Radio Commander has that hook and grab where no matter how frustrated you get, you will not give up and push your troops forward. Due to the gameplay and RTS style that is very unique and entertaining.
Radio Commander came out in December 18th, 2020 for the Xbox One and Series X/S but this game is port from the PC version on steam that released on October 10th, 2019. For the most part there are no bugs or errors that I came across while playing Radio Commander and found myself constantly immersed into the game constantly focused on the battle at hand. The time period is set in the Vietnam War as the American forces facing Vietcong resistance. You are forced to make decisions which not only affect battle but can change the story. The story line isn’t the best in the world but overall is somewhat enjoyable to some maybe bearable. In between each mission is a short cinematic by one of the characters of the game and they show actual footage from the time period to go with the characters dialogue. There are 3 different modes to play, a campaign mode, a custom mission where you can play and create custom missions and a quick battle which is like a random battle and you can set different variables.
Radio Commander is probably one of the most realistic military RTS games that is available on the Xbox marketplace that I can find at this time. You are the commander of groups of units and you have given tasks throughout each mission like search and destroy, escort VIPs and rescue hostages to name a few. You can give orders to specific units via your radio and the way you give orders is so well thought out in my opinion that it’s one of the most unique commanding styles in a game. By selecting that unit you can go into several sub categories to give them different orders based on which category you choose. Another great aspect of this system is your map which displays your unit’s and enemy’s positions. On the story mode difficulty the units move around by themselves but I feel this takes a lot of the fun from the game away so I recommend playing on normal or higher. I recommend this because you will be required to place the pieces on where the enemy appears and move all the pieces manually and the game won’t do it for you. This applies a level of immersion that when the battle is chaotic you are completely focused and can’t turn away.
The units go from infantry, helicopter, artillery and armored vehicles. Each unit or platoon as the game calls them has a specific designation making recognition even easier. The combat in the game has not only taken into account platoon sizes for how well you fight but other factors affect engagements like ammo count, morale, stamina and terrain height. You never actually see the fight first hand as you only communicate with your radio. Requesting updates or asking platoons where they are and if they have any contacts. Other platoons will report movements automatically and if you have a friendly unit in the area they will automatically respond saying they were in the area making you suspicious as to if that was the enemy or one of your platoons. Blue on Blue or friendly fire is on in this game and I will admit I never thought about it until during the tutorial I accidently forgot I had 2 platoons and left one behind in the area I sent an Airstrike. Embarrassing for sure but a learning lesson none the less. Most of the platoons have a unique style and not every platoon answers the radio in a similar manner adding more into the immersion.
The map is your best friend on this game and I would recommend that if you don’t know how to read typography on a map to take a moment and learn how to, since platoons that are on higher ground have an advantage. There is an option to replace the coordinates display on your cursor with a terrain height display but it’s a lot easier to just have the coordinates display up and read the map typography yourself. Positions and orders are read out with coordinates when referencing a location. This could be a movement to a location or the location of some enemy contacts. You can also draw on the map as well and make plans for the future so you can have an idea of what you want to do or plan out a whole battle plan for a seek and destroy mission. You can mark areas of danger or make lines of movement or other notes on the map and then erase them if need be. The game will sometimes place them for you if there is a certain main objective but you will sometimes be required to make notes of your own to help keep track.
Now that I have built up this game it’s time to be critical with a few points that in my opinion need addressing. The most annoying thing in the game is the cursor speed needs to be adjustable because it feels way to slow at times especially when you have platoons separated. Sometimes your objective will change but the problem is your objective journal doesn’t update with all the details you need to know and you have to scroll back through the dialogue to get a better sense of what you need to do next. I completely understand this but I wish you could disable the snapping of your cursor to clickable objects, if you need to move something to a certain spot on the map if you have any of the tabs nearby open the cursor will snap to the tab and you won’t select the position on the map properly and you have to open the map tools and zoom out. Finally this game was ported from PC and we know that the Xbox has the capabilities to have the mouse and keyboard used so why don’t we have the capability here? It’s just kind of confusing and I feel I would have a better time with this game if the mouse and keyboard option was available
Besides those few issues that I find to be annoying in the end this game is such fun. Like before it’s frustrating to all hell but to a point where you just want to push back twice as hard. I did reach out to the developer and ask if they have any DLC planned for the future but at this time they have not responded to my question. This game will provide hours of fun if taken on the story mode difficulty with a very immersive and entertaining game and it’s all only for $14.99. Now you won’t get months or a year worth of content but in the end for the amount of content for the price it’s very reasonable. The graphics work but there is nothing supremely exciting or amazing as most of the time you are starting at a map. Same is with sound but both work to get it done but in my opinion you don’t really play the game for the sound or graphics.