Battlestations: Pacific Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

For those interested in World War II vehicles, Battlestations: Pacific is amongst the most comprehensive in the range of vehicles it allows you to take charge of, there’s over 100 meticulously detailed planes and boats featured in the game. It’s fairly rare to have such an impressive volume of war machines available in one game, but that’s not the only aspect of Battlestations: Pacific that is unique.

Like its predecessor, Battlestations: Midway, Battlestations: Pacific is a combination of both the action and strategy genres and largely remains as a somewhat unique take on a world war II game. It certainly makes a change from the first person shooting and brain workouts that come respectively with the FPS and RTS genres, of which most World War II period games exclusively adopt.

Battlestations: Pacific is also a concoction of immediate arcade thrills and more serious simulation. Vehicle handling is accessible, but the targeting edges slightly more towards the realism side of things, with shooting requiring you to move the crosshair just slightly ahead of your intended target if you’re to score a hit. Seriousness can sometimes translate to boringness and that applies here with the painfully slow speed of the boats. It may be realistic, but it has no part to play in a fun game.

There are two campaigns to work through, which makes the game double the size of the original. The US version covers the aftermath of Midway and ends with the invasion of Okinawa, whilst The Japanese campaign is far more removed from reality, starting with the attack on Pearl Harbour and then going on to alter the course of history virtually, with not only real world missions but also original scenarios included too.

In regards to mission design there’s little in the way of surprises. You’ll generally either be blowing things to pieces, preventing things from being blown to pieces and all the usual.

Something not so usual is the tactical element. Through the rather handy tactical map you’re able to relay orders to any unit out on the battlefield, of which can be essential to clearing some of the tougher missions that the game has to offer. All this tactical manoeuvring is very intuitive to carry out too, which means this side of the game is accessible to more than just the strategy heads it so easily could have been.

Less positive is the fact that it doesn’t always feel as if the two sides of the games are always working with one another and at times one aspect dominates the other, which can on occasion make it appear to be confusing design.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the game from a tactical standpoint, though, lies in its online multiplayer. Against a well organized team the strategic side of the game is highlighted here better than it is anywhere else. As far as modes go, there are a variety on offer, which is certainly an impressive advancement over the original game’s single mode. There’s escort which has one team protecting a vessel, whilst the opposing nation attempts to send it to a watery grave. There are also modes that have you on the same side, but with cooperative and competitive variations.

The clear favourite mode right now though, is island capture. This tasks you with taking charge of islands, by using the games’ new feature of being able to send out landing craft. By taking over installations and other buildings, you’ll gain advantages over your opponents.

Visually, Battlestations: Pacific is a vast improvement over its crusty last generation looking predecessor. The range of vehicles look fantastic and have a stunning level of detail to them. There’s also some breathtaking sunsets and ferocious thunderstorms, that, along with the lovely explosions, gives you something else nice to look at whilst you’re going about your business of blowing things up. The tearing and occasional frame-rate hiccups aren’t enough to spoil the visual splendour that Battlestations: Pacific has to offer.

Battlestations: Pacific is better than its predecessor, though there is still unfulfilled potential here, primarily the fact that the two genres aren‘t always cooperative with one another. There’s still a lot to like here and nothing much else like it, which makes Battlestations: Pacific well worth looking into for fans of both genres.