Commanders represents a seldom-seen genre on the Xbox 360: turn-based strategy. If you’ve played Nintendo’s Advance Wars then you’ll feel right at home playing Commanders. An art deco style and a 50s pulp sci-fi story surround a solid strategy title with good pacing, an appropriate difficulty curve, and enough variety in mission and unit types to keep strategists busy for a very long time. And since Commanders is an XBLA game, the entire package – consisting of 15 campaign missions with two difficulties, 10 skirmish maps, and online multipayer – is a steal at the simple ten-dollar price.
Like any good strategy game, Commanders is essentially a big game of rock, paper, scissors. Light infantry beats heavy infantry, heavy infantry beats light tanks, and light tanks beat light infantry. Other units exhibit similar strength and weakness relationships. Heavy artillery, for example, is great at taking out all ground-based units, but it has no armor to speak of. Bombers and gunships can both peck away at tanks, but anti-air absolutely destroy them. Commanders adds a new wrinkle to these relationships, however. All commanders have both a passive and active ability. Alec Falcon, the first commander you’ll play as, grants all surrounding units a defense bonus as a passive ability, and he can fire on all units in his range as an active ability. Other commanders have different abilities including passive healing, extended line of sight, increased artillery range, action points regeneration, and summoning reinforcements.
In a change from Advance Wars‘ A