previews\ Sep 24, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Commandos 3: Destination Berlin - PC - Preview

Eidos’ popular Commandos series is back for its third installation, Commandos 3: Destination Berlin.  This entry in the series sticks players in the very beginning of World War II, putting the player in command of a squad of specialized soldiers in a number of historical campaigns, including Stalingrad and Omaha Beach.  The third entry in the Commandos franchise will feature several innovations over its predecessors, like improved graphics, enemy AI, new multiplayer modes and other great gameplay tweaks.


The massive scope of the missions of Commandos 2 has been significantly scaled down.  The smaller levels are a bit more easier, with a greater focus on action.  That’s not to say they aren’t hard anymore.  The AI has been greatly improved, and acts a bit more human and less inaccessible and frustrating.  Whether you’re trying to stop an enemy sniper or sneak your troops through enemy territory, the enemy AI reacts realistically to your actions.  Some stages also have a time limit to which the player must adhere to.


The gameplay itself is quite varied.  Some missions have you all-out fighting a bunch of enemies, while some have you trying to infiltrate a single enemy like a sniper.  There are also some indoor and stealth style levels that can involve escaping enemies or trying to secretly gain intelligence.


The controls feel a little rough at first, but they are way better than the controls of the previous  Commandos installments. You can scroll the mouse wheel in order to switch the angle of your perspective, which allows you to see on the other sides of large objects and check if enemies are on the other side of a wall.


The Internet elements are probably what sets Commandos 3 above the rest of the series.  You can play against up to eight other players online, either in a deathmatch setting or a Capture the Flag game.  You can either play as the commandos or you can play as enemies or allies.  As the allies, you have access to some different troops than you would normally have access to, like medics, engineers, grenadiers and several more.


The graphics have been nicely improved from the previous entries in the series.  The 3D character models are nicely animated and realistic, and the two-dimensional backgrounds on which they are set are enormously detailed and filled with realistic touches.  The indoor levels are radically different, graphics-wise, set in full 3D, and look pretty good.


The sound effects in the preview were also quite good.  The music is fast-paced and sounds like something out of a war film.  The sounds are also very good, with some great voice acting and great war-like ambience of gunfire and explosions from far off.


Commandos 3 is shaping up to be a great RTS with emphasis on combat.  The large environments of Commandos 2 have been scaled down to make the levels more action packed, and it shows.  The battles were small but had an epic sense to them, like scenes out of any number of great war movies, like Saving Private Ryan.  Commandos vets (or anyone looking for a good RTS) should keep an eye out for Commandos 3: Destination Berlin when it’s released this fall.

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