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If you’re surprised by the name of this title, I won’t blame you. Starship Troopers: Terran Command is one of the few games that might just have been blown under the radar because of the large number of releases coming up in the latter half of the year. I was excited to try it out ever since its announcement as I have always been a big fan of the movie- and I’m sure many readers can share my love for the Mobile Infantry and their daring escapades in outer space. However, there have been disappointments in the past when games are converted into movies or into series (or vice versa). One bright example might just be the Halo TV series – by and large, it is a disappointing adaptation of the video game lore with some uninteresting add-ons to keep new fans hooked. How far does the Starship Troopers game go into doing justice for the movies? Read on to find out.

Starship Troopers: Terran Command is a real-time strategy game in the Starship Troopers developed by The Artistocrats and published by Slitherine Ltd. The game came out for the PC on June 16, 2022. 

RTS Without Skirmish

Starship Troopers is a single-player-only game. If you were hoping to take your bug-exterminating skills online against other players, you would be disappointed. There is a profound lack of multiplayer activity in the game, which seems like a huge missed opportunity. I was even more disappointed by the fact that there is no skirmish mode to play around in. For beginners, most real-time strategy games feature a skirmish mode as a sort of “offline” multiplayer where the player can play against the AI. I lose a lot of my respect for real-time strategy games that don’t ship with such a mode – it is where I do my experimentation with weird unit builds that I would never be able to do online. The only game mode Starship Troopers ships with is the campaign. Yes, you can also afford to replay certain “scenarios” later on, though I cannot imagine why you would want to.

Starship Troopers: Terran Command

The game retells the story of the original Starship Troopers, starting from the Battle of Klendathu. The Battle of Klendathu serves as an optional tutorial for the game, should the player choose to complete it. From then on, the game pretty much holds the hands of the players throughout the various scenarios that Command puts your marines into. I found out the hard way that this handholding in the way of hinting how what troops to train and when to train, where to defend chokepoints, and stuff do not go away if you turn up the difficulty. At higher difficulties, the game doesn’t stop its hand holding – the bugs just become more difficult to kill and your units become squishier. If you enjoyed the movies, there’s little to speak about here – the story progression follows the events of the movie. 

Button Mashing Made Easy

Starship Troopers plays out like any other real-time strategy game – you are assigned control of a number of troops, and you have to make your way past hordes of bugs blocking your path. Klendathu is the resident planet of the bugs. It’s like the Terran invasion of the Zerg home planet of Char in Starcraft 2 but portrayed in a more realistic manner (in a way, Starship Troopers did influence sci-fi games like Starcraft, so the resemblance is pretty uncanny). All units have secondary abilities which can be used for gaining a tactical advantage over enemies. Of course, particular bug types are countered by particular unit types. It’s a no-brainer that massive threats like the tanker bug needs strong weapon-wielding units like rocket troopers to be taken out, while threats like spitter bugs which deal area-of-effect damage to your units need to be killed by snipers before they come too close. The game tells you what to do as part of your objectives, so anyone would be able to figure out to progress.

Starship Troopers: Terran Command

I was very disappointed when I figured out that the game has almost zero base-building. It seems to borrow more from games like Company of Heroes and Dawn of War in terms of base constructions and resource generation. To get resources, one needs to control special points on the map and complete certain objectives. These resources, in turn, are used to train units. More often than not, units need to be trained only from bases that already have everything set up – all you need to do is queue up production and a dropship will deliver the unit for you. You do not need to secure points, nor do you need to set up buildings in any way. The lack of skirmish mode had already dealt a critical blow to my excitement for the game – the lack of base building made it take a nose dive. If there’s any saving grace, it’s the story itself.

Somehow, the guys thought that adding an encyclopedia of information about the Starship Troopers universe is going to do every player a whole lot of good. It does help explain the several important historical events the Mobile Infantry had to go through for the newer folks, so it’s not really that bad. It’s just that my conception of the game as a “real-time strategy game” has reduced so much that I didn’t expect my opinion to change much from the inclusion of a feature like this.

Visually Glorious

The game doesn’t do too horribly in the graphics department, and that’s probably because the effort has actually been made to make the game as visually appealing as possible. If only the other sectors of the game got as much love as its visuals did, maybe it could have made a mark in the half-dead RTS genre.

Starship Troopers: Terran Command

The game also launches with an additional launcher like prehistoric gaming titles (and certain modern titles which seem to love their own launchers a bit too much). While most of you might not mind it, it is still worth mentioning for those who might consider it to be a hassle. The game runs flawlessly for the most part, but loading times could definitely be improved. 

Real Talk

Starship Troopers: Terran Command tries to stay as original to the source material as possible, but that proves to be a hurdle when it comes to experimentation with game mechanics. It seems like very basic point-and-click tactics more than an actual strategy game, since there is little strategy involved in this game other than finding the right unit combinations to counter enemies and using unit abilities at the right time. This is one “real-time strategy game” I’d recommend people to stay away from – there are tons of better real-time strategy games to try out.


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