Field Commander

Field Commander is a turn based strategy tactics role playing game similar to games such as Advance Wars for the Sony PSP. This game sports a more realistic setting and utilizes modern war equipment.

Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Release Date: May 23, 2006
Platforms: PSP
JustRPG Score: 85%
+Fun tactics gameplay.
+Realistic setting.
+Unique transmission mode.
-Not original at all.


Field Commander Overview

Field Commander for the Sony Playstation Portable is a turn based strategy tactics role playing game that has a realistic, modern setting. The game supports local multiplayer, and something called transmission mode, which is very similar to the old school play by email system. The game is a near clone of Advance Wars for the Nintendo GameBoy Advance, therefore lacks in originality. The only real difference between the two games is that in Field Commander you can destroy terrain and use the transmission mode, otherwise the game is just a re-skinned Advance Wars.

Field Commander Screenshots

Field Commander Featured Video

Full Review

Field Commander Review

By, Josh Ferguson

.hack Part 1 Infection (Dot Hack) begins with a bang. Something disastrous happens to your character‘s real world friend, while innocently playing a 20 million-subscriber base, wildly popular online RPG game (MMORPG), The World. To unravel the mystery of your friend’s misfortune, you become an online, ingame rogue hacker, exploring every corner of The World, even some virus-infected ones.
The hero is armed with the special skills of Data Drain and Gate Hack, and some colorful, talented fellow adventurers to fill the two other available party slots. Different adventurers must accompany you depending on the plot‘s development. You have some control over the others in your party, including upgrading them through trades or gifts. You can play only a single class, Twin Blade. Other characters are from different classes, with varied strengths and weaknesses, from a mage type (Wavemaster) to a bully (Heavy Axeman).
Gameplay takes place in three principal areas – towns, fields, and dungeons. Towns house The World’s servers. There, the player can save the game, buy magic scrolls and useful and unique items, store items, buy equipment, and talk and trade with lots of other players in character online. One town has an unusual ranch to check out, a patent homage to an enduring feature of just about every Final Fantasy.
The town’s Chaos Gate provides instant teleportation to a particular wide-open Field, containing monster encounter hotspots, a mystical spring, treasure, and lots of mysterious food. You enter three distinct keywords, some known at the game‘s onset, and others learned through play. Whatever keywords are entered, the difficulty level of the destination is helpfully revealed. This prevents a low-level party from being massacred. Once the keywords are entered, you travel through the Chaos Gate. (You can enter specific keywords learned to continue the plot, do side quests, or do unlimited exploring. Or, you can instruct the Gate to enter random keywords, and take your chances. There‘s also an option to enter any keywords you wish from a word list.) Every Field houses a single Dungeon. The dungeons, where you spend much of the game fighting for your life, are not overly large in size, and always range between three and five average levels.
Many have compared Dot Hack to Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II (PSO) on the Gamecube. Let us gently discredit this. We feel Dot Hack has far better graphics than PSO. The Fields and Dungeons contain many colorful, over stylized backdrops and settings, including weather effects. Dot Hack’s monsters resemble the beautifully-drawn monsters of the later Final Fantasy’s. Dot Hack’s world is gigantic with a seeming infinite number of locations to explore. PSO’s world is relatively small, and plot is threadbare, with meaningless, though fun, side quests, which instill no enthusiasm in the player. Dot Hack’s plot is deep and complex, with each subplot advancing the story just a little bit further. (Remember though, the end of this game in no way comes close to wrapping up the story, to be completed in the three games to be released later this year.) One visual treat, however, was lifted directly from PSO – the cascading rings that accompany the teleportation of characters to and from different areas.
Dot Hack’s combat engine can best be described as modified real-time. Much like the action-RPG, Kingdom Hearts, button mashing can be effective to beat monsters. Monster combat icons appear as large yellow twirling landmarks. As you approach, the landmark dissolves, monsters come at you big-time, and, undoubtedly, players will feel a healthy adrenaline rush. Some of Dot Hack’s many monsters do not stand around waiting to be pummeled, rather some you need to catch. Dot Hack lets you turn combat almost into a turn-based affair. The player needs only to hit Triangle in the middle of battle to pause the game instantly. From there the player can give orders to the others in the party, anything from healing someone, reviving another, casting a spell, designating a target monster. Without jeopardizing your party from the hailstorm of monster blows, combat becomes a calmer, more strategic, experience. This will help the many action-challenged. Camera angles play a big role in successful combat. You must be facing a monster to do any damage. As in many games, manipulating opposing environmental elements, like fire vs. water, is a key to successful monster combat.
Dot Hack’s cyberspace setting provides a wealth of Wow-inducing outbursts. The Data Drain option in combat is a great example. When a monster’s approaches zero, the player can Data Drain to reduce a horrendous, gigantic steel robot, for example, into a sniveling, puny monster, easily defeated with a single blow. Data Drain always results in a nifty, rare item or essential Virus Cores so you can Gate Hack areas of The World now closed, but needing investigation. One bad side effect – if you defeat, a Data Drained monster, but a single experience point is earned. One REALLY bad side effect – if you Data Drain too often without giving the skill a rest, you may overload and explode. Game Over. In the case of Boss monsters, Data Drain works the same, but what remains is no sniveling puny monster, but a full-blooded slightly less tough monster. All of this makes for interesting and captivating combat, a large part of the game.
Fresh Features
Dot Hack is replete with new and interesting features that kept us riveted.
To start, the entire background and story of a real world gamer becoming a rascal hacker, penetrating deep into a virus-infected online game, is quite novel. Combine this with Dot Hack’s emulating the look and feel of an online game universe. (Message traffic on the web shows many gamers mistakenly believe Dot Hack is a real online MMORPG, along with monthly fees! No real Internet connection is required.)
