Battalion Wars II
More wars, more memories, more troops, more Battalion Wars, more… fun?
About two hundred years ago the terrible war known as the Lightning Wars, came to a sudden stop. It was ended by a fight between the troops of Solar Empire and Iron Legion, but the victory could be thanked to a super weapon that left a little crater in the environment where previously the Iron Legion was located. This battle, which for some reason reminds me of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, can immediately be replayed, and the level also serves as tutorial of the game.
Generations later things haven’t calmed down yet. The Angly Isles unprovoced attack the Solar Empire because they think a new super weapon is being built; a rumour that reappears every so often years? It’s like someone wants to play out the nations against each other; divide and conquer…
It’s difficult to stick an exact genre to Battalion Wars. In its essence it’s a real-time strategy game that’s being played from a third person perspective. One unit at all time controls the entire army. That power can be given to another unit, after which the camera will follow the new commander. Orders can be given to the entire army, to a type of units, or one specific one. Unfortunately it’s not possible to temporarily define subgroups (like PC gamers are used to with the control+number combination) and the commands themselves are limited to “follow”, “wait”, “attack” and “protect”. If your troops are in a vulnerable situation, then there’s no possibility to make them retreat without taking control over those units yourself and having them follow you, making you lose sight and control over all the other ones.
The game is divided in a number of wars, that are all part of the overall storyline. These are brought in a non-linear way and each time from different perspective. One mission you’ll be playing the “good ones” while five minutes later you’ll be playing for the opposition. It’s a nice way to bring the motivation for the fighting of all nations on the screen, without having to use seperate storylines. On top of that every now and then some flashbacks are thrown in, which also have to be played, which bring some additional information in a non-textual way.
Each nation contains a wide variety of troops that can do their thing on land, in the air, and now also on water. Not all types of units are available to all nations, so some armies do have an advantage. In the single player part however, there’s no choosing with which you want to fight, they’re appointed to you (thank you scripted gameplay). Level after level you’ll learn to control new units and it will take, for instance, already quite some hours before you get your first airplane or ship. Also new in Battalion Wars 2 are the facilitis where lost units can be replenished. This is done fully automatic without any form of choice.
Next to single player, BW2 also has a multiplayer part where you can take on a friend or stranger in one of three types of games; assault, skirmish and co-op. In assault one player has to complete an objective while the other has to prevent this from happening. Skirmish is a meaningless game of head-on-head war (isn’t all war meaningless btw?) and co-op allows you to finish objectives together.
Just like its predecessor on the Gamecube (and also the Advance Wars series actually) the game has received a cartoony look. The units look quite beautiful are are modelled depending on the country they’re from. Even the smallest child will no doubt recognise the United States, the Russians and maybe even the Brits in the drawing style. This is certainly not a problem as such, but I’m guessing you won’t be surprised to hear the US are part of the good guys?
The sound is average, mainly due to the superficial voice-acting, although some tunes from the soundtrack do get noticed, like a fun adaptation of Blood on the Risers (Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die).
Battalion Wars II isn’t a bad game, but too short and it doesn’t manage to innovate. Also because it’s a mix of different genres, but never manages to shine in any department, the result ends up quite poor. The controls with the Wii-mote are ok, but too limited in possibilities and it takes quite some effort to point at the screen for long. Nice try, but better luck next time..