|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cauldron||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 19, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
During your island hopping tour of duty, most missions boil down to three types: clear an area of enemies, fetch items, or defend a particular point on the map. To accomplish these tasks you are usually accompanied by ally A.I. soldiers who present a weird dichotomy. Most of the time, if you hold back, they can clear out an entire area on their own, leaving little for you to do, while during more important missions they seem to be at a loss regarding their objectives and resign to staring at a nearby object. Perhaps the most annoying component of the ally A.I. is the commanding officers who lead the squads. Occasionally the commanding officer will demonstrate Olympic speed, sprinting away from while you're still clearing out enemies. There's one major problem with this: if you fall behind, the game assumes you're ignoring mission objectives and you'll be treated to a mission failed screen.
Battle for the Pacific tries to simulate the scale of the war by loading trenches with enemies and starting the occasional mission with a beach landing. However, there's never a true sense of unease. Trenches are easy to clear out thanks to the game's lackluster A.I., and storming a beach has never been so easy. Even on the default, normal difficulty setting, machine gunners have terrible accuracy and you literally have to stand on the beach, in one location, for an extended period of time before your character expires. But, even if you start to take damage, no worries: the game features a regenerating health system. Simply duck behind an object for a few seconds, and your health is back to full. Health might be a concern when it comes to the game's fascination with constant mortar fire, but at the end of the day it's not. Mortar fire does zero damage to the player. It's more of a cheap fireworks display that sometimes rocks the screen back and forth.
On the visual front, the game hardly seems to being pushing boundaries. The texture work exhibits that last gen, fake, glossy look, and the game suffers from draw-in from beginning to end. Also, bouts of slow down occur continually, holding the frame rate back from a smooth and acceptable measure. The audio side of the coin doesn't fare much better. The voice acting is passable, but unfortunately is made up of soldiers just yelling for cover and screaming at the enemy. There's no reason to comment on the music, as levels do not have any perceivable soundtrack. Hope you like soldiers yelling and weapon fire because that's all you get.
Yes, the game has The History Channel in the title, but its presence is only known from a presentation angle. Video clips, pulled straight from the network, are your reward in between levels and are well produced, but in totality, all these segments probably run under a half an hour and provide you with a very generic history lesson - one you've probably already experienced on a dozen occasions.
Five multiplayer modes are available, but they suffer from an embarrassing complication: at the time of review, none of the game's servers were occupied by a single other player. Even after trying on multiple occasions, not one player in any of the game modes could be found. Add to this the fact that to create a game you need at least one other player, and just loading a multiplayer match is a unwarranted trial.
Battle for the Pacific brings zilch to an already overstuffed corner of the market. Don't let the discounted price or the The History Channel branding fool you, the game is a poor attempt at historical immersion.
CCC Freelance Writer