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Developer - Kuju Entertainment
Publisher - Nintendo

Features

Dolby Pro Logic 2
Progressive scan
1 player

Battalion Wars has a lot to live up to. Although not from the same company that shook up handheld strategy gaming on the Game Boy Advance and the DS with their Advance Wars series, it is clear the influences from these games are here. Battalion Wars, unlike Advance, is a real-time strategy game played in a third person perspective. This is quite different to the usual turn-based and somewhat isometric games of the handheld games I speak highly of. As I sat down and started to get into this game I couldn't help but wonder if this game have enough of the basic elements that made me love the Advance Wars series: Would it be strategic enough? Would it have the same charm? Would it be a must have title?

Graphics:

Graphically speaking Battalion Wars sports a somewhat cartoony look that some gamers may find appealing while others may complain it takes away from the seriousness of a strategy title. Throughout the game most levels are simple sand filled sparse landscape. Along the way the odd cropping of trees and vegetation such as grass and some bushes decorate the landscape. Soldiers animate fluidly and land vehicles skid and bounce in every direction kicking up chunks of dirt and spreading dust around. There are some great looking particle effects showing off the power of Gamecube as well. As units explode they send off myriads of showering sparks and chunks of debris, something which I found very impressive. Cool water effects and transparencies also add flair to the surrounding oceans. As a bonus the game runs in both progressive-scan and 16x9 wide screen modes something that is sure to please gamers with high-definition sets. Unfortunately the game has some problems graphic wise. I found in certain areas the character textures in the game are low-resolution and therefore lack some detail. I thought this to be the reason for a sometimes

Battalion Wars

 

