STAFF REVIEW of Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics (Xbox)


Thursday, February 24, 2005.
by SilverOak

Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Box art Cerebral gamers rejoice! The video game playing field has been leveled for you against those annoying quick trigger finger types who have had your number for quite a few games now. Its time to play a game that uses your skull for more than just a place to mount your Xbox communicator on top of!

Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics (I admit I still cant pronounce the name right) is an extremely detailed and deep military strategy game that was released to Japanese Xbox fans over one year ago but has just now made its way to North America, and it is one that strategy lovers should embrace wholeheartedly.

Kemco has given us a video game that harkens memories of the PC classic Red Alert, the board game Risk or even a good game of chess. Similar to those games, domination of the battlefield theater is the ultimate goal and as a player commanding your army, you have a virtual smorgasbord of tools to get the job done. Attack from land, make a daring sea raid, or send a squadron of bombers, but most of all, use your mind power and creativity to devise sound military strategies to defeat your opponents.



At the start screen, you are offered Mission Mode, Free Form Mode, Map Edit, and a Tutorial. This writer highly recommends the multiple tutorial lessons as it significantly reduces the already difficult learning curve in this game. OK....its not really all that hard to learn how to play, but trust me when I say you will spend time exploring the depths of detail that the developers poured into Dai Senryaku.

It\'s a pretty simple premise to play this game....find the enemy, destroy him, and defend your own from harm. Easy to state here, but difficult to do while in game.

There are twenty-six missions that together form the single player experience. The game is turn based so if you are playing the AI, you will get to move your forces or units first. All of the units on the map under your control can be moved to where you want them positioned for effectiveness. Even though units are represented by only one image, there are multiple sub units within each unit. So, even if there is only one Abrams tank on the map, there are ten tanks within that group. Naturally, with each battle against the enemy, your forces are injured or eliminated. Utilizing the factories under your armies control, you can also build new units as long as you have the funds to do so.

Each unit can be moved and positioned one time on each turn and then you must wait until your opponent/s play their moves before moving that unit again. Opposition armies remain hidden from your view unless detected by your reconnaissance so each move is critical to your defense.

Once opposing armies come within striking distance of one another, attack options are made available. Most units have the ability to counter attack when attacked and will do so automatically. This is where the detail of the game begins to emerge. Every unit has strengths and weaknesses that need to be understood to form a good defense. Types of ammunition, fuel usage, armor, etc. all have a bearing on how the battles play out.

By completing all the Mission objectives (or the more enjoyable alternative of complete elimination of opposition armies), you advance to the next mission. As a bonus, you unlock new maps for the free Form play.

In my eight hours of playing, it is amazing how much I am learning in regards to defending my forces and taking out the opposition with minimum loss to my own forces.


One really neat thing that Kemco did with this game is include a map editor. With this tool, you can make changes to an existing map or even create a completely new map of your own invention. What a great tool to extend the playability of a game that already presents players with many, many hours of playing time capable.




Its kind of a mixed batch as far as the eye candy goes in Dai Senryaku. Map features are bland and featureless but is an understandable evil since the hexagonal shapes are an integral part of the game. Where the map features leave us wanting more, the details to aircraft and other military hardware are above average for a strategy type game. Explosions seem more like dust clouds rather than TNT, yet missile contrails show clearly against the sky. Like I said, its a mixed bag...I guess it just depends on what youre expecting from a strategy game. For me, detailed graphics are not as important in this game type versus a FPS type game. Kemco concentrated on supplying battlefield info to players rather than wowing us with eye popping panoramas.




When I started playing this game last weekend, my wife, who could care less about video games, actually stuck her head inside my office and asked what horrible music I was listening to? Horrible is kind of an understatement. A repetitious military-type tune plays constantly in the background as you play. Thankfully, sound is not a critical part of the game so turn that volume down and crank up your favorite CDs as you practice your warmongering ways. Warnings from intruding armies are also sent visually so sound is an option to do away with.





Suggestions:
Wheres the online play Kemco? We are definitely left wanting in that respect to this game. What a perfect genre to play on Live but for some reason developers left it out. Maybe thats one of the reasons the game was delayed so many times as non-Live games are becoming more and more scarce with that being the star of Xbox. Hopefully theyll include it in the games next version.

If you want to branch out your gaming to a more methodical, analytical type, then I highly recommend this game to you. If you dont ever bother to read manuals that come in your green jewel cases, then your probably wise to leave this one at the local store. For me, Im looking forward to many hours of practicing my maneuvers until I can defeat any who dare to challenge this \"American warmonger\" on the battlefield!



Overall: 7.8 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.6 / 10
Sound: 2.6 / 10

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