very long (here’s a separate review for them, they should consider it a seven out of ten), and that leaves the question of why The Aristocrats and Slitherine even bothered to create the game. The brave use of licensing is respectable, but I think the execution is just a bust so that it won’t stay on your PC for long. They could have made a CG movie, and it would have had more entertainment value. So this is one of those interstellar invasions that you shrug your shoulders at most, smack the bug in question, and then move on to the next. And moving onto another game is what you should do.
+ Good in style
+ Cozy in some places
+ Go with soda without a license
– And even short …?
Developer: The Aristocrats
Published: June 16, 2022