I have an unusual
confession to make . . . one that not only sparked my interest in historical war
games of the Medal of Honor type but my love for strategy games as well.
While the other kids loved board games like Chutes and Ladders I was
absorbed by the game of Risk. While the other kids were into Candy
Land, I was fascinated by Battleship. Call me war obsessed, but it
was just too cool getting into a campaign that required me to think up
strategies for dominating the enemy front and outwitting my opponent by coming
up with disabling surprise attacks. For this short skirt-wearing Desert Fox of
strategy war games it’s a pleasure to see a game like Dai Senryaku VII:
Modern Military Tactics, a game that looks to be really promising. Is it
the game us strategy war gamers have been waiting for, though? Oh yeah.
Modern Military tactics
will bring to mind classic strategy boards games like Risk but offer a
modern twist. Through a series of uniquely designed battle scenarios and
massive maps with a bird’s eye view of the action it is up to you to come up
with your own strategy and implement it out on the field. The game offers two
main modes of playing: Mission (the game’s main mode) and Free Play (filled with
a very healthy amount of scenarios). There’s even a Map Editor that lets gamers
design their own map and objectives to try out against the computer or a
friend. Your first stop, however, will definitely be the Tutorial.
And we’re talking about a
Tutorial that covers every single aspect of the game without skimping out on a
single question you might have on your mind. You’ll be sitting down a long time
before you finally get the gist of the game’s action because this isn’t the type
of game you can simply pick up and start playing. I tried playing the game
without going through the entire Tutorial and found myself completely baffled by
the Pre-Battle screen. Thankfully Mission mode gives you a quick exercise
before you jump into the far more complex battle scenarios. Mission mode puts
you in the boots of the Commander of the Blue Army as you go up against the
forces of the Red Army. Through several different campaigns you’ll basically
battle the Red Army for positions and that means you’ll attempt to capture their
The game is played on a 3D
map you can zoom in and out of and you’ll be given a main production facility
that allows gamers to produce your war machines such as tanks, aircraft
carriers, armored transports and even winged fighters or helicopters. Of
course, you work with a budget so you can’t simply produce dozens of transports
and supply trucks. The next phase is movement of your ground, aerial or naval
units but take in consideration that some enemy units can conceal their location
and can attack at will. You have the option to detect both the ground and air
within a radius. You can also stage surprise attacks of your own but mainly
you’ll be the one on the receiving end of a surprise attack.
The map is composed of
hexagons so your tanks and vehicles can only move within reasonable boundaries.
Still, the game gives you enough room to position your units anyway you see fit
and this is perfect for veteran strategy gamers that love coming up with their
own tactical maneuvers like closing perimeters around your main base. Some
scenarios will have you defending your production house or your main capital
while others will have you attempting to capture enemy cities or stopping the
production of a massive fleet. Free Play offers some pretty interesting
scenarios such as having you play out a scenario that has you defending US soil
from attacking Japanese and Nazi German forces. Another will have you advancing
on Sumatra in an American and Indonesian war.
Here’s the thing, though.
Modern Military Tactics is a really hard game . . . one that won’t fail
to have you annoy casual gamers and even some die-hard fans. You’ll find the
computer-controlled opponents always a step or two ahead of you and you’ll be
doing more defending than attacking. Battles have you choosing your attacker
and the ammunition (cannon fire or machine gun fire or SAM missiles); all of
which can make two or three vehicles disappear with a single strike. It’s also
a slow-paced game, something that might turn off some gamers. Oh yeah, think of
it as a game of chess moving slower than usual and with more devastating
consequences for making the wrong decisions. Yet for those who love a true
challenge, this one will not fail to disappoint.
The game’s visuals will
not blow you away nor will you find any graphical Xbox dazzle, it’s simply a
game with an adequate-looking map with little animation and a smooth framerate.
The hexagonal map is boring and there are very little in terms of environmental
details (no tress, etc.). The battle animations are limited to a few rockets
and gunfire hitting the enemy and vice versa.
As for the game’s sound,
you’ll only hear sound effects during attacks or whenever you capture an enemy
city. The sound effects are simply composed of excellent gunfire or rocket fire
and the aftermath (which is usually a series of unspectacular explosions).
There’s some music that plays throughout the game and its unusually cheery and
out of place in a strategy war game.
Dai Senryaka VII:
Modern Military Tactics doesn’t push
the genre into all-new heights but it does offer a military strategy game that
fans will surely appreciate. It’s not a great-looking game and it’s not the
type of game casual gamers can simply pick up and play (or want to sit through a
really long tutorial), but its a strategic cat-and-mouse game worthy of the
genre. Buy this one if you’re a hardcore fan of the genre only or are
interested in playing a game that will truly challenge.
Even with a tutorial that takes you
step-by-step through every single aspect of the game, it still manages to be
frustratingly complex. Still, there are plenty of maps and scenarios to sink
your teeth into and you can always create your own.
It’s not the most visually gorgeous
games but the maps aren’t too boring to look at and the gunfire look decent
There’s some music and it all seems
out of place but that’s okay since the sound effects of machine gun fire and
rockets are not bad at all.
It’s not easy producing your own
military personal and then mobilizing them throughout the map to defend your
city capital–especially since the computer-controlled opponent is always two
steps in front of you. You can’t really anticipate your opponent’s move that
easily but if you know what you’re doing you can at least match their firepower.
There’s enough battle scenarios here
to keep you more than busy and if that wasn’t enough the game has also tossed in
a Map Editor so you can design your own scenario. This is a strategy gamers’
dream come true.
Playing chess against a computer
might be fine and dandy but games like this are so much more fun playing against
a friend. You can play against a friend in the various battle scenarios
available in Free Play mode so that’s great. Unfortunately, there’s no Xbox
Live multiplayer mode. Wouldn’t it have been great to hear your opponent say
“You sank my battleship!”?
If its a well-conceived tactical
strategy game that you crave then Dai Senryaka VII will definitely be
right up your alley. Sure it’s a bit complex and it can get frustratingly hard
at times but for those looking for a real challenge in this particular genre
will find this one highly enjoyable.