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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Command and Conquer

Published: December 5, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

Since Command and Conquer 3 came to the XBOX 360 in March 2007, developers have been looking to perfect the transition of RTS games from the PC to the console. Age of Booty, a new downloadable title on the XBOX Live Arcade, goes back to the basics with its controls. The simple controls consist of directing your ship with the left analog stick and pressing the A button to move.

Age of Booty does not really have a story but has the pirate theme down to a tee. The main single player mode consists of 21 challenges, in which the main objective remains the same, to capture more towns than your opponents. Simple upgrades become available by destroying ships on the map not involved in the conflict at hand.

Action never becomes overly chaotic, but for hardcore RTS fans Age of Booty will likely become boring because of the lack of options in its gameplay compared to a traditional RTS like StarCraft. Also, your AI teammates often do not perform the actions that they should, and there is no way to tell them where to go, which becomes frustrating in the challenges.

Certain Affinity has focused more on multiplayer than single player, a rarity of downloadable games. Like Halo 3, Age of Booty features a party system, supporting up to eight players, with robust customizable options online. There is also four player split-screen play.

If that’s not enough, a simple-to-use map editor/creator is bundled with the title.

Age of Booty’s graphics are a strong point. Colors are vibrant and in combination with the pirate themed music, bring you right into the action.

Since Age of Booty is a “casual” RTS, it is surprising that there are no difficulty settings to choose from to make it fun for all ages.

Age of Booty is an admirable attempt at making a fun RTS game on consoles. While its simplicity might be a turnoff for some, it is at least worth a look.