Battlestations: Pacific Review
Eidos' "Battlestations: Pacific," the sequel to "Battlestations: Midway,"
continues the series' portrayal of World War II naval warfare. The action can
take place in the air, on the seas, or underwater, and much like a real-time
strategy game you will have control over many units at one time. Where
Battlestations excels is allowing you to pilot one unit for nearly-simulation
style gameplay. However, this does not mean the union of RTS and simulation
gameplay is perfect.
Pacific is a huge game, spanning almost 20 hours of a campaign for both the Japanese and American war efforts, in addition to multiplayer and a robust set of game types that can be played solo. And make sure your system is beefy enough to play the game without low frame rates and poor graphics – minimum requirements don't mean as much as they once did. While it would be nice to say that the game sports a hefty amount of story and presentation elements worth watching, the truth is the cutscenes and voice-over work is at worst laughable and at best tolerable. We can applaud the devs for attempting to inject some heart and emotions into what is essentially another "double-you, double-you, eye, eye" game, but no one is here for the stories or deep character development – though the Japanese story could interest some.
Most of the game, and what could be your preferred unit type, takes place in an aircraft. There are ample ways in which to fly around and target enemy units. Turning and other maneuvers are made slightly difficult with the sensitivity of a mouse, and the fact that there are no "on a dime" turns; it is a simulation game more than arcade. Dogfights are made possible thanks to the option to always switch to a fresh unit after dying, or while a unit is resupplying. Without this feature the game would still work but would be even more sluggish and brutal.
But where parts of the flying missions bog, such as turning or covering miles to intercept incoming fighters only to get shot down for flying right into them, the battleship and submarine portions slow the game down even more. The payoff, of course, is that you can finally say "I sunk your battleship" a few times. Your sea vessels are more versatile than planes in that you can repair them and use more weapon types, as well as change depths that introduce more options for submarines. Being in or on the water is not a punishing style of gameplay, they are exactly as fun as you think they would be.