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Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde Review for Xbox
Posted on Friday, February 06, 2004 @ 05:18:58 pm E.S.T

Fans of the real time strategy genre are entirely aware that the genre isn't built to be played on consoles. The RTS genre has been dominated by the PC, in the past few years, with titles like Warcraft and Command and Conquer. One of the latest bids for a console RTS game, Alien vs. Predator: Extinction, didn't turn out so great. Surprisingly, Jaleco Entertainment's Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde possibly could be a valid entry to the RTS genre. Although Unleash the Horde doesnít come without its flaws, it'll still stand as one of the more promising console RTS titles.

The game takes place in the terrain of Ogriss, which is where many Goblins call home. The land of Ogriss has become the victim of war between several clans. When a human wizard, Frazeil, mysteriously vanishes, all hell breaks loose between the five clans in Ogriss. The five different clans, made up of Goblins, all strive to become the superpower of Ogriss.

In single player, you will take on the role of Grommel, the leader of the Stonekrusher clan. Your job will be to conquer the other clans' territories to finally find out what happened to Frazeil. Since there are no outside forces influencing battles, it all boils down to the tactis each clan uses. Certain clans will use speed attacks while others will use an aggressive style, which will ensure there are no unfair advantages. The prevailing clan will most likely be based on who was prepared with the right combination of units.

While in battle, there will be a maximum of forty troops you can have control over at once. Considering this is a console RTS, the game controls surprisingly well. Instead of selecting a consignment of units to move, attack, etc, you will forthrightly direct all your units to move or attack. There are a few different things they can do: move, attack, follow one another, etc. Also, Unleash the Horde allows you to use individual soldiers which turns out to be an effective add-on.

The system for upgrading and reinforcing your clan is also straightforward. Each clan has two different buildings to help them improve their squad--one to purchase upgrades and build troops, while the other can fabricate robust titan units and turrets. Along with the gold used for these upgrades, another resource you need are souls. Souls will build new units, they can be taken from enemies you terminate or from soul fountains. There are plenty ways to fortify your army.

The graphics in Goblin Commander arenít really up to par. The bright colors add flare to the game but still, everything else is low in detail. The character models could have used some more work. The problem with the visuals is the way the cameras are restrained--they start to become a real pain. When controlling more than one unit, you wonít be able to turn the camera at all, just zoom in and out. Unleash the Hordeís audio does make up for some of the graphical flaws.

There are a few different tracks that are played during battles, which tend to fit well with the situation. The Goblins have their own way of communiation which is voice acted. The voices are subtitled in English, since most humans wonít understand Goblin talk. While the voices and music are good, the sounds effects could use some work. The usual battle sounds, seen in other RTS titles, aren't done as well. Overall, with the 5.1 support, Goblin Commander delivers some good audio.

Unleash the Horde is set up so that everything will be simple. Everything is forthright from the missions to the controls. It would be a smart move for developers to model console RTS games after Unleash the Horde. The simplicity of th gameplay plays a big factor in making this game decent

The main problem with the game is the few units you get control over. To a veteran RTS player it may seem restricted to use so few units at a time. In most PC RTS titles it's more wide open, with bigger maps and more units. The maps being small makes the battling a bit, sometimes very, tight.

The game takes an average amount of time to complete--approximately 10-15 hours. For a console RTS, Unleash the Horde isnít that bad. But, as a whole, you can find a better alternative on the PC. Anyone who is looking for a good console strategy game could look to Goblin Commander for some good action.

Review By: Jay Singh - 1606 Reads

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