15th Dec 2006 | 11:14
It's 4am. We've spent the last six hours going "One more game and then it's time for sleep. Definitely." It wasn't to be. What turned into a marathon session of tactical skill with Ubisoft's Field Commander started off as something to do in-between the ad breaks in Big Brother. But soon we found we couldn't stop at one, we had to push on and strategically crush the opposition with our superior war brains - like a miffed-off Winston Churchill.
Although fairly basic looking, Field Commander is devilishly addictive. This turn-based strategy game plays out like a digital game of chess, but instead of pawns and kings there are snipers and planes. It reminds us of Command & Conquer as you amass a mighty army to steamroll the enemy as if they were evil tarmac. It feels greattoo. The 3D landscapes - while looking fairly grainy - fit perfectly onto PSP's screen and each map is small enough to mean you're never a few clicks away from your troops.
Thankfully, for a turn-based war game, Field Commander never really slows down. Seaports, factories and airports can be captured with your footsoldiers and then you can crack on with building tank-busting planes, battleships or mobile rocket launchers - providing you've got the cash. It's the subtle touches of genius that add depth here. Station your mortar-firing spec-op in a city and he'll climb the tallest skyscraper and rain down shells from his vantage point - thus causing more damage to the enemy. You can even enter stealth mode with snipers so as not to be spotted by the enemy. Nice.
Although it's fairly repetitive to begin with, Field Commander rewards your merciless killing with extravagant weaponry like nuke missiles and invisible tanks (don't worry you will be able to see them). Plus you really get a sense of achievement as your gang of upstarts turn the tables on an overwhelming opponent. If you've ever wanted to emulate Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf - and let's be honest, who hasn't? - and use your tactical brain to guide your army to victory, then Field Commander is the game for you. Just remember to get some sleep too.