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Fire Commander Is A Firefighting Game That Doesn’t Suck


Fire Commander

Picture: Fireplace Commander

There have been firefighting video games for so long as there have been video video games, however for no matter cause—and I’ll speculate on this in a second—there has by no means been a nice one. Fireplace Commander is the newest sport to attempt to break this duck, and whereas it doesn’t make it, I not less than admire the best way it tries.

Fireplace Commander was developed by Pixel Crow—keep in mind Beat Cop?—and Atomic Wolf, and was launched final week on PC, Xbox and PlayStation. It really works like a real-time techniques sport, solely as an alternative of capturing Nazis you’re placing out fires, and between missions there’s an entire strategic facet of the sport that may be finest summed up as “XCOM, however with gyms for firefighters”.

I believe the primary cause there’s by no means been an excellent firefighting sport is as a result of, as thrilling as the topic can look on the information or in films, in actuality most fires are fought in an extremely routine approach. And hearth itself, whereas undoubtedly a hazard, simply doesn’t lend itself to being an excellent adversary in a sport the best way an precise enemy does. Certain it’s harmful, nevertheless it’s often additionally sluggish, and usually you defeat it by…pointing a hose at it.

Fireplace Commander tries to get round this by abandoning any and all makes an attempt at simulation. In case you needed to get an perception into how fires are literally fought and what a day within the lifetime of a firefighter is definitely like, this isn’t the sport for you. At practically each level on this sport, Fireplace Commander is ditching actuality within the identify of constructing concessions in direction of enjoyable and strategic gameplay, and whereas that is in some methods disappointing—I used to work for NSW Fireplace & Rescue, and would like to see somebody really get a good simulation made—in most methods it’s comprehensible, and the sport is all the higher for it.

Fireplace Commander – Launch Trailer

As I’ve stated, Fireplace Commander is break up into two sections. The primary, performed out between missions, has you overseeing your firehouse and roster of firefighters, and should you’ve performed XCOM you already know what’s taking place right here. You’ll be able to relaxation and prepare your present firefighters, recruit new ones and develop or improve your base. It’s effective, and all of it works, however I by no means discovered it the problem the best way I believe it was imagined to be, since my firefighters would achieve XP so shortly that resting and changing them by no means felt as pressing because it was clearly imagined to be.

Most of your time in Fireplace Commander is spent out on a mission, although, and it’s right here that issues obtained much more fulfilling. Having deserted any try at realism, the builders have as an alternative constructed a real-time techniques sport that’s based mostly round you choosing the right particular person for the best job on the proper time.

Image for article titled Fire Commander Is A Firefighting Game That Doesn't Suck

Picture: Fireplace Commander

Each job you attend may have some form of time restrict on it, like a hearth spreading to one thing explosive, or quite a few civilians who’re in peril and must be rescued earlier than it’s too late. Standing in your approach is the hearth itself, which must be put out, but in addition quite a few environmental challenges like locked doorways (which must be chopped open with axes) and obstacles that may solely be overcome by a sure class of firefighter.

This class division is irritating in some ways—why can’t each firefighter use a round noticed or a pc!?!—however like I’ve stated, it’s one of many design concessions that was made to create a sport out of this, and as soon as the preliminary gripe wore off and I began pondering of everybody as “techs” or “rogues”, it was effective.

The important thing to finishing each single mission, then, is understanding the quickest technique to obtain every goal, as a result of the longer you allow a hearth to unfold, or an workplace employee in a room filling with smoke, the more durable your job goes to get. I not often obtained by way of a job on the primary try; as an alternative it could take just a few tries, as I needed to optimise which firefighters I despatched to every nook of the map, and ensure they have been doing the best jobs once they obtained there.

As soon as once more this was initially irritating, as consistently having to restart missions in a sport that superficially had a lot in frequent with a real-time techniques sport felt like bullshit. Absolutely a sport that had a lot in frequent with, say, Metal Division ought to be testing me all through the mission, not simply presenting me with a single puzzle firstly and leaving the remaining as much as my execution?

Begin pondering of every mission as a run, although, and it begins to make extra sense. Much less Metal Division, extra Neon White. Every mission will unfold the identical from the beginning, so a profitable job in Fireplace Commander is extra about perfecting your plan—a number of actions might be queued up at any time, even earlier than the mission begins—then executing that plan to perfection.

Whenever you’ve mastered what Fireplace Commander is making an attempt to do right here—utilizing firefighters as window dressing for a singular real-time techniques expertise, somewhat than simulating the job of a firefighter—it may be a extremely enjoyable. Transferring round a map capturing dangerous guys has been achieved 1000 instances earlier than, however coordinating a staff to include a spreading hearth, cleansing up chemical spills and dragging unconscious civilians out of a burning restaurant (generally all of sudden) was a recent problem.

Image for article titled Fire Commander Is A Firefighting Game That Doesn't Suck

Picture: Fireplace Commander

It’s removed from excellent, after all, and I don’t need to make it sound like it is a contender for technique sport of the 12 months. Even taking its lack of realism into consideration, there are nonetheless some weird selections right here, like not letting firefighters break large home windows subsequent to locked doorways, or giving everybody a conveyable water tank as an alternative of utilizing hoses, which once more is one thing clearly designed to offer a problem (forcing you to juggle firefighters who should race again to a truck to refuel), however which in implementation is a large ache within the ass.

Most jarringly, and regardless of my general love for this “style” of European Catastrophe And Transportation Administration (should you may even name it that), it’s stuffed with annoying little quirks like easy duties having to be clicked on a number of instances, and pathfinding sending firefighters on weird journeys across the map, and generally…straight into fires. It’s a janky discipline, yet another involved (or prioritising) its nuts and bolts over its polish, and I knew this coming into it, however that doesn’t make it any much less irritating.

BUT. I’m a forgiving man with regards to these form of video games, as a result of as busted as they are often, and as unforgivable as that may be in so many different circumstances, with regards to Euro administration video games I’m keen to miss rather a lot, as a result of these video games are so earnest. This wide-ranging style has restricted budgets and is taking part in to a restricted viewers, so it’s unfair to anticipate the world of its video games. They’re making an attempt their finest, rattling it, and on this case Fireplace Commander does sufficient that’s new and attention-grabbing that I may work previous its rougher edges.



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