What is a GBU-39? What does SEAD stand for? If you’re not familiar with any of these terms, then Matrix’s latest wargame release aptly titled, Command: Modern Operations, will swiftly introduce you, not only these terms but instead kicking you down a rabbit hole of kaleidoscopic military jargon and terminology.
Command: Modern Operations is the sequel to 2013’s Command: Modern Air Naval Operations, a modern warfare command simulator, where you are placed as the head of a command center for modern operations, encompassing, the tri factor of the modern military landscape; land, air, and sea. You’ll get to decide on sweeping military maneuvers of your flight squadron, all the way down to the speed and height of individual F-22s.
What may seem absolutely daunting at first glance, especially, with the knowledge that an altered version is actively being used by the US Pentagon, for simulating possible attacks, possibly, simulating real-life operations, we’ve seen on the news in the last few years. C:MO strives to hit a balance of fun and simulation, but leans on the latter.
If the first game, Command Modern Operations Air Naval Operations (CMANO) was a game built with function as its priority, then the sequel Command: Modern Operations is built to impress. C: MO comes with a new sleek-looking dark interface to mimic the tension and atmosphere of a command and control room, aided by revamped modern interface with symbols to represent their functions. However, for most people coming back, they’ll most likely revert back to the old method of right-clicking and drop-down menu, to launch your GBU-39.
A new global map has also enhanced the experience of command, allowing you to zoom right down in detail, enough to visually see the airbases your F-22s are on. Albeit, you can’t see the fighters, but we’ll leave that to your imagination. You’ll also have topographical heat maps to aid you in understanding the landscape. There is definitely no lack of control of the information available. Only, understanding the kind of information you are looking for is required to deepen your enjoyment.
One of the most anticipated features is the TacView integration, which is a separate module, that tags on the game, and presents a 3D landscape of every unit of the battlefield, yes, including the enemy. However, my favorite feature in C: MO would have to be the new organization of the message logs, including alerts, which categorized logs based on combat, contacts, and in-game messages. Mousing over any of the logs will trigger pop-up messages on the exact location on the map, where the logs were triggered; Satisfyingly leaving a trail of pop-ups indicating when the enemy was contacted, up to the last contact right before the warheads hits the target.
If you’re new to the series or maybe had a passing interest. This sequel definitely improves the experience of commanding your modern forces. However, if the first one did not grab you then this would not either. In my opinion, though, everyone who is interested in strategy, especially modern operations, should really give this game a try. I highly recommend playing through all the tutorials in chronological order to really get a sense of the flow of the game and learn how to pilot squadrons of F=22s all the way to launching torpedoes from submarines in the Baltic Sea!