| |

Battlestations: Midway Review

Developer: Eidos Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: January 30, 2007 Also On: PC and Xbox 360

History buffs have in the past been relegated to reliving their textbook imaginations or real-life combat experiences with first-person shooters like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty or with strategy games like Ages of Empires, Risk and Codename: Panzers. As far as I am aware, no company has attempted what Eidos has attempted. Mixing elements of real-time strategy, fighter pilot, warship and submarine combat, Battlestations: Midway will not just take you to war, it allows you to experience it from every angle.

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

Sounds like a lot of game, doesn’t it? It is, and there’s also a lot of learning involved. Battlestations: Midway does a great job of putting the gamer in control. Once you get down the basics with the tutorial, you will start to learn the nuances of the game. Skipping the tutorial outright will cost you big time, although I must say they could have done a much better job making it interesting. Even though you could probably manage the first couple missions on your own, you need to know the intricacies of the game.

Foolishly I thought that I could manage without the assistance of lessons from a bad voice actor. Once I went back and bothered to learn about the game in more detail, I found out that it is really quite deep. Not only are you responsible for your vessel (and any aircraft that may be on it), but you are in command of an entire fleet in some cases. It sounds pretty overbearing, and it can be at times, but thankfully the developers employed quite a few mechanisms so that you are not left stranded when the going gets tough. Units will defend and repair themselves and follow in packs, even though everything can be overridden by the player.

There can be a lot of micromanaging involved. For instance, if a ship is under attack, you can go into a repair menu to assign members of your crew to different areas of the ship. You may have a leak that needs to be dealt with, but your ship can only hold so much water, even with the pumps working. Your ship may catch on fire, in which case you should assign crew to deal with it before too much damage is sustained. If the rudder gets damaged, you will lose control of the ship until it gets fixed. Finally, if your engine fails, the ship isn’t going anywhere until the crew makes necessary repairs. Obviously one problem can lead to more problems, and as they build up, the harder it will be to manage.

Now let’s talk briefly about the different vehicles you will be using. As I said in the introduction, you will be taking to both sea (above and below) and air. You start the game during the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor making your way back to your ship after a long night. Using nothing more than a gun boat, you confront the onslaught of Japanese fighters and will need to sink a sub. You will follow up on this mission with a little revenge of your own in the sky and from a ship. Eventually you are going to be protecting bombers and sinking Japanese battleships with an aircraft carrier.

It is all really quite impressive to see in action, whether you are watching the computer carry out your orders or attacking the enemy yourself. The units are authentic in both their look and feel. An aircraft carrier will turn slower than a turtle, your dive bombers will fiercely plunge like a hawk, and submarines will slowly pace themselves under the water. Your aircraft will need to reload their arsenal after a single bombing run and your submarines will need to come up for air. Pretty much everything you would expect from a realistic naval experience you get from this game.

One of the most important tools in Battlestations: Midway is the map. From here you can issue a range of order to your units. Even though you can do this using commands in your regular view, you will only get precise targets with the map. This is where all of the strategy comes into play. Battlestations: Midway becomes a game of chess as you reposition your forces on the map to better respond to the battlefield. You can set multiple way-points, allowing you to take an enemy by surprise, avoid units that may do you harm or strategically place them for future use. You can also set units to follow and defend other units.

If you have been waiting to take control of powerful U.S. military units in a video game, you probably won’t find a more realistic and option-heavy game on the market. There is so much that I could write about with Battlestations: Midway that it’s difficult to sort out, and I haven’t even touched the online multi-player yet. You can face up to eight players over Xbox Live in four vs. four American vs. Japanese battles. The single player is just a taste of what to expect from the epic battles that you will face online. This game was made to be played against humans. With dozens of units taking to the sky and sea, Battlestations: Midway is one of the few games on Xbox 360 that is hard to imagine existing on past hardware. This is a true next-gen war simulation experience that you should not pass up.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide