Real-time strategy is one genre that has yet to establish itself on consoles. Though ports have been made of PC classics like Command & Conquer and Starcraft, it's hard to call them outstanding games for consoles, because they were designed with mouse and keyboard input in mind. Jaleco's Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde distinguishes itself with a surprisingly streamlined interface, in much the same way that Nintendo's Pikmin did two years ago. While PC strategy veterans will find that the gameplay is pretty basic, console owners starved for a real-time strategy game should find Goblin Commander to be a worthwhile experience.
Goblin Commander is set in the land of Ogriss, which is divided into five lands ruled by five different clans of goblins, each with its own unique types of soldiers and fighting styles. All the clans take direction from a human wizard named Fraziel, but when he dies in a mysterious accident, the clans turn against one another in a struggle for power. In the single-player campaign you'll take the role of Grommel, the leader of the Stonekrusher clan. One by one, you'll enter the lands of the other goblin clans, conquering them in an attempt to unite all the goblins and discover the truth behind Fraziel's death.
Goblin Commander takes you into the world of Ogriss, ruled by five clans of goblins
The game's graphics are decent, but they definitely don't stretch the capabilities of any console's hardware. The characters are designed with a cartoonish slant and speak in a primitive gibberish (you'll have to read subtitles), and overall the game suffers a bit from a lack of polygonal detail. For most of the game you'll be zoomed out to survey the battlefield, and if it weren't for distinctive halos around your units and the enemies, it would be tough to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys.
The developers of Goblin Commander have done a great job of streamlining the game's interface. At no point will you be asked to use the controller to band-select units like you would with a mouse. Instead, you direct each of your clans to move and attack using a single face button on the controller. At the outset of the game, it'll seem pretty basic, since you only get to use the Stonekrushers, but as more clans come under your control you'll be able to direct up to three of them. You can take direct control of any of your clans, steering them with the left analog stick while using the buttons to fire. You can also assign the clans to follow one another, you can navigate the map using waypoints, and you can even set hotkey areas to cycle through using the D pad. Spells are also part of the game; to cast them, you'll need runestones, which you can find on the map or buy from special structures you find.
The tech tree is very streamlined as well. Each clan has just one specific building in which it can build troops and buy upgrades. Purchased troops will automatically leave the building and join their clanmates, no matter where they are on the map, making reinforcement a snap. Another building allows you to build powerful titan units (which you must directly control) and turrets for base defense. All of these buildings' foundations are laid out at the start of a mission--while they can be destroyed, rebuilding or repairing them is done with just the touch of a button.