Battlestations: Pacific Preview

Sky rockets in flight.

World War II was one of the last great wars America had a hand in that didn’t blow up in our face. We were reluctant to get involved at first, having issues of our own with the Great Depression. But then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and everything changed. Not surprisingly, the good ol’ USA did not take kindly to this aggressive ambush and took to the land, sea, and air. In Battlestations: Pacific you’ll take to the latter two.

[image1]The highly anticipated sequel to Batllestations: Midway will put you in the cockpits of an array of fighter planes, such as the F4U Corsair, one of the first fighters to carry rockets which no doubt contributed to its kill ratio of 11:1 (it’s a fact!). Along with the impressive array of planes in your roster, you’ll also get a chance to be a Navy man aboard varying fleets of attack ships, all in an attempt to stop Tojo and his army from overwhelming you through levels based off actual battles from WWII, one of which will have you take on the largest battleship in the Japanese navy, The Musashi, at Leyte.

Along with the historically accurate missions for good ol’ USA, you’ll also get a chance to test your skills as a Japanese pilot in hypothetical “What If?” situations. Sadly, The Watcher is not hereto guide us through these events, but what is interesting to note is that levels, such as The Invasion of Port Morsby, were based off Japan’s actual attack plans that would have been executed had America not dropped the mother of all bombs on them.

Be ready for intense, seat-of-your-pants dogfights above the amber skies of the Pacific along with epic cannon battles aboard the deck of famous battleships like the USS Hornet. Whether you choose to shoot down Kamikazes or take down Yankee dogs as you bomb targets and loop out of enemy sights, just like the Red Baron himself, you will be pleased with the large amount of action you’ll witness. Battles are intense marathons of destruction amongst the normally relaxing and engaging backdrop of the tropics, so make sure you don’t get lost in all the beauty and forget about the bogey on your tail.

[image2]On top of the usual mission-based single-player mode, there is a large selection of multiplayer modes sprawled out over eight maps, each with their own unique scenarios and goals. You’ll be able to fight doggy style with up to eight people at once, making it the perfect conversation starter for your next meeting of the Historical Society.

You can break the ice with a round of Siege mode, where you’ll be either an aggressor trying to destroy key units or defending your own units, like a soccer player lining up in front of a net to block a free kick. If Siege proves too easy, you may decide to try Escort. While both modes are very similar, Escort varies by requiring you to be both the aggressor and the defender, bombing supply stations and such while making sure your aircraft carrier doesn’t get sunk to the bottom of the Ocean.

But if you’re into something a little more passive aggressive, give competitive mode a try. You’ll all be on the same team for a friendly competition to decide who can be the most violent and deadliest pilot or gunner as you play for ranking based on points. It’s a great way to show off your skills like the ace you are while not getting your friend too butt-hurt over everyone constantly shooting him down like the sitting duck he is.

[image3]Duel mode is exactly what it sounds like. Each player will have control over one vessel from one of four classes. This is where the men will be separated from the boys. We’re talking non-stop, white knuckle, to-the-death battles. You’ll have to recall your grade-school dodgeball skills if you plan on surviving the constant bombardment of both your airborn and aquatic peers. Think Crimson Skies but more realistic.

Last but probably most intriguing is Island Capture mode. It’s a mix between the third-person action found in the other modes mixed with the real-time strategy gameplay in the likes of Command and Conquer. Island Capture makes you use an overhead map screen to build and disperse planes and boats in an effort to gain military bases located on various islands. Of course, other players will also be after the sweet tactical advantages gained from these position, so expect an arms race not seen since the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War. For those who are more about the action-oriented details of the game, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to take control of all the units you build and control them manually. So far, it’s looking to be a unique twist on the battlefront-esque capture and defend style multiplayer that has become popular in the last few years.

Whether you’re a war buff, historian, American, Japanese, or just some dude that likes blowing crap out of the skies with your mad pilot skills, keep an eye out for Battlestations: Pacific to hit the shelves April 29th, coming in and gunning for your 360 and PC. And while you’re waiting for the release, try saying the title three times fast just for kicks.