Fire Commander Is A Non-Sucking Firefighting Game

Fire Commander Is A Non-Sucking Firefighting Game ...

For whatever reason, there have never been better firefighting games. Fire Commander is the latest game to try and break this duck, and while it does fail, I do admire its effort.

Pixel Crowremember Beat Cop?and Atomic Wolf, and was released last week on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. It's a real-time strategy game, only instead of shooting Nazis you're putting out fires, and between missions there's a whole strategic side of the game that can be best summed up as XCOM, but with gyms for firefighters.

The main reason there has never been a great firefighting game is because, however exciting the subject may appear on the news or in films, most fires are fought in an extremely routine manner. And fire, while certainly a danger, doesnt lend itself to being a great adversary in a game the way an actual opponent does.

Fire Commander tries to avoid simulation by abandoning any and all attempts at simulation. If you want to learn more about how fires are actually fought and what a day in the life of a firefighter is like, this is not the game for you. While this is in some ways disappointing, I would like to see someone actually get a decent simulation made, in most ways the game is all the better for it.

Fire Commander is divided into two sections, the first, played out between missions, has you overseeing your firehouse and roster of firefighters, and if you have played XCOM before, you'll know what's going down there. You can rest and train existing firefighters, recruit new ones, and expand or upgrade your base, but I never found it to be as difficult as I anticipated.

Gaming!It uses ultra-fast wireless technology to ensure your mouse is faster than you are, is possible to sue alongside high-quality software for highly customizable performance, and has 11 buttons to mess around with, including a hyper-fast scroll wheel, and RGB lighting as well.

Fire Commander is a game where you spend most of your time on a mission, and it's here that things got a lot more enjoyable. Having abandoned any attempt at realism, the developers have instead created a real-time tactics game that is based on you selecting the right person for the right job at the right time.

Every job you take will have some sort of time limit, such as a fire that spreads to something explosive, or a number of civilians who need to be rescued before it's too late. There are also several environmental difficulties, including locked doors (that must be sliced open with axes) that must be addressed by a certain class of firefighter.

This class division is frustrating in many ways; why can't every fireman use a circular saw or a computer?!but, like Ive mentioned before, it's one of the conceptual concessions that was made to create a game out of this; once the initial fear faded, everyone was fine.

The trick to completing every single mission is to pick the quickest route to accomplish each objective, because the longer you leave a fire to spread, or an office worker in a room filled with smoke, the more difficult your job will become. I would often have to determine which firefighters I sent to each corner of the map and make sure they were doing the correct jobs when they arrived.

This was initially frustrating, as constantly having to restart missions in a game that superficially had so much in common with a real-time tactics game felt like bullshit. Surely a game that had so much in common with, say, Steel Division should be testing me throughout the mission, not just presenting me with a single puzzle at the start, but also leaving the rest up to me.

Starting off each mission as a run, it starts to make more sense. Less Steel Division, more Neon White. Each mission will unfold the same from the start, so a successful job in Fire Commander is more about perfecting your strategymultiple actions can be queued up at any time, even before the mission starts, and then executing that plan to perfection.

When you master what Fire Commander is attempting to accomplish, using firefighters as window dressing for a unique real-time tactics experience, rather than simulating the job of a firefighterit can be a really enjoyable experience. Managing a team to contain a spreading fire, cleaning up chemical spills, and dragging unconscious civilians out of a burning restaurant (sometimes all at once) was a new challenge.

The strategy game is by no means perfect, although I want to make it sound like it would be a contender for the best strategy game of the year. I'm still a fan of bizarre decisions, like not allowing firefighters to break huge windows next to locked doors, or giving everyone a portable water tank instead of using hoses, which again is something clearly designed to provide a challenge (forcing you to refuel in a truck), but which in its implementation is a major pain in the ass.

Despite my general admiration for this style of European Disaster And Transportation Management (if you can even refer to it that), its craze is full of annoying little shortcomings, such as simple tasks having to be clicked on many times, and pathfinding sending firefighters on bizarre journeys around the map and sometimes...directly into fires. Its a janky field, and one more concerned (or prioritising) its nuts and bolts over its polish, but that doesnt make it any less frustrating.

BUT. When it comes to Euro management games, I'm willing to overlook a lot, because these games are so earnest. This broad-ranging genre has limited budgets and is playing to a small audience, so it's unfair to expect the world of its games. In this case, Fire Commander does enough that I'll appreciate its flaws.