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Naval Ops Commander

I normally love strategy games, including naval warfare. For whatever reason, Naval Ops Commander just didn't grab my attention and hold onto it.

You are watching naval battles from a top-down viewpoint. The graphics aren't what the PS2 can offer. You get grey waters, grey boats, and greyish lands. The grey boats steam through the repetitive grey waters, leaving little trails behind them. They fire at the other grey boats, and health bars reduce down to zero. It often comes across more as a 2-D arcade game rather than a strategy game.

The sounds could help lift the game out of this grey world, but they don't. Instead, they are incredibly repetitive and get annoying very quickly. From the lackluster voice acting to the sound selections, you don't get immersed in this world at all. Some voices are so annoying that you are tempted to play on MUTE.

Maybe if there was a plot that compelled you to care about what was happening - but no. The plot is often absent and at times is unbelievable.

You could say, "well it's a strategy game - it doesn't need plot, sound or graphics. The pure strategy component should compel you". On one hand I am all for this point of view. I would gladly play Scrabble, Chess or Go for hours and hours with only the most basic of graphics and no sound at all. But a game that claims to have a story - should. A game that provides sound should make sure those sounds are at least neutral - not so annoying that they make you want to stop playing. A game that attempts to give graphics to make the gameplay easy to organize in your mind should not then give graphics that make things confusing and hard to keep track of.

Even worse, with most strategy games the point is that you learn and build strategies and replay the game multiple times to improve your skills. You don't just play chess once - you play it daily, becoming a better and better chess player. You don't just try Go once. You hold weekly parties with friends and enjoy a relaxing evening with the clicking of stones. With Naval Ops Commander, once you go through the game, there's little incentive to do it again.

Not well recommended.

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