Just like in the real word, Dot Hack replicates your excitement level when “New” appears before a popular forum or on your email screen. Some of the game involves receiving emails as the plot develops, as well as new, crucial information surfacing on The World’s Board. (Look out for emails challenging you to a strange game of Tag.) The online game world looks very familiar with a bunch of characters wandering around the game’s towns, with the ubiquitous balloon icons talking typical “trash” to each other, even criticizing “newbies“.
Combat grippingly called for surprisingly strategic decision-making to succeed, not related to the usual attack or defend choices. Do you go for experience and upgrade your character or try for some special equipment or a Virus Core, vital to Gate Hacking? The innovative control of other party members became second nature to us after some practice. The game rewards a player taking chances, like entering a Field or Dungeon rated 5 levels above the player’s current level. On the other hand, the game scoffed at players entering areas much lower rated the their current level, by awarding negligible experience points for victory.
Dot Hack takes progress reports to a new level, by slowly unlocking books that contain much in the way of statistics and information. There’s even a monster compendium with tips for defeating them.
Some might complain about the minimal “Save Game” ability, but we thrived on it. You explore a very hostile cyberspace environment without the facility to save. Only in a server-hosting town is saving possible at the local Recorder. We may be a solitary voice in the Wilderness, but we like this throwback to the good old RPG days. Those of you old enough to remember the Wizardry series, may recall those fingernail-biting multi-combat treks back to the Castle just to save the game. In case you’re really stuck deep in a dungeon, a common item will teleport you to the outdoor field, from where you can simply gate back to town from the command menu.
Many pieces of equipment come with distinctive powerful attack, healing, and status skills, essential to combat dominance. The player must tradeoff whether to equip something that will raise defense or offense or something less vigorous that lets you use a powerful skill. Trading is the most successful way to upgrade equipment.
In a first, Dot Hack comes with a 45 minute anime video. This gives some great background on what’s going on in The World, as well as provide clues for completing the game. In a nice twist, voiceovers for game speech can be set for Japanese or English presentation. Listening to the authentic Japanese voices really keeps you glued to the game.
Though some may scoff at what follows as meaningless, we liked the game’s unlocking of some nifty new “toys” to like, some only available when the game is cleared. You can unlock many different background music play lists. Tired of creepy tunes, just switch to something more upbeat, or futuristic. Just like real world gamers, who constantly change their desktop wallpaper, new and different wallpapers are unlocked along the way. Some are concept art of characters, while others are full blown anime renditions of the characters. This makes for great fun, and seems to pump additional energy into the game. As you progress over a dozen special cut scenes or movies will become viewable after defeating the game.
Though Dot Hack’s extras and new wrinkles enhance the RPG game experience, much of the gameplay will ring true to those who enjoy RPG‘s. Expect plenty of exploration in a huge 3D world, frequent monster combat, tons of treasure to earn and discover, upgrading your character’s weapons and armor, and needing to level before tackling pivotal story dungeons. The status screens for the characters and all equipment are well laid out and easy to grasp.
Time for Completion
Game length in hours always concerns many purchasers. A short RPG normally takes a lot of flack, and many online are asking about Dot Hack‘s time for completion. (Some have questioned whether Bandai should have released a single 80 hour game for $50, rather than four 20-hour games for $200 for a single story. This matter is beyond the scope of this review, but our high opinion of this game as a standalone is obvious.) Our experience, playing the plot without doing side quests or extra exploration, is in the 12 to 15-hour range. Players side-questing and extensively exploring, aside from the main plot, can expect to spend 25 hours to complete the game. You can even continue to advance your character, after game completion, to get a jump start on Part 2 due in May. In the next game, your character can be imported from Part 1.
Furthermore, imagine trying to explore every nook and cranny of the fields and dungeons accessible by a large number of 3-word combinations. Doing that would put the game in the 50-hour range, if not more. However, at a certain point, new items dry up, and a single experience point is earned for any defeated monster, no matter how tough.
While, as is evident above, there is much to recommend in Dot Hack, certain concerns to varying degrees deserve mention.
From the “Why oh why did they leave this out?“ File. Pregame game board traffic and information about the Japanese version released months ago had many salivating for replaying the game in “parody” mode. This mode apparently converted all Dot Hack’s game world characters into satirical comedians. Sorry to say, this highly-anticipated feature is missing from the version released here.
The game requires massive amounts of button pressing. Every item or treasure uncovered from combat victories or exploration (opening chests, searching expired adventure remains, collecting food for Grunty’s, as examples) must be confirmed with a button press. When there could be 50-100 such occurrences in a single dungeon or field, over the course of the game, finger cramps seem inevitable. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance also required lots of bashing for buried treasure and chests, but the items literally flew into your inventory, a much better way to handle this.
The manual is woefully terse and lacking in some crucial information and guidance. While the ingame tutorials fill in many of the gaps, one extremely important gameplay feature is missing from both the manual and tutorials – instructions on control your characters directly during combat.
Final Word
We got a kick out of Dot Hack. The feeling of “just one more dungeon” dominated our lives for the 3 days to completion. The engaging environment held our attention without much effort. The strategic nature of combat, plus the convoluted plot kept us going for hours on end. The constant unlocking of both frivolous and important gameplay features created a “what’s next” anticipation. Now, if I could only read Japanese better, Dot Hack Part 2 is already out in Japan!
Final Grade: B
Owners of the PSP who are fans of the strategy genre have something to be excited about with the release of Field Commander. The game features a realistic military setting, and may be the best strategy game for the system!