Battalion Wars

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Gamecube
Category: n/a
 
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Developer - Kuju Entertainment Publisher - Nintendo Features Dolby Pro Logic 2 Progressive scan 1 player Battalion Wars has a lot to live up to. Although not from the same company that shook up handheld strategy gaming on the Game Boy Advance and the DS with their Advance Wars series, it is clear the influences from these games are here. Battalion Wars, unlike Advance, is a real-time strategy game played in a third person perspective. This is quite different to the usual turn-based and somewhat isometric games of the handheld games I speak highly of. As I sat down and started to get into this game I couldn't help but wonder if this game have enough of the basic elements that made me love the Advance Wars series: Would it be strategic enough? Would it have the same charm? Would it be a must have title? Graphics: Graphically speaking Battalion Wars sports a somewhat cartoony look that some gamers may find appealing while others may complain it takes away from the seriousness of a strategy title. Throughout the game most levels are simple sand filled sparse landscape. Along the way the odd cropping of trees and vegetation such as grass and some bushes decorate the landscape. Soldiers animate fluidly and land vehicles skid and bounce in every direction kicking up chunks of dirt and spreading dust around. There are some great looking particle effects showing off the power of Gamecube as well. As units explode they send off myriads of showering sparks and chunks of debris, something which I found very impressive. Cool water effects and transparencies also add flair to the surrounding oceans. As a bonus the game runs in both progressive-scan and 16x9 wide screen modes something that is sure to please gamers with high-definition sets. Unfortunately the game has some problems graphic wise. I found in certain areas the character textures in the game are low-resolution and therefore lack some detail. I thought this to be the reason for a sometimes ‘blah' look. It is not really a bad thing overall but it is worth mentioning. Making up for any texture shortcoming is the frame rate. I noticed a few areas with tiny bits of slow down, but the game runs for the most part at a steady 30 frames per second. Finally, in many parts of the game, full motion video is used to drive the story along. Short or long they are all very well done and great to look at. Some gamers will not admit that the little box known as the GCN has more power in it than the PS2, but it is true and this game shows how good games can look. Sound: Battalion Wars' artwork, storyline, and voice-acting all meld together to form a friendly almost cute war game. Most enjoyable and never annoying or childish, it feels very much like what people have to come to expect from Nintendo games. The music is orchestral and dramatic, but never overwhelms the ear and never drowns out the sometimes, hilarious tips and instructions your superiors insist on giving you. Picture the word balloons in Advance Wars only now spoken by voice actors very capably in a very over the top style. I for one thought the sound effects to be a real bright spot of this game. I had to turn my subwoofer down on more then one occasion as the heat of battle roared out of my speakers. The various pieces of war machines are well defined, loud, crisp and quite clear. The aircraft sound effects are a prime example of the great sound in this game as it was very noticeable when they flew in and out of formation. Battalion War takes advantage of Dolby Pro Logic 2 for its sound processing. Any gamer with a great home theatre set up will really enjoy the added fidelity that DPL2 gives. For those without a fancy set up should not worry as the game sounds great in just regular stereo as well. Gameplay: Battalion Wars puts the player in a battalion level field commander in the Western Frontier Army. The main goal is to oppose and defeat the nearby Tundran (a bunch of Soviet looking baddies) and then move on against the main event: the cold, calculating, and greedy Xylvanian Empire. The story is somewhat sparse but it is told with enough creditability that it really doesn't matter. The good guys, which is of course you, must defeat the hordes of bad guys (computer AI) who are outrageously bad, and there's no ambiguity about this armed conflict. Battalion Wars is basically an action game with both strategic and tactical options added in. The player actively controls a unit on the battlefield and is able to give orders to other units around him. There's no limit to how often the player can jump into a friendly unit, and this is where the added strategy comes in. A player who is adept at taking control of the right units at the right time can succeed at this game and a smart, skilled player can manage to trump the artificial intelligence, even if the AI is as decent as this one. Above all the game is very challenging and quite repayable because no battle unfolds quite the same way each time. Trying different strategies a second or third time through is kind of fun. I have to note that the last few levels of the game are extremely difficult but up until that point the game never feels overly frustrating. Mission objectives range from straightforward attacks, ambushes, and defensive actions to more complex goal-oriented tasks. The mission maps are large and well laid out, quite often-featuring hazards and defensive structures like pillboxes or sandbags allowing small cover units an ability to occupy and entrench themselves against incoming attacks. There are 20 different types of units to command and control ranging from air units like helicopters to ground units like infantry and tanks. Each can be piloted and they're all useful giving the game a very well balanced feeling. Every unit has strengths and weaknesses and the missions, while challenging, usually give you a good chance to succeed so long as you play your units right. Mission objectives are represented on the game map as silver or gold stars. Silver is optional (often they give you advantages in the mission like extra units or time) and gold those missions that are required. Clever play is rewarded as a player can find shortcuts in most maps that help them avoid ambushes or get to the gold star objectives faster resulting in a better time and score. This encourages players to explore a bit more instead of rushing headlong into a nasty battle. For the most part the controls are well implemented as they are simple and familiar and the command menu is accessible using the yellow C-stick. I've never been able to fully utilize Nintendo's little controller. While very comfortable in your hands, the button placement and assignments can be frustrating at times. The control scheme of Battalion Wars lets you order a group of units to attack, follow, guard, or perform special actions. Orders can also be given when the game is paused and players can easily jump from unit to unit at any time by using the menu or a quick button press. The only problem is how often you have to switch and how chaotic things can get. When the action gets hot and heavy it can be very frustrating to jump around the battlefield resulting in frequent pauses. The most frequent complaint in every third-person game is the camera controls, and Battalion Wars does not escape unscathed here. While friendly units do turn transparent when you get close to them, allowing you to see beyond them, there are only two camera angles in the game: Overhead and over-the-shoulder. Being able to move the camera would be very helpful during some of the missions but there is no inclusion of this option. These limited camera views actually reminded me of some the camera issues earlier Resident Evil games had during the era of 32-bit gaming. Conclusion: While I enjoyed my time with Battalion Wars I found myself thinking of another strategy game recently released but in portable form. This is great game for those not wanting a complicated storyline mixed in with a fair amount of detail and strategy. I myself particularly loved the sound and the real time aspect of this title all the while the full motion video helped capture the feel of the game as it preserved the cartoony look. The game is not as long as I would have liked it to be, with only 20 levels of progression and some bits and pieces thrown in. The most glaring fault in Battalion Wars is the lack of multiplayer in any form. With Nintendo's stance on online play I understand the lack of online gaming but not including a 2, 3 or 4-player mode on the same machine is definitely a downer. Faults put aside Battalion Wars is a very cool war-sim game and it is in a category of it's own in the Gamecube's library of games.





 
 

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