Reviewed by Jimmy | 02.16.07
Battlestations: Midway takes action away from the ground troops, our normal focus of a WWII action game and puts you behind the heavy guns. In this real time action strategy game you’ll have to overcome the odds by controlling a number of different vehicles and actively eliminating your enemies. Eidos Interactive wants to sink your battleship, let’s see how Battlestations: Midway plays out.
Right off the get go I expected Battlestations to be another cookie-cutter fly by night WWII shooter that I would pass of in the matter of minutes, but boy, was I wrong! The Eidos Hungry studio has put some love into every aspect of this game, giving the player a robust experience from the depths of the sea to the clouds in the sky. Filled with cinematics, action, and history, Battlestations: Midway has something to please any wartime gamer.
Battlestations: Midways sets you up in and around Pacific Ocean participating in many key battles of the second Great War. Starting you off in Oahu, Hawaii, You will take part in defending Pearl Harbor from the Japanese surprise attack. As the game progresses you will have the opportunity to do battle via sea and air climaxing in the four day Battle of Midway in 1942. These six months of warfare helped turn the tide in favor of the Allies as the U.S. secured the Pacific and was able to turn the tide and go on the offensive. Now its your turn to relive this part of history as you control key aspects in the war.
Surprisingly the action is broken down between very personal cut-scenes that follow the emotional Naval Lieutenant Henry Walker. At first I thought these sequences where unnecessary because I just wanted action, but when I stopped and listened I found myself interested in the little guy who loves the Navy just as much as chasing skirts. Following the story through the 11 single player missions was interesting although a little contrived; I enjoyed the extra effort, the little added personal touch. The missions themselves can take upwards to an hour to complete, so with the extra five minutes of drama, Battlestations has a little longer playing time then I expected. Although all the missions don’t take an hour, with the probably replaying of unsuccessful missions, I would clock the single player campaign in at a solid six to eight hours depending on your skill level.
Aside from the main campaign there are a number of side missions that are specific to each type of unit, this time on both sides of the war. These run from three missions and up and are more challenging then the main campaign. You won’t get any help from moving the difficulty down because the difficulty meter is removed for these challenges. Even though I wasn’t talented enough to get very far, I like any idea that makes achievement hounds work for their points. Speaking of achievements, the are fairly easy to come by, although you’ll need to be good at the game to grab them, especially the veteran achievements.
Controlling Battlestations can be a daunting because you’ll be piloting several different types of vehicles while multitasking screens all along getting used to the controls. In an hour or so, Battlestations will make more sense, so arcade gamers, stick with it and things will come around. Battlestations: Midways unique approach to strategy and real time action takes a bit to get used, but having the option to participate first hand or sit back and be a commander is a lot fun. So if you like dive bombing a Destroyer or simply telling the plane to attack, the choice is yours and from this factor Battlestations has even more diversity.
Multiplayer in Battlestations acts like the single player portion of the game, sadly void of a skirmish mode. Over Xbox Live you will do battle with up to seven players per side over nine multiplayer maps. Picking either side of the war you will have to use teamwork and communication to win battles which is an unfortunate challenge for a lot of Xbox Live accounts. If you find a good group of gamers you will find the tactical side of Battlestations to be a blast online with some intense battles rivaling the single player campaign.
For the majority I enjoyed Battlestations: Midway approach to WWII vehicle combat, but I do have some criticisms. First off, the battles at times can be uneventful and drawn out, even though it seemed like lots was going on. That’s not even taking the slower paced strategy aspect into consideration. Battlefield: Midway at times, not all the time, can seem unimportant without a sense of urgency. I have to note that the entire game doesn’t feel like this, it’s just certain areas that are bogged down more than others.
The graphics and audio are well represented in Battlestations with the overall production of an average game. There is a lot of good along with the mediocre in Battlestations scattered across both the audio and visuals. To highlight a few areas I would have to mark out for the cut scenes that look brilliant and definitely next-gen material, and then they didn’t bother syncing the audio with the characters mouth movements. In another instance the graphics look great from a distance until you get close up and notice the low resolution textures. I’ll give you one more, the audio. The audio musically and voice acting is great, but there isn’t much life after that concerning ambient noises and basic radio chatter chatter. So as you can see there is a lot of good mixed in with some bad in Battlestations: Midway.
Battlestations: Midway fills a void that has been missing so from the Xbox 360 library, rare historic action-strategy games. Battlestations: Midway finally puts Xbox gamers behind the help of a number of water based warmachines that helped win the second world war, along with their dog fighting friends in the sky. It’s obvious that Battlestations: Midway is only going to appeal to a certain fan base, but that’s alright.
For this genre Battlestations loads enough ammo to keep your sinking Battleships for a while. If sinking Battleships, Bombers, and Oil Tankers sound like fun, give Battlestations: Midway a once over because I’m sure nothing like it will come around for a while.
Gameplay: 7.5, Graphics/Sound:6.5, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 8 Final: 8.5 / 10
Revolutionary gameplay: Experience epic WWII combat from multiple perspectives as you jump between dozens of units, playing as a pilot, a gunner, a submarine captain, or even a carrier fleet commander.
Massive battlefields: Every battle takes place simultaneoulsy in the air, on, and under the sea. Movement of your fleet and the individual efforts of any one vehicle is critical to success.
Sixty warships: Each plane, ship, and submarine is authentically designed. The more you know about each carrier’s profile, capabilities, and weaknesses, the better you will fight. Featured in the game are the Wildcat and Zero Fighter planes, the Dauntless Divebombers, the B17 and B24 bombers, the USS Iowa, USS Yorktown, and Japan’s infamous super battleship, the Yamato.
Authenticity and realism: Cutting-edge graphics bring the Pacific oceans and island chains alive with lush real-world environments, dynamic weather effects and incredibly detailed vehicles and weaponry.
Deep single player mode: The game features 11 massive campaigns with 12 bonus challenge missions and an immersive storyline.
Innovative online multiplayer mode: Participate in huge multi-unit online battles with up to eight players controlling over 60 units on Xbox Live and online.