Sometimes I come across a game that is, for whatever reason, absolutely no fun to play. Chain of Command: Eastern Front is just such a game. I’m not sure exactly why this is the case, as there’s nothing terribly wrong with the game, and I’ve certainly played games much worse than this. But there’s just no element to Chain of Command that makes me want to give it a second thought, even moments after I play it.
Chain of Command: Easter Front is yet another WWII RTS, focusing on the Soviet Union’s actions in Eastern Europe. There are no building elements in this game, so players are give their full complement of forces at the beginning of each mission, and have to make due. Each mission’s objectives are spelled out with the mission briefing, although the objectives themselves are not always clear. Once the mission begins, it’s time to push across the map and blow up the enemy.
There’s nothing new or exciting in the missions—capture this point, destroy enemies over there, blow up these buildings. A few times I ran into trouble getting mission objectives to actually register with the game, which caused no end of frustration. I would clear a map of all enemies, and still not be able to proceed to victory for whatever reason. Other than that, though, there were generally enough units made available to finish a mission without it being a total cakewalk.
The units themselves are very typical RTS units, most of which are almost too generic. Players will eventually gain control of about 20 different types of infantry, tanks, and other motorized vehicles. My RTS pet peeve was in full force here, as the units were very difficult to distinguish from each other. Singling out the anti-armor infantry from my general troops was a nightmare, and the motorized units weren’t much more distinct from each other. Adding to the overall blandness, none of the units have any special abilities or actions, although several of them are specialized against particular enemies.
The game also just looks boring. The terrain seemed washed-out and drab, and the details muddled together. The terrain was deformable as tanks plowed through and shells exploded, but there really wasn’t anything interesting to look at. Buildings were similarly functional but bland, making for a rather uninteresting atmosphere. Generic music and adequate sound effects round out the package.
The AI was rather poor, and I could often clear out an entire encampment of enemies by sacrificing a single infantry unit as bait for my trap. Send in the troop, get their attention, and run them all back to a killing field of fire. Slowing moving across the map and setting up these never-fail traps is effective, but just not fun. Without multiplayer, there won’t be any human competition to crank up the challenge, either.
I could go on, but there’s no good reason to do so. I found myself completely bored with Chain of Command: Eastern Front five minutes after I began playing, and that feeling never changed. I’ve seen this all before, and I’ve seen it done better in many other titles. Leave this one on the shelf.