XBLRadio Review – “Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3″ (XBLA)

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In bringing Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 (WOTB: C3) to both the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, Backbone Entertainment (developer) and Capcom (publisher), have brought me back to the days of beating my dad at the local arcade on any machine and is going to expose the younger generation to the sequel of a couple of the all time greatest arcade shooters: Commando and Mercs! WOTB: Commando 3 maybe the third title in the series but it’s the first to carry in its title the direct translation of original Japanese game “Senjō no Ōkami” (Wolf of the Battlefield). Adding the original title is just one of the many tributes to the past WOTB: Commando 3 has in it.

Gameplay: A

In WOTB: Commando 3 you play as one of there characters: Wolf, Coyote, or Fox. Each character has different statistics for health, speed, and the number of grenades they can carry at one time. Depending on what type of gamer you are there is a male/female character to fit your style.

While the story and levels are linear there are multiple ways to accomplish the overall task of killing the boss at the end of the level. With decisions like: should I save the hostages? should I look for that secret area? Or should I just run-n-gun through the level, destroying everything in my path? Any combination of the three is an option, and the choice is yours! Throughout the levels are multiple weapons (shotgun, flamethrower, or the default assault rifle), upgrades for those weapons, grenades, badges (points), and plenty of health packs and trust me… You’ll need them!

WOTB: Commando 3 has four different difficulty levels and depending if playing in SP, Live or Local 1-3player co-op the enemies do ‘ramp’ up to match your playing configuration. Suicide Mission is the most difficult setting and, from my experience, should only be attempted in three player co-op with people you know & trust!

Graphics: A

1080p! Enough said! WOTB: Commando 3 is a top down shooter so the characters don’t require a lot of detail to look good. But what is missing in character detail is more then made up for in the location details. Almost everything in the game is destructible! See a tree! Blow up tree! Even in a three player co-op match over Live, with voice chat, up to 30 enemies on the screen at one time, all shooting at us, us shooting at them, trees exploding, buildings blowing up, there was no lag! no texture popping! no frame rate issues that we have experience with full retail titles costing two to six times as much! WOTB: Commando 3 is drawn in a cartoon style ala Rocketmen which adds to the humor of the overall game.

Sound: C

WOTB: Commando 3 does use Dolby 5.1 but maybe not to its full advantage; and this is WOTB: Commando 3’s only issue. In WOTB: Commando 3 enemies will be coming at you from all directions, but there is not much warning which direction they are coming from. Utilizing the 5.1 surround sound could have help with this. In most shooters these days you can hear where the shots are coming from or if someone is creepy up behind you but in WOTB: Commando 3 this does not happen. There are a lot of visual items on the screen and a little better use of the sound could have helped in finding out where the next wave of enemies is coming from.

Controls: A

WOTB: Commando 3 is, in essence, a dual-stick shooter that we all should be accustomed to by now. Left Stick controls the players movements, Right Stick controls… wait for it… where your player shoots, Right Trigger launches your grenades, Left Trigger uses the M-Stat weapon (special power move that destroys all on the screen). The controls do exactly what is stated and do it pretty well.

Replayability: A-

I have played WOTB: Commando 3 all the way through multiple times. The multiple difficulties, the co-op, and the need to rescue all the hostages or find that last secret area all add to this replayability. Although, on the easiest difficulty, WOTB: Commando 3 is just about an hour long, with five levels. Getting three players together on your couch or on Live provides endless fun that will make WOTB: Commando 3 as enjoyable a year from now as it is today! Include in this that there are NO SAVES / NO CONTINUES will also add to WOTB: Commando 3’s replayability

Overall: A-

We add all this up: 1080p graphics, 5.1 Dolby, on-line and off-line 1-3 player co-op and what you have is one of the best deals on XBLA right now and for just a mere 800 MS point ($10 USD). If your a old school gamer, like myself, and played Commando and Mercs this will take you back to those good ‘ole days of quarters and arcades. If you’re a newer gamer or just never experienced this style of classic arcade shooter, unlike other consoles, head over to the XBLArcade, download the FREE TRIAL, give WOTB: Commando 3 a test run and when you buy it send me a message over LIVE! and lets play some co-op!

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