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Considering that Field Commander is a strategy title, most of the emphasis of the game is placed on combat rather than story, but that’s not to say that the story is bad. Storyline-wise, the game places the player in the role of the field commander for the Advanced Tactical Legion for Allied Security (ATLAS), an organization set up by the allied nations to help defend the world from terrorism. As the field commander, players will strategically place their units around the battlefield and duke it out with these terrorists.


With Field Commander, players will have control over a number of different units that will allow them to effectively defeat their enemies. The game features three different combat types players will encounter, including air, water, and land battles. There are also more than thirty different units, including ground troops, tanks, submarines, helicopters, and stealth fighters. Each of the units plays differently than the others, and all of them feel somewhat unique. In usual strategy style, there are certain units that will be far more effective against certain enemies than others. After all, who would expect a regular ground troop to be as effective against an enemy tank as, say, an air unit?


Aside from the strategy involved in choosing where to place your units, players will also have to strategically decide on what units to purchase. Throughout the game you will be able to use factories, airports, and seaports to create your many different units. Of course, the better the unit the more expensive that unit will cost, which is where capturing buildings comes into play.Field Commander features a few different types of buildings, each of which will award its owner a certain amount of revenue every turn. The most a player can receive from a building is $1,000, while the least amount is $500. Capturing buildings also has other advantages for your units, including healing and giving extra defense to any unit that is located on the building. However, buildings can only be captured by ground units, including grunts, snipers, and special ops. In order to capture a building, one of these units must be located on the building and repeatedly use the capture command and give up their turn.


Throughout Field Commander, the environments can also be used to give certain defensive advantages to your units. As I already stated, placing a unit on the location of a building will increase their defense, as will several different types of terrain. However, there are also certain types of terrains that will lower your defense, including swamps. There are also terrains that will limit certain units’ movements, such as a vehicle trying to travel through a swamp. But there are also environments, such as an area of trees, where vehicles will not be able to travel through, and in order to get through you will have to use your gunfire to destroy the locations.

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Unlike many strategy games that feature several different menus that might make the game a little confusing, Field Commander is pretty much straightforward. There are certain units that have special abilities, but you won’t have to deal with several menu screens. Even if you aren’t familiar with the strategy genre, Field Commander should be very simple to pick up and play. Plus, the game even features a few tutorials early on to inform you how the different battle types work, but as I said, most won’t really have to deal with these because the game is pretty basic, though still remains to be very fun.


As for the enemy artificial intelligence, Field Commander features some strong AI. While enemies normally won’t pull off any ridiculous commands, such as sending a lone grunt against a tank, they tend to not use their resources very well. Often enemies will head for the cheaper and weaker units rather than saving up and building some of the more powerful units.


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With a total of thirty different missions, a complete playthrough of Field Commander will more than likely keep you occupied for around ten hours. While the story mode is enjoyable, one of the best aspects of the game is what you can do outside of the storyline. Field Commander is one of those games that allow for a large amount of multiplayer value, with players being able to go online and play or use the ad hoc to go one-on-one with a friend. The game also gives the ability for players to create their own maps and take them online for others to download and play.


Graphically, Field Commander is an overall good-looking game. The environments and the units each look nice, but some of the units could be a little more polished and at times can be a little difficult to distinguish from one another. Still, the explosions and destructions of all the vehicle units are nicely done, too.


As for the sound department, Field Commander features some top-notch work. The game contains some great music and quite a bit of voice work that takes place both during missions and in the mission briefings. Plus it doesn’t hurt that most of the voice work isn’t too shabby, either. Field Commander also features some excellent sound effects. Whether it is the firing of tanks, exploding vehicles, or the screams of a dying soldier, the game is top notch.


If you own a PSP, and you’ve been waiting for that one great strategy game to add to your collection, then you’re in luck. Field Commander is that game and is an easy recommendation for any fan of the strategy genre. With its fun yet basic gameplay, great presentation, and loads of multiplayer action, Field Commander is a great game!

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Final Grade: 85%

Field Commander Screenshots


Field Commander Videos

Field Commander Trailer

Guides / Links

Field Commander Guides / Links

Field Commander Wikipedia Entry