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Platform

Nintendo Wii

 

Genre

Action / Strategy

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Kuju Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2007

 

 

- Nice combination of action and strategy

- Cute presentation

 

 

- Wii controls weren't necessary

- Hard to care about much that is happening narrative-wise

 

 

Review: Battalion Wars (GC)

Review: Advance Wars: Dual Strike (DS)

Review: Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders (XB)

 

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Battalion Wars II

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

battalion-wars-ii-1.jpg (42692 bytes)          battalion-wars-ii-2.jpg (48401 bytes)

 

As another popular Gamecube game to make its way onto the Wii, Battalion Wars II proves to be a fun action strategy game that really picks up as things progress. It has a nice look to it, neat, varied units, and fast action. The one thing that holds the game back, though, is the lingering sense that it never really needed to the Wii controller, and a traditional controller would have done just fine.

 

This installment continues the series' cartoon-like approach to graphics, with cute soldiers running around blasting at each other. With so many other war games out there bending over backward to present some form of gritty realism, it's nice to see a game like this that takes a less serious approach to action / strategy games.

 

The same can't really be said for how the game is presented. It often feels like players are just led from mission to mission, and objective to objective simply because they're told to. It's very difficult to care much about why the empires are fighting, or any of those involved. The characters are very flat. While it's obvious that what's going on in-game is pretty serious, players don't really get drawn into it.

 

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However, the action itself is pretty darn good. Here players control their various units, taking direct control of a single unit, while ordering commands to all of the others. By going this route, Battalion Wars II does a good job of mixing action with a bit of strategy. There's plenty of opportunity to run around and shoot at stuff, while at the same time managing one's

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forces, attacking incoming enemy units, while keeping in mind that certain units do a better job of attacking other units. It picks up slow, but once things get going the pacing is very good. Players need to make sure to pay attention to what's going on around them, not just run around like a gun-toting yahoo. If you lose focus, most of your units could get wiped out, and that's no good.

 

battalion-wars-ii-3.jpg (51474 bytes) battalion-wars-ii-4.jpg (48958 bytes) battalion-wars-ii-5.jpg (32583 bytes)

 

The one thing about BWII that got to me while playing is that the game doesn't feel like it really needs to have a Wii controller. A traditional controller would have been perfectly functional here, and preferred in some instances. It's as though BWII was tailored to the Wii controller for the sake of doing so when the reality is that it just wasn't necessary. Instead we have controls that have use moving the controller around to operation the camera, wiggling around to roll, sifting through units with button combinations where shoulder buttons would have sufficed, and so forth. It works once the player forgets about typical game control convention, but all the while one is left wondering if this was even necessary.

 

Nonetheless, BWII is an enjoyable game. The action on various missions is generally fast-paced, and the way it is combined with some strategy elements elevates the game to something byond a mindless gun blasting free for all. Once one gets past the controls and somewhat cold, distant storytelling, what remains makes for a pretty good time.

 

Jeff Nash

December 18, 2007

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