Jane's Fleet Command (JFC) is a naval based real time wargame developed with the help of Sonalysts, Inc., who also developed Jane's 668I Attack Sub simulation. Given their knowledge of naval platforms displayed in 688I, one would expect this game to be flowing with high-end detail and realism and, for the most part, you would be correct. If you're expecting the complexity or depth of Harpoon, however, you'll be in for a rude awakening. JFC is a lighter, easier to use wargame then Harpoon but it also has some features Harpoon doesn't have, like 3D accelerated graphics and quicker gameplay.
JFC has a lot of playability right out of the box. It not only comes with four tutorial missions but with a plethora of single missions and a campaign module as well, plus many multi-player options. The game also includes a mission builder, so almost any conflict anywhere in the world is possible. How do all these options translate to gameplay? I'm glad you asked.
The main gameplay screen is divided into four windows. There's a map window and a 3D-view window, both of which may be switched to take up a larger portion of the screen. The other two windows contain information that will be necessary to the player. This includes the target's information, orders and messages. It's through use of this map window and right-click menus that the units in the game are controlled.
The game also has intelligent cursors to help facilitate common commands, such as identify or attack a contact. The ease of use in these commands may explain the terrible manual that was shipped with the game. If you've ever purchased a Jane's game, usually you'll find a very heavy box with a very thick manual. This game, however, includes a paltry 50 plus page manual that I personally found inexcusable.
The gameplay itself is a great deal of fun. The game has a huge library of forces to command and fight against, from the smallest fighter plane to the largest carrier. The game models navies from many different countries and uses those forces to great effect. The missions you'll come in contact with vary greatly and really make you use your head. The computer AI is competent, to say the least, but obviously can't make up for human opposition and that's where Jane's CombatNet comes in handy. Jane's CombatNet is Jane's free online gaming service and gameplay using it far surpasses my paltry modem connection.
Overall, while it's not the definitive naval wargame, it'll definitely keep you busy until Harpoon IV. It's pretty, easy to use and a lot of fun and should give you armchair Admirals a run for your money. I'd have to say that if you have any interest in the subject, pick this game up.
Graphics: The graphics can be quite detailed on some things, but a little sparse on others.
Sound: Lots of chatter and great sound effects really draw the player in.
Enjoyment: It's quite a fun game.
Replay Value: Tutorials, single missions, campaigns, multiplayer, and a mission builder keep the play going.
People who downloaded Jane's Fleet Command have also downloaded:
Harpoon II: Admiral's Edition, Jane's 688(I) Hunter/Killer, Jane's USAF, Jane's Fighters Anthology, Jane's AH-64D Longbow Gold, Jane's WWII Fighters, Jane's F/A-18, Jane's F-15
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