Battlezone: Combat Commander

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Battlezone: Combat Commander Game Poster Image
Faithful, shiny remake hampered by outdated foundation.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Some conflicting messages that develop as story progresses. While ultimate goal is to protect humanity, standard "good vs. evil" theme, it eventually brings into question who to believe, which side is right side.

Positive Role Models & Representations

NPCs in story run all over the place, most with hidden motives, personal goals. Player is a generally honorable character, though, who struggles with conflict of following orders versus doing right thing.

Ease of Play

Combines elements of a first-person shooter with that of a real-time strategy game. While it brings player closer to action, it's not most effective way to handle building, resource management of RTS aspect. It works, but there's a steep learning curve involved.


Plenty of vehicle-on-vehicle violence, with lots of explosions, lasers, other bits of standard sci-fi combat fare. No blood, gore, since most enemies are vehicles that blow up into mechanical bits.


Essentially a remastered version of original 1999 Battlezone II, with updated, enhanced visuals, sound. Part of classic Battlezone game franchise, which has spanned more than three and a half decades.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Battlezone: Combat Commander is a downloadable hybrid first-person shooter/real-time strategy game for Windows PCs. The game is a remastered update to the original 1998 game, Battlezone II: Combat Commander. This new version has a new graphics engine, with updated, higher definition and more detailed visuals, while retaining the gameplay of the original release. Sci-fi styled combat is a regular occurrence, with players fighting alien enemies from within their futuristic tank. There's no real blood or gore to worry about, just lots of lasers and explosions.

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What's it about?

In BATTLEZONE: COMBAT COMMANDER, it's been thirty years since the superpowers fought it out in the last global war, a war that ended when the threat of an alien invasion brought the world together. Now the time has finally come to fend off the otherworldly invaders. As a Commander in the International Space Defence Force, you'll need to lead your troops from the frontlines, building your base of operations, issuing orders, and pushing back the enemy. This war will take you to the far reaches of space, fighting in 24 missions spread across six different worlds. And if you need to take a break from saving the world, you can try out your tactics against others in co-op and Deatchmatch online matches.

Is it any good?

This visually enhanced real-time strategy/first person shooter seems good at first, but the clunky play ruins the experience. Battlezone: Combat Commander is just the latest item that makes it hard to deny there's a wave of nostalgia in entertainment these days. Movies, TV shows, and video games are all getting remade, rebooted, and remastered for a new audience. But how much difference can a new coat of paint really make? That's a question Battlezone: Combat Commander struggles to answer. While the game definitely looks sharp, the gameplay hasn't aged well since the original's release nearly two decades ago. It doesn't help that the new game is built on a foundation that was already plagued with issues of its own.

Battlezone: Combat Commander is an odd hybrid of a first-person shooter and a real-time strategy game. You need to gather resources, build structures, and command units like most RTS games, but all from the cockpit of your futuristic tank. While this is an interesting twist on the usual formula, the novelty wears off quickly when you're juggling all the different roles at once. Meanwhile, you've also got to deal with technical issues like occasional lag in gameplay, a questionable A.I., and dated voiceovers and sound that stand in stark contrast to the game's fresh new visual flair. For fans of the original, it's a faithful remake with some cosmetic polish. For the rest of us, though, its lack of other improvements makes Battlezone: Combat Commander a game that's best left in the past.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about remakes and reboots. What is the appeal of revisiting past franchises and updating them for current times? What are some shows, games, etc. that you wish would make a comeback or think a new generation would enjoy?

  • Discuss the difference between duty and honor. Should a person always blindly follow orders? What might an example be of when doing the right thing might mean going against someone in charge?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

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