Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Joint Task Force lets you control tanks, infantry, harriers in more in a variety of battlefield situations.
The graphics are reasonably good here. Trees get knocked over when you roll over them in your tank, snow falls down onto the dusted battlefield, flags flutter in the breeze. Clicking on a unit shows you circles around them indicating the range of the various weapons the unit holds. It makes strategizing your next move relatively easy.
You can zoom in and out with great ease, and either do map control on your own or set the camera to follow a group. You have a few formations your units can move in, and infantry can 'go prone' if there's no cover around. There are numerous vehicles lying around - military and civilian - that you can hop into and drive.
You can skirmish in random setups with factions, maps and units that you want to practice with, and you can do full campaigns where you take on pre-set objectives. There's also online gameplay if you want to take on other humans.
There are "heroes" in this game which inspire your troops and order in new weapons and items. Each also has special skills - for example a weapons hero might let you repair vehicles more readily. Reinforcements get dropped off via helicopter and you actually get to choose up to X units that "fit" in that helicopter.
On our system the units move quickly and smoothly - the problem lies with the lack of strategy needed - but the high level of micromanagement necessary. Normally you can just plow ahead at the enemy forces, but every unit needs continual reminders of what they are supposed to be doing. There isn't a lot of cover or other types of advantages on many maps, meaning it ends up being a mass-up-and-go assault.
You can capture flags (i.e. territory) which get you more cash, and airstrips to be able to drop heavier vehicles.
I do have to comment that the little infantry look rather silly when they get shot - they go flying what seems to be miles. They have some scale issues here.
The sound is reasonable enough - an epic sounding instrumental, voices that answer your commands. I'm not sure what more you'd really want from this type of strategy game. On cut scenes, voices often don't sync up with the people, though. During campaign play you sometimes get little 'news videos' of what is going on in your world.
You're not building up bases here, so your options are usually not defensive - instead, you're building your mobile attack force to wipe out your enemy. Units get experience as they go, but damage is 'realistic' so unless you're skilled you often get your units slaughtered before they have that opportunity.
I compare this most with the original Command & Conquer, without the base aspect. You could consider this therefore worse - or you could say it's a better version because of the improved graphics. Part of the problem is that even starting the first campaign on normal difficulty (choosing from normal or hard) you tend to get slaughtered quickly unless you've been playing these things for a while. Even experienced gamers will find even the starting missions challenging.
So a nice concept but with some reality issues and also a poor scaling of difficulty if they want this playable by the average gamer.
Buy Joint Task Force from Amazon